The famous Embodying Weekends: Willem on the ins and outs of his “bodywash-method”

posted in: Interviews

The bodywash-method

The Embodying Weekends (EW) are really intensive. The whole idea is to really get everything you learn into your body. It’s like a brainwash method but then with your body: a bodywash-method. So it’s not about learning with your brain, but learning with your body. You are locked in here for 10 hours a day and you can only train. The resistance is futile. In one EW you dance more or less 30 hours including the social dances. We have 7 or 8 hours of lessons every day and we have lunch and diner together. It’s an individual process but also a group process where you learn from and with each other.

The history of the EW


In the Teacher Course (TC)back in 2014 which was a  very intensive week with a lot of modules consisting of dancing, teaching and training, we found that three kind of people enrolled: 
1. the advanced dancers who were looking for more advanced classes
2. the salsa dancer that wanted to learn zouk on top of salsa
3. the dancer who wanted to learn to teach

The TC was conducted for that last group, but what about those first two groups? They didn’t really fit in. They were not really interested in teaching or were already teaching. And then there was this group that really wanted to increase their dance skills and wanted to be a better social dancer. So this is how we got to the concept of the EW’s and they are a big success. We have been doing these now for the fifth year in a row, four times a year so this year we will reach our 20th edition already! Time flies!

The unique concept of the EW

The organization is like clock work. We ran the program quite a few times and every time we ask for feedback. We are critical about ourselves; about how it went, but also what the effects are on short and long term on our students.  The finetuning and program of the weekend and especially the almost one on one feeling is what makes the EW unique. We have two people available for the catering and four or five teachers on a group of eight couples. It’s very intensive and you have a lot of time with the teachers. It’s a very personal approach and therefor not comparable to other concepts in zouk where for example two teachers on 60 or more participants.

We teach general dance techniques: we incorporated a lot of technique of ballet and contemporary. Bess, one of our main teachers, always teaches some somatic movement and other solo dance classes for example African dance. To make the link that by training your own body , apart from the other body and from that come in contact with the other body and create together.

We start with a little social, where we observe and the teachers and students dance together in a real relaxed atmosphere. Then we have a meeting with the teachers to discuss what people need to be working on in that weekend: the personal points of improvement (PPI) That same afternoon we have a support hour where the students have a private of 20 or 30 minutes with a teacher where you start working on their PPI. This will stay with you the whole weekend and will be your focus point in the group session and in the social. So you are never really free in that sense.

We love hard work


I enjoy working hard as long as it’s with a specific goal. I believe working hard is not only good for the body, it’s also good for the mind. It shapes character and it shapes attitude.

We use the bodywash-method where you embody what the dance is and what the movement material is but the mental part is coming to the blind spot and about breaking your own barriers but also judging yourself. We overload you so you don’t have time to judge yourself. What your brain thinks of what you are doing, is not so important. The second part is we teach you how to learn. Being a good student helps your learning process. A lot of people don’t realize that by sitting down, talking in the group, looking at the mobile phone you take yourself out of the learning process. Your mind should keep your body active and focused. That is the only real function it has. This is the purpose of the exercises and the PPI: it’s impossible to think of nothing, so think of this. Not of what you have to do tomorrow, or what people think of you, no: think of this. When you focus and dance, this starts to change. The teachers are not there to entertain you, they are there helping you to train yourself.

EW for all??

So if you are looking for a personal learning curve, this is very suitable for you. The EW also works really well for people who don’t have access to weekly lessons or want to do more than weekly lessons. Its also very good for people who feel as if they have reached a learning ceiling. In this weekend we challenge you to break that barrier, find your blind spot and take that next step. We always teach in English;  we have people from all over Europe, mostly Germany and Denmark but also the other European countries and sometimes even from the US and Canada. People are traveling around to be part of the EW.

So is it open for everybody? Yes and no: it is useful to have some knowledge of zouk or be a good dancer in another style. Probably you get the most benefits when you are intermediate or advanced dancer. Then you know all the movement material so you can really go into depths within the dance: cleaning up your movement and focusing on your flaws.

Also, you will become more beautiful after the EW. Your skin will start glowing, your self esteem increases, you ‘ll be much more attractive to the opposite sex.  I would say that after every EW we created a few sexbombs.

We hope to see you here!! Sign up for the next edition: let’s goooooooooo people!

EW1

We give an overview of all the basic techniques and movements in zouk. We have specific goals in this part: grounding, posture and relaxation in the upper body. If you do these parts right, the right breathing will follow from this and so we also focus on how to use your breathing in dance.

EW2

This edition is for people who really want to focus on techniques. Hairmovements, body isolations and spinning are the most challenging parts of zouk and there are very few schools that teach this. The large amount of hours is a very efficient way to get these physical changeling movements in your body. This edition is really for people who are advanced and make that extra step technically and also very suitable for people who come from abroad.