Sonja discovered Brazilian zouk in 2011 and has been addicted to this beautiful dance ever since.
Sonja has studied at weekly classes with Freddy and Andressa since they moved to Helsinki in 2012. She has been one of their most committed student attending regularly all their courses from fundamentals to advanced. She has been part of the Rio Zouk Style Team since its founding in 2013. Sonja has been teaching zouk since 2013 in numerous workshops and bigger festivals with her partner Jukka Välimaa. Sonja and Jukka are teaching regular classes at Helsinki Dance Central and love to see people find the joy of dance.
Sonja has attended dozens of congresses and workshops in Europe and spent several months in Brazil, mainly in Rio de Janeiro. The teachers that have had the biggest contribution to her dance, besides Freddy and Andressa, are Val and Vanessa, Leo and Becky, China SoulZouk, and Renata and Jorge.
Sonja and Jukka participated the Zouk Championships at the 5th and 6th International Rio Zouk Congress, being the first couple out of Brazil competing in the championships. Sonja has performed zouk choreographies since 2012 and has also choreographed own show pieces.
What fascinates Sonja the most in zouk is connecting with the partner and the huge range this dance allows for movements, expressions and interpretation of the music. Being a zouk fundamentals nerd, she continues to study deeply the techniques and foundations of Brazilian zouk. The dance technique is important, but equally important is to create a welcoming atmosphere in the classes.
EXPERIENCE IN MAJOR EVENTS:
- 6th International Rio Zouk Congress 2018 (competing)
- Zouk Bootcamp in Tartu in 2017 (teaching)
- Zouk Workshops in Aalborg (two times in 2017, teaching)
- Show of the Year competition in 2017 (performing a group show)
- Zouk Intensive Workshops in Turku, Finland 2016 and 2017 (teaching)
- Zouk New Year’s Eve in Erfurt 2016 (teaching)
- Zouk Bootcamp in Tallinn, 2016 (teaching)
- 5th Helsinki Zouk Festival 2016 (teaching and performing a group show)
- Navy Zouk 2016 in Gdynia (teaching)
- 5th International Rio Zouk Congress (competing and performing a couple show)
- Mega Zouk Weekend in Vienna 2015 (teaching)
- Finland’s International Kizomba Festival 2015 (performing a group show)
- 4th Helsinki Zouk Festival 2015 (teaching and performing a group show)
- 3rd Helsinki Zouk Festival 2014 (teaching)
- 5th Prague International Zouk Congress 2014 (performing a group show)
- 2nd Helsinki Zouk Festival 2013 (performing a group show)
- Fresca Latin Dance Championships 2012 in Helsinki (Zouk competition 1st place and performing a group show)
Sonja fell in love with dancing in a small dance school in Hyvinkää thanks to the soulful jazz and contemporary pieces of her teacher. Sonja used to study music and was a talented accordionist, but dancing took over in high school. Nowadays Sonja uses her musical background in teaching and dancing, and still plays and sings occasionally. Besides zouk, Sonja’s dance experience consists of contemporary dance, jazz and ballet.
Sonja holds a Master of Science degree in Water and Environmental Engineering. She is currently working as a climate change expert in Helsinki. Her other passions besides dancing are nature, e-biking and finding ways to save the world.
Brazilian Zouk Demo after the workshop with Sonja & Jukka in Turku – Finland 2017.