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 attended dozens of congresses and workshops in Europe and Brazil. Crazy about studying deeply the zouk fundamentals and getting immersed in the dance culture, she has 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 Clemente, Leo and Becky Neves, China SoulZouk, and Renata Peçanha & Jorge Peres.
Sonja has been teaching zouk since 2013 in numerous workshops and also bigger events including Helsinki Zouk Festival in 2014 and 2015, and the 2nd Mega Zouk and Samba Weekend in Vienna. She is teaching regular zouk fundamentals classes in Spring 2016 at Rio Zouk Style Dance Academy in Helsinki.
Sonja participated the Zouk Championships at the 5th International Rio Zouk Congress with Jukka Välimaa, being the first couple out of Brazil competing in the championships. She also participated the Jack and Jill competition in the intermediate category and qualified to the finals.
Sonja has performed zouk group choreographies since 2012. She wants to also develop as a choreographer. Sonja and Jukka presented their own show piece in Rio in 2016.
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 and wants to become an even better dancer and a teacher. The dance technique is important, but equally important is to create a welcoming atmosphere in the classes.
EXPERIENCE IN MAJOR EVENTS:
- 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 (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 promising 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 trains contemporary dance two to three times a week since 2010 with the dance team Koherenssi by the dance club Polijazz. With Koherenssi she has also performed in dozens of events. Sonja thinks that contemporary dance and zouk have a lot in common and is finding ways to incorporate useful concepts of contemporary into zouk.
Sonja holds a Master of Science degree in Water and Environmental Engineering. She is currently working with climate and energy issues. Her other passions besides dancing are nature, outdoor activities, and finding ways to save the world.
Brazilian Zouk Demo after the workshop with Sonja & Jukka in Turku – Finland 2017.