It’s the beginning of our induction into the world of Zouk entailing a 3-hour Immersion masterclass
with James Quinn-Hawtin.
3 hours seemed a bit daunting to begin with but by the end of it, we were all wanting more.
It was a mixed group of Latin dance enthusiasts (more men than women which was a surprise!) all
cold but excited to learn from the amazingly talented and Brisbane-based dance instructor James
Quinn-Hawtin of Dance Culture.
Each hour covered 3 extremely important aspects of Zouk: Technique, connection and musicality.
We didn’t learn any super awesome moves, but we came out of the class with a lot more
understanding about Zouk as well as Latin Dance in general.
The first session was technique, this is when we covered the toum, ta ta, toum ta ta. The rhythm of
Zouk. We were drilled for an hour switching partners after every couple of repetitions to make sure
we were all getting it individually, as well as with a partner.
Next up was connection. This got intense. Quite a few of us in the class were complete strangers so
placing your trust in someone after a quick “Hi, I’m Emilia, nice to meet you” had everyone laughing
nervously. With eyes closed and trust flowing, we all managed surprisingly well, plus we all had a
profound new respect for the other gender’s role in Latin Dance!
Finally, we covered musicality. It’s a very amazing skill to have, pre-empting the musicality in a song
and moving your body (as well as someone else’s – gents) in time with it. James shared some secrets
that I think I’ll keep to myself (you really should go to one of his workshops), but I will tell you one.
Listen to the music on a regular basis. Choose some of your favourite Zouk styled songs and listen to
them, on repeat. Know the rises and falls of those songs and work your body with them and you will
look like a pro on the dance floor.