Jaime Aroxa

Jaime Arôxa & Kiri Chapman (Brazil & USA)

Jaime Arôxa
Godfather of Brazilian Zouk

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Kiri Chapman

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Bio

Explore your potential through dance with the amazing Jaime Arôxa, the godfather of Brazilian Zouk, and Kiri Chapman!!!

A once in a lifetime opportunity to study dance with Master Jaime Arôxa (Brazil's legendary dance guru). He is known as a teacher of teachers around the world. In Brazil, he is one of the most sought after instructors. Kiri Chapman a choreographer and teacher with experience in some of the world's most prestigious arts organizations; Kirov Academy of Ballet, Tulsa ballet, River North Dance Company.

This power duo will make you experience dance in a whole new way that can not be explained with words.

Kiri Chapman started ballet at an early age, leaving home at the age of thirteen to study at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. Chapman graduated valedictorian from the Kirov Academy in 2005 and immediately joined the corps of Tulsa Ballet Theater in Oklahoma. During her three seasons with the company, from 2005-2008, she performed nationally and internationally choreography from Twyla Tharp, Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Ma Cong, Petipa and many others. Kiri has been recognized in several internationally acclaimed ballet competitions: Youth America Grand Prix New York Finals (top twelve), Jackson USA IBC (competitor), and New York IBC (semi-finalist). Currently, she teaches at the University of Michigan’s UMove program, “Swing City Dance”, “The Glass Room”, and coaches pre-professional students privately. During the last year and a half, Ms. Chapman has familiarized herself in several partnering dances. She is presently focused in Latin Dance and Cabaret.

Interview with Jamie Aroxa: http://zoukology.com/jaime-says-my-interview-experience-with-jaime-aroxa-dutch-zouk/
 
The name Jaime Arôxa may not be familiar to some YouTube surfers, nor is it currently seen partnered with a familiar dance diva, or in any of the latest popular Zouk video creations… Yet, Jaime Arôxa is mentioned in the bio of many of today’s most prominent Zouk instructors. Indeed, while doing research for my book “The Art & Sensuality of Brazilian Zouk Dancing,” I had frequently encountered his name and felt compelled to add him to the chronological history chart without fully realizing the impact he has had on the evolution of Brazilian Zouk today. Recently, Jaime made a new milestone with his passionate teaching at the first “Teacher Training Intensive” presented by the 5th Dutch International Zouk Congress. His name on the faculty convinced me that this would be a rare opportunity to see the various generations of Brazilian Zouk masters at work; passing their knowledge, experience, and wisdom to the next generation of International Zouk instructors. Indeed many of us had come from all over the world to further our own Zouk education.

Jaime Arôxa, a distinguished slender gentleman with grey hair (quite a rarity in the Zouk world but much appreciated by many like me), could easily pass for an elegant seasoned and graceful ballet master. Commanding a large room filled with students, he reveals himself, instead, as an effervescent Brazilian Zouk dance master, whose energy for the dance could not be contained with the more conventional reserved European ways. Even though his English is limited (yet beautifully translated by Brenda Carvalho – another one of his prized students now a sought-after Zouk dancer extraordinaire working with Xandy Liberato) you can almost guess what he wants to share simply by looking at this agile and expressive physicality; from his eyes to his core, from his gestures to his smile. Expression, simplicity, conversation are concepts that indeed seem to be continuously drilled as he shares his dance methodology with us.
 
Jaime has a knack for simplifying every aspect of his teaching or dancing, contrary to some current teachers who try to reinvent the wheel or even complicate the dance unnecessarily. Jaime brings an engaging simplicity to his teaching in a uniquely endearing and heartwarming way, almost taking us back to Zouk kindergarten. Not in a condescending way, but in a way which aims to free dancers of the self-judgement, assumptions and expectations that afflict many students during the learning process. It seems that he does it because he wants to make sure everyone gets it, and “no one is left behind.” And that method does work!

During the first class I attended, he had us repeat him vocally and physically, almost like a “Simon Says" game! And in a magical way he got everyone to do what he asks. He would put his hands on his throat, on his chest, on his core, on his circling pelvis and down to his legs and then stretched up to the stars, and we all followed along. He would ask us to put one hand on each glute, to emphasize the 2 separate body parts. With that gesture he reinforced the notion that each cheek needed to move separately when walking, dancing and eventually Zouking. In a flirtatious and exaggerated way he even showed us, bringing a roar of laughter to all. There is always a background giggle to his classes.  But in the end, we all got it! That image of him clasping his butt cheeks and moving them separately as he was dancing is forever etched in my mind, and will only help stress the much needed hip movement in dancing Zouk.

The game is taken a step further when he starts singing and humming the classic Meu Anjo saxophone intr: “nanana nana nana nana nananana” and the class, hesitantly at first, instinctively responds with the next musical phrase:“nanana nana nana nana nananana” and he continues “nanana nana nana nana na naaa na” then everyone sings together “nanana nana nana nana nananana.” Did he unbeknownst to us all just show, teach and apply the concept of call-response-connection? Genius! He takes it further by adding the concept of creating good conversation. To avoid dull and boring conversations, he emphasizes the importance of being unpredictable; to surprise and be one with the music when dancing. Indeed music to Jaime is the third person in the dance. To him music allows the dancers to get lost in the unknown future of this tri-partnership, eventually reaching Zouk ecstasy!
 
I was lucky enough to steal Jaime away and sit down for a quick interview for Zoukology (with the help of Igor Fraga, NY instructor, translating for me). I wanted him to share more about his thoughts and wisdom with us to inspire the upcoming generation of Zouk instructors even more and refine our craft.

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