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Israel Szerman - zouk in Brasil - English version dodano: 02.03.2011

Israel Szerman is a Brazilian zouk DJ and lambada zouk teacher. With his partner - Patica Borges  he is giving classes in Brazil. He agreed to tell us about zouk and dance in Brazil.

[You can also read an interview in Polish.]

Salsowisko: Hello Israel, I am really glad you found some time for me. I am sure you are working a lot.

Israel Szerman: Yes, I've got 3 jobs!

Salsowisko: 3?! That’s a lot! Could you please tell me what are your jobs?

Israel Szerman: Yes - I'm a public functionary – I work at our Brazilian Electoral Court. I'm a dance teacher and I'm a DJ (zouk most of times).

Salsowisko: Why did you choose zouk? What is so special about that dance so you got so fascinated?

Israel Szerman: I was a lambada dancer - lambada was the first ballroom dance for many guys at my age. Before lambada people were dancing only solo. I mean first, people at my parents’ age were dancing in couples (rock, waltz, bolero), afterwards, at the end of 80’s nobody did. Then lambada came along and lambada somehow become zouk. But I dance other dances and rhythms too.

Salsowisko : What are the biggest problems at first when people are learning zouk? What did you have the biggest problems with?

Israel Szerman:Probably knowing lambada the first problem would be the rhythm – it’s not known, they don’t play it in radio, it’s not well spread.

Salsowisko: I saw a movie when you were dancing with 2 partners at the same time. I was really impressed. Is it more difficult to dance like this?

Israel Szerman: Not for me. Today it’s natural. And there are some technics for this - we teach them in our classes – one day I am going to teach you them! :)

  "JEDI’s" choreography


Salsowisko: Who is your idol? Who do you like to copy when you dance, who have you learnt the most from?

Israel Szerman: Sorry, there is no idol. But I had good teachers. The first was Luis Fernando (du ZOUK) and after that: Renata Peçanha, Drika Junqueira and Adílio Porto.

Salsowisko: From who do you learn the most?

Israel Szerman: Luis Fernando and Renata Peçanha.

Salsowisko: Now I’ve got a really important question for girls – is it true it is easy to get hurt and to get a spine contusion?

Israel Szerman: No, I don’t agree. If a male partner is careful, he will respect the limits of each lady - some ladies can do more, others less. Sometimes people can beat others while dancing, it’s an accident and it’s a dance risk. But I heard ballet causes more injuries then any ballroom dance.

Salsowisko: It is said that only Cubans dance salsa really good because the rest of people ‘just doesn’t feel it’. Can foreigners (from outside of Brazil) feel zouk?

Israel Szerman: Zouk (music) is not from Brazil but our kind of zouk (dance) is totally Brazilian. I think it’s like football - foreigners can do it very well. But we are better - Just joking. If you love the songs and the dance, you can be an excellent dancer.

Salsowisko: Uff.. I thought you'd never be as good as Brazilians.

Israel Szerman: Of course you will!

Salsowisko: Do you have any funny memories connected with your dancing?

Israel Szerman:  Hum.. maybe some falls! But it’s not funny for me! Only for those who saw them!

Salsowisko: While searching on the internet I found your zouk remixes. They are really good and they make you want to dance. What got you inspired to make those songs?

Israel Szerman: The need to have those! Sometimes DJs did remixes and didn’t share - what is natural. So, when I found some (original songs to remix) I used to send to DJs but they didn’t send them back. So I learned with a friend (DJ LEX ZOUKER) how to do it by myself.

Salsowisko: It's a good idea and a great effect.

Israel Szerman: Many DJs do even better! But I do what I need!

Salsowisko: Which of your remixes is your favorite one?

Israel Szerman: Now it is "Enjoy the Silence" to use at the parties. And Lux Aeterna has 2 versions. One of them I used to do the JEDI’s choreography and it was very interesting too.

[listen Lux Aeterna - Israel Szerman remix]

Salsowisko: I haven’t heard yet "Enjoy the Silence ", can I find it in the internet?

