This month we shine a light on: Anderson Mendes

posted in: Interviews

You are back in Holland, back with DA Studio again! That is so nice! Tell us, what is the connection between you and Willem?
Thats amazing, how did I meet with Willem? My first time in Holland I was here teaching Samba de Gafieira in Amsterdam and I think I met Willem at a party. What I think of Willem is that he always gives a lot of opportunities and makes me more aware of how I am going with my job. I really appreciate this. He gives me that inspiration for my business process and also my life planning. This is good and amazing!!This is the biggest connection between us. He gives me that opening to see him as a friend and also as a professional. And I am very happy to be here always and stay at his house.


In Zouk you and Willem have different styles, in dance and in teaching. Where is it that you find each other in that?
What connects us is the interest in what we do. Willem believes that what I do and what Brenda does, how we are developing has potential and we also believe in Willems work. Here is where we come together. The way we teach and dance is very unique. The dance and also the class, we do this differently. What makes this difference is the experience that each one has and how we think. But we are working for one thing and that is letting people enjoy and learn and develop like I think we also do ourselves. And dance is our car.


How did your dancing evolve?

I have experience with many different partner dances. I was looking for experience outside of Brazil and the place where I found that was in the salsa world. I come here tot study more and know more things about partner dance en than I started to work with samba, that was what I had more. Then I tried to add these two together: when I dance salsa, I bring my samba. When I dance samba I work with my salsa. Also I changed partner and worked on that connection feeling. We started to study more physical feelings and asking ourself questions like ‘why we are doing that step?’ and ‘from where comes that feeling to move?? In Samba we focused more on the lower body. Then we met xandi and started to investgate more about the upper body in Zouk. Now we have that experience of different kind of dance. Each dance brings to you more focus in different part of body. We bring this al together in our own partnerdance. This can be moving can be on spot, can be lower/ upper body. But building the dance with all this experience together but seeing it more like a body. Like a person.


Last week you taught the Embodying Weekend Connection together with Brenda. There you asked the students: ‘What is connection to you?’. And now I would love to hear from you: ‘What is connection to you?
For me connection is to be aware of what you are doing right now. It is a very open concept. If I’m aware of what happens now and I can answer to this, I connect. But if I can’t answer to that, I don’t connect: I am just in contact then. Imagine that we are dancing, and I am aware of you but not of my body. I am trying to build my connection with you. But being unaware of my body, my channel will be just for you. I will dance with you with the tools that I have to to make you dance, but I don’t have the tools now for myself to dance. We have different channels to communicate with each other through these channels. Connection is to communicate with the other. Every day the meaning of connection changes to me, every day it can be different. It depends of my awareness or where I have my priorities.


What do you want to explore further in the Zouk world? Or in the dance world?
In the dance world I want to explore more to work on myself on my body and take classes to and find new possibilities. And also to teach that process for people. I want to keep performing, communicate messages with my body to people by dancing choreographies. Dance is also part of social life,  I want to continue to study about people and how to communicate better. I want to show people how to enjoy the body and enjoy every moment. That is my idea for the Anderson dancer. I like working with the body.

I think for now the Zouk community is what brings me what I need at this time. Eventually I want to start to develop that combination of different dance styles in partner dance and bring these styles together in my body. I want to be able to dance something I learned from Zouk in Samba, or bring Samba to Salsa, and Salsa to Bachata. My dream is to dance some dance that is ok to dance everywhere that with those tools you have, you can communicate with more people in couple dance. To learn that, you need to be in that ‘country’, live there a little bit and experience more. Then you receive what they have and experience this in yourself what it does to you and your body and your style. I like that.


Willem calls you his pet. I was wondering, what kind of pet are you?
I don’t know! Do you know? I don’t think of what kind of pet I am! Like an animal? I like the animal. But maybe I am that Ursu, the bear. Maybe I am like this, I feel like that when I am here. An animal in just a good feeling. Like when you are together when you need him. That gives that safe feeling when you need each other, you are there.  Brenda and I call each other ‘bicho’, it is almost the same. It is someone you can count on but also be angry with. Because sometimes he takes a shit in your room…. How are you going to handle this because its your animal ???


Hahah thank you Anderson, for this AMAZING interview. We love you, come back soon.