Dealing with stress/frustration in Brazilian Zouk class

Question by User bamboosaou

Just wondering if anyone can share any tips with regards to dealing with stress or frustration during class?

As someone who leads, isn’t very coordinated and going through what is deemed beginners hell, I’m struggling to learn another form of Latin dancing called Zouk where I have to be very particular with my frame and how I move with even just the basics from the closed position to the Lateral.

As such, because Zouk is such a particular dance, I’m finding that I’m making 4–5 particular mistakes and despite trying so hard to correct them, my teacher and followers still find that I’m making the same mistakes.

Not being able to correct the mistakes themselves overtime in class had drove me quite emotional inside, losing my sense of fun, confidence, self belief and holding back tears as I cannot seem to overcome the mistakes. Also seeing everyone else in class just be able to dance more flawlessly and pick up on the teachings doesn’t help me either and I end up feeling so discouraged from the dance altogether that I find myself stopping and not trying as much.

Part of me certainly doesn’t want to give up as I really like the music and when things click even if those moments are few and far between.

My question is, how can I not let this sort of frustration or stress over trying to get particular moves right get to me overtime? I tried to be strong mentally and to embrace the challenge of learning Zouk but sometimes it just becomes too much and I’d love to hear your opinions on how to not let this wave of frustration become bigger and overcome you to feel so discouraged with the dance? (i.e. feeling like you’re not able to correct your mistakes when learning?)

I’m sure this can apply to the likes of learning Salsa and Bachata similarly too.

Cheers. :)


User stockyraja

I think start learning bachata for sometime . It’s easier compared to zouk . Understand mechanics of leading and frame and then go to Zouk.

I started learning zouk after dancing (sensual) bachata for a few years. There’s a lot of overlap between the two styles so this can definitely work.

User ewdontdothat

I am naturally uncoordinated. It takes a long time for my body movement and musicality to develop, so I have to realize that it will take some serious number of practice hours before things click into place. Most of the time, I would try something challenging, decide it’s weird and not doable and move on to other practice. Then, some months later, I would come across the same challenge, and it would seem within my grasp (for me it means that I can break it down into simpler elements that I understand well), so I would start working on it. Banging your head against the wall every day in a class you are not quite ready for is not productive or enjoyable.

Maybe you think you are struggling more than you really are. Ask your instructor for feedback on what you should work on. If they mention a couple of things, you are probably being harsh on yourself. If they give you a long list, or say you should consolidate the elements from another course, you should probably come back to zouk a bit later.

Also, consider why you are dancing. If it’s making you feel bad, it is not achieving its goal. The only way you will keep dancing in the long term is if you have fun doing it.

User stockyraja

Well it takes time and everyone are different. You need to make a list of easy medium and hard moves which u like . Play music and practice practice practice. Even alone . U hav to do this till ur feet moves automatically to beats

Watch a lot of basic videos from different instructors in youtube . Someone’s explanation with got a chord with you and practice more

User movementengineer

It sounds like there’s a part of you that’s really driven to learn the dance, so the first thing to accept is that your beginner’s hell might just be a lot longer than some dancers around you, and that’s okay and quite normal.

Comparing yourself to others is a natural thing to do, but there is only a tiny bit of value in that, and that value turns negative the longer you spend thinking or worrying about it.

Instead channel your energy and frustration into working harder than you are — not during class, but outside class. If you have the right training and instruction you should be able to practice key fundamentals of passo basico, lateral, and viradinha on your own. Dedicate regular time outside class to dance without, and with music.

It’s also worth dancing solo to music — learning some basic freestyle moves (these could be as basic as you like!) to improve your coordination and flow as a physical being. It doesn’t matter how uncoordinated you are, if you work at your muscle memory to move with the music, you can get stronger in coordinating motor actions with musical cues.

Even better, organise to record yourself to review how you are moving from an outside perspective. It can be hard to do, but once you get over the initial resistance to the idea, you discover that keeping a video diary of how you move turns into motivation as you see yourself improving.

I’ve been working on an app for dancers you might want to try if you already have recorded lesson content you want to review. I’m also about to start writing a lot about different approaches to learning movement as I go deeper into it, so keep an eye out for that ;)

I started learning multiple styles at once, and suffered beginner’s hell in tango, salsa, bachata, rock n roll, kizomba, and Brazilian zouk and noticed it lasted a lot longer depending on the style.

So as others have said, if you’re finding Brazilian zouk too challenging consider switching to salsa or bachata. These dancers are not necessarily easier to master, but they are more accessible to beginners — to a point (hearing the timing in some salsa music can be incredibly challenging for some!).

User aajiro

This might sound too stupidly obvious, but are you practicing alone?

Every time I make a consistent error my instructor tells me to come back next week having fixed it. I usually don’t have it fully fixed but I either do it less often or make it smaller of a fuck up.

If it’s frame issues you don’t need a follow to practice that, just have a ghost follow and practice in front of a mirror, visualizing what you’re doing wrong and correcting it while you look at your own body. My instructor tells me that most errors are because people just don’t practice alone enough, and when they do they get too bored of doing the same move over and over so they don’t actually practice, they just do the move they need to practice a couple of times and then ‘practice’ doing things they’re more comfortable with, which then isn’t practicing to get better at the parts you know you need.




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Podcast Where we interview Dancers, Instructors and Performers. Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Brazilian Zouk.

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