Inside the Life of Solange Dias
How old were you when you first started dancing? When did you start dancing LambaZouk specifically and who taught you?
I was 15, my brother Berg Dias was the one who introduced me to it and who taught me how to dance! I did my first Lambada competition at 15 and we won 2nd place.
I know your first partner was your brother, Berg, but when did you meet your new partner and husband, Joseph Koniak? How long have you two been dancing together?
I actually met Joseph about 17 years ago at one of my brother’s (Berg’s) dance classes. Joseph and I have been dancing together for about 10 years now. We also won a salsa competition in 2001.
I see you also lived in Italy before moving to London? How long did you reside there and did you bring LambaZouk to Italy?
At the time, I had problems with my visa, so I had to move to Italy. I lived in Italy for 2 years and sadly never had a chance to teach Lambazouk while I was living there, but instead I was able to teach Cuban salsa, and other Brazilian dances such as Samba.
I know you are the co-founder of Zouk-Lambada, UK. Can you tell us a little bit about this and how you have shaped the Zouk world in London? Did Zouk exist there before you? What influences did you bring (style, popularity, etc?)?
My brother came to this country at the time Lambada was very popular. I came to the UK to join him and become his dance partner. We were dance partners for 15 years. We developed a great work partnership. Our style was quite unique and we both had so much passion for the dance. Unfortunately, life commitments made us go our separate ways, which made it very difficult to carry on. Berg moved from the UK and I carried on with my husband, which is when we created ZoukLambadaUK. With regards to the style of Zouk, we try to bring the very best of ourselves and put it out there to our students. We do not have a preference of style, we like all styles; Lambada, Brazilian Zouk, Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, we love to mix them up.
You have played an important roll in the Zouk scene for many years now. How would you say the dance has changed over the years?
Yes, we have seen many changes in the dance but than again, everything changes in life. I see a very positive side to it: like everything in life, dance has to evolve. It’s the way it should be anyway. New year, new things to come, new challenges; this is the only way to keep improving and growing.
How would you describe your style of dancing and what makes it different than other teachers?
I try to make my style unique, I go with what feels right at the time. Passion and energy is what I strive for when I dance. I feel every beat of the music within me and express it in the only way I know how. I love doing ladies styling workshops, I have learnt a lot from teaching girls, they grow, I grow it’s a never-ending discovery and absolutely I love it! I try to do everything to make them feel what I feel when I dance: energy and passion. I don’t like to compare myself with other teacher’s; I just don’t think like that, we all have something to offer in our own unique way.
I know you and your husband are the organizers for Zouk Fest. How long have you been doing this? How many Zouk Fest’s have there been so far and how has it grown?
This is something Joseph and I have always aspired to do; bring the world of Zouk to the UK. We wanted to bring together the very best ZoukLambada teachers from all over the world to teach and perform. We created ZoukFest 3 years ago in 2012 and held our very first ZoukFest in 2013. February 2015 will be our 3rd event. It is absolutely fabulous; a lot of hard work but it is all worth it in the end. Every year our numbers are growing, we have people from all over the globe, it’s very exciting!
With so many festival options in Europe, how is your festival different from the others?
Every festival is different. We have a good base in London and in the UK alone we have about 250 Zouk followers. It is very important to have a big Zouk event in the UK since we cannot afford to be behind the rest of the continents. Gathering people from all over Europe can be crazy, but it’s fun and it’s a dream that we have made it a reality. We are also lucky to have everything happening under one roof in a luxury 4 start hotel; swimming pool, gym, sauna and Jacuzzi. It’s an excellent space to have the workshops and parties. The energy from the teachers and students is awesome. We also provide water for everybody at anytime during the whole event, which is very important when you dance. We could call it a 5 star Zouk event!
You play a very important roll in the Zouk world. You are an inspiration to a lot of women out there and I know most of them would love to know how you manage to juggle everything at once; your dance career, business, reputation, family, children, etc.? What is your secret and can you share it with us?
The secret is: whatever it is that comes your way, you have to make it work for you. Try to keep positive so that things can run smoothly. It can be tough at times to juggle dance, family and your personal life, but as we grow wiser it is easier to find a way to balance it all out! Without my two beautiful kids and my husband I could not do it! They are my rock! I feel really lucky and I wake up every day thanking God for such blessings and for having such a great life.
Photography by: Fernanda Fernandez
About: Jessica Carro
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