Israel Szerman: They are selling it in Holland. And the last one that I really like is "Age of Aquarius"

  "Age of Aquarius" choreography

Salsowisko: Are there any songs you like in particular to the dance to, the ones that you prefer and just feel: ‘I have to dance to this song’?

Israel Szerman: Green Light, Rebound Chick, Super Homem, Let's do It and many others. It’s hard to remember.

Salsowisko: Who is your favorite musician?

Israel Szerman: Band : U2, Brazilian Band: Legião Urbana, rock music but there are many other rhythms I like: pop , rock, samba, forró.

Salsowisko: Is zouk well known in Brazil?

Israel Szerman: If you compare it with samba or forró it’s not. But in general its popularity is growing.

Salsowisko: Are there any other social dances in Brazil? Do people dance salsa, cha cha, reggaeton?

Israel Szerman: Yes, all of them: tango, samba de gafieira, salsa, forró, bolero, chacha, merengue - all of the social dances. And some people practice the ‘professional’ ones.

Salsowisko: What do you think of kizomba? In Europe it’s quite popular and it’s rhythm is similar do zouk.

Israel Szerman: I use more kizombas at my DJ set then zouk nowadays! The rhythm is the same. It’s only the dance that’s is different – kizomba is from African people an zouk is from Caribbean. We use both to dance our Brazilian zouk, that has origin in lambada.

Salsowisko: Could you please tell me how often do you have’ latino’ parties in there and that are proportions of music?

Israel Szerman: I'm a DJ every Friday at a Latino club (CARIBEÑO CLUB). I play 2 hours of zouk there. Tuesdays and Wednesdays there is zouk at small clubs here in BRASÍLIA and I do parties every night before holidays at the dance studio that I work (Companhia de Dança Marcelo Amorim).

Salsowisko: Do you play also the salsa, etc.?

Israel Szerman: Sometimes, when the other DJ is late! :)

Salsowisko: At one party at your club you have DJ for zouk, other one for salsa etc?

Israel Szerman: Yes, I am a DJ for all of rhythms at my school dance parties. I am at room 1 and my wife (PATICA BORGES) is at the room 2.

Salsowisko: At parties is it men or women who ask to dance?

Israel Szerman: It depends who you are!

Salsowisko: In Poland mainly guys are asking for a dance.

Israel Szerman: Yes, just like here. It’s a custom, a tradition.

Salsowisko: Do women sometimes ask you to dance?

Israel Szerman: Many times :)

Salsowisko: Do you like it when they ask?

Israel Szerman: Doesn’t it happen in Poland?

Salsowisko: Sometimes.

Israel Szerman: Yes, but now I'm very lazy with it – now I always wait them ask me.

Salsowisko: Do people dance one song with each other or more?

Israel Szerman:If people like the partner...more than one. I use to finish the first one and dance the second one to be polite mainly if I was asked.

Salsowisko : Ok, Now it's time for other questions: Have you traveled to some other countries?

Israel Szerman: I was only in NY - gave classes there.


Salsowisko: What did you like in there and what were the surprises?

Israel Szerman: I was on my holiday. The city is great. The surprise was that people were dancing very well and the same style I do.

Salsowisko: Do you know anything or maybe like anything that is connected with Poland?

Israel Szerman: Of course - my grandparents came from Poland running away from Antisemitism at the beginning of last century. We know about communism in Eastern Europe and Lech Wałęsa was a guy that looks like LULA (our former president) – a worker that becomes president.

Salsowisko: Do Brazilians know how to pronounce your name?

Israel Szerman:: Never! I have to explain that is a polish spelling. I always have to spell it.

Salsowisko: Do you have any dreams connected with dancing?

Israel Szerman:: No, when I have an idea, I make a project and transform it to life!

Salsowisko: That's cool :) What are your plans and aims for the future?

Israel Szerman:: The plans are always the same....to spread our dance and culture, bring joy to people and have time to enjoy it too, if not - there is no sense, "no meaning"!

Salsowisko: Thank you for the interview, when zouk is more popular in Poland we would like to invite you to do some workshops for us:)

Israel Szerman: It would be an honor!



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