Xandy’s New Project! Exclusive Interview

Xandy Liberato is one of the most respected Zouk dancers in the world who’s philosophy has caught the attention of many students as well as professionals from around the globe. Brenda Carvalho and Anderson Mendes are a dynamic duo from Brazil. They dance many styles but are known mostly for their flawless Samba moves, their days performing with Brazouka and for their incredible teaching abilities. Its well known among the Zouk community that the three of them have been working together for some time now on a mysterious new project and everyone has been itching to find out what it is! Is it a trio dance? Is it a dance new type of fusion? Is it a profound philosophical dance methodology? What exactly have they been up to?!?!

Well friends, the universe aligned and we were able to nail down all 3 of these amazing artists for a Skype call. This is what we found out:

How did the 3 of you come together to pursue this new project?

Xandy: Two years ago Brenda and Anderson were dancing in Brazouka and I was assisting there. We met at Brazouka and collaborated a bit. One year later we met at Zouk Day and I asked them to train with me for 10 days. They asked the organizer if I could teach with them at the event since they were teaching [a philosophy] similar to mine.

“We do not have the name for

what we are doing but we do

know WHAT we are doing.”

I know more about the language of Zouk and they know more about Gafiera, so I taught them the lingo [of Zouk] and we married our ideas. When we met at Zouk day, we just wanted to train – we didn’t think of getting together. We kept in touch and went on with our lives. Then we met again in October; they were in Holland and I was somewhere else in Europe. I was interested in their touch, the way they would make the dancer move her feet and they used my knowledge of how to make the follower move their upper body. Five months later, I asked them to come to Valencia to train. That’s where we discovered the importance of what we were doing so we decided to embark upon this project together. We do not have the name for what we are doing but we do know WHAT we are doing. We haven’t given it a name because people judge the minute you give something a name. We are united for a project not to create a trio but to bring our ideas and knowledge together.

Would you say your styles or philosophies are similar? And what you have learned from each other?

Xandy: I’ve been in this new phase for about 2 years now of focusing on breathing, sight, feeling, etc. Brenda and Anderson were also doing this. They dance everything related to Salão de Dança (Ballroom) but the media knows them for Gafiera. We each understand the whole body of the person. Someone who has good contact with the floor, transfer of weight, etc. Together, we are doing exercises that focus on connecting all of this.

How would you describe the work that the three of you have been doing?

We are calling it Breathing & Connection for now but we do not have an official name for it yet.

Is this research specifically for Zouk?

We are doing this for partner dancing, not just Zouk. In Valencia we are doing experimental classes of dancing with 2 people. It’s been very positive for some people, for their dance and for others in life.

Are Brenda & Anderson now living in Spain as well?

Xandy: Yes, Brenda and Anderson have an apartment here now.

Do you incorporate other teachings into your technique?

Xandy: Yes, we incorporate yoga, gorillas, chakras, and nature but our main focus is exploring the elements; water, wind, earth and fire. Our main objective is working with the unity of psychophysics.

“We are calling it Breathing &

Connection for now but we do

not have an official name for it yet.”

We heard you are writing a book about this. When can we expect it to be finished?

Xandy: We are writing everything down. All three of us write everything we study. All of this would give 3 books worth of work, but we want to simplify it into one. In December we hope to finalize and formalize our thoughts. We are aiming to finish [our research] within the first half of 2017. Anderson has his knowledge, Brenda has hers and I have mine. We are uniting these thoughts and we are inviting more people to come to Valencia to collaborate as well, including two well known artists who we will not name at this time. Also, a therapist named Luciana de Campos who comes two to three times a year to oversee our work. She is one of our partners in this project. And Judit Triguero, another partner, who investigates and facilitates the information for us. She’s been working with me on this project for about two years now.

You mentioned that the Government may sponsor this project?

We are working on a project to see if we can get support from the government. We currently are only working the necessary amount to have money for this project. If we have to give up travels for this and only travel once a month, we will do this. The hardest thing is getting money from the government. We are writing and doing this on the side to make this a reality.

“Our main objective is working

with the unity of psychophysics”

Would you describe what you’re doing as a philospohy or a buisness?

It’s both. We are transforming into a business. We are looking into how many students we would need to keep the business going. Then we’ll be dedicating X amount of time to this, and X amount of time to that. But it is also a philosophy.

What’s your timeline for showcasing this project to students and other artists?

This year we want to formalize what we are doing and next year showcase it. When I say “formalize,” I mean the theory, the investigation, how it will be taught, etc. Currently, we do not have answers for how this will be done. This year we did a 6 minute performance that shows what we are doing. This is something that already exists but needs to be formalized. We are maintaining tradition and studying what’s new and going deeper into the investigation. In Europe ballroom has been here for 200 years and in Brazil less then 100, so it’s tricky.

I know you’re planning to perform in Mexico for ZoukMX. Can you tell us what we can be expecting to see there?

We want to do a 2 hour workshop in Mexico. What we are teaching is complex and we’d need more than just one hour. Those attending will be able to experience our class and our teaching philosophy, which we have been working on. They will also be able to see our 6 minute performance.

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About: Jessica Carro

Jessica Carro is the Editor-in-Chief for Zoukology Magazine. She is also Lead Correspondent for Zoukology/ZoukLive. In addition, Jessica is a Production Coordinator for the VICE on HBO Series and works as a freelance writer, specializing in Latin American issues. She has a Bachelors Degree in International Relations and Spanish from Wagner College and a Master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She currently lives in Queens, New York.

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