Vitor Tavares Mendes
Dancer, choreographer & instructor
Success means having the courage, determination and the will to become the person we want to be! Being successful is simple, it is about doing the right thing, the right way and at the right time.
My name is Vítor Tavares Mendes and I was born in a poor ghetto Pedreira Dos Hungaros in Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Verdean parents. When I was 22, I have moved to London, where I lived for 8 years. It was there, where I started using my dancing styles as a motivational tool for a very diverse young audience.
In 2002 in London, I completed a course in contemporary dance and began teaching Capoeira and traditional African dances as follow up on my first dancing steps in Portugal. I gradually enriched and implemented my own style under the influence of other dances and rhythms such as Kizomba, Coupe décalé, Kuduro, contemporary, RnB, hip hop and Ghetto Zouk.
In 2010 I moved to Prague, started a family and continued my dancing journey professionally. Some of my public appearances became an eye-opener to many; it wasn’t just my dancing, also the cultural background of my style. Some examples of this would include performances at ABC and D21 Theatres. Some TV work at “Cesky Lev” film awards, on TV Nova or on Slovak Markíza. Similarly, different press publications have covered my work; like the newspaper “Mlada Fronta Dnes“ and various magazines like “Dieta“, “Lide a Zeme“ and “Tema“.
Whilst doing this I never lost sight of my roots and their influence on my work and as an individual. Because of this, I took the task to promote our Portuguese-Afro-Hispanic culture and organized various cultural events. One of my biggest successes was the multicultural festival “Afro-Bailar“, which was held in Prague and Bratislava for four consecutive years (2010 – 2014).
In 2012 I started teaching Kizomba and since then I have traveled to and taught in more than 47 cities.
In 2013 I became a certified Fitness instructor. I provide a unique approach to fitness for women and men of all ages, abilities, and shapes.
Since 2015 I have dedicated a big part of my professional time to the creation and development of Ghetto Zouk Dance. I can say GZD is nowadays a successful dancing method which tries to satisfy the need for a dance that Ghetto Zouk music has implicitly been encouraging and inspiring for years. GZD has been introduced to many countries during 2016.
In 2018 I got back to my roots and started to write new songs for my new music album which reflects on my life and my previous experiences.
Sports, fitness, and dance represent who I am and have always accompanied me in life. Alongside with my professional dancing history in teaching and choreographing I’ve been working as a personal trainer for 4 years. I still learn from my day to day experience with my students and clients and take pride in sharing my knowledge with them. I believe life is an unstoppable learning curve.
Through dance, I see limitless possibilities of music interpretation, self-expression and connection with a dance partner. Ghetto Zouk Dance and Kizomba are couple dances, therefore, communication is pivotal, connection and assurance, not only in yourself but also in your dance partner. We read our dance partner’s intentions through their choices of movement. It is what many see as the perfect phenomenal form of nonverbal communication, regardless of what language we speak. Everyone can dance, one simply has to let go and choose to embrace the joy of movement.
So, what is so unique and perhaps impossible to better about dancing? Personally, when I see people of different nationalities, cultural backgrounds, different shapes and dancing abilities and different ages… all coming to my lessons to gather in common ground to share a common passion, a love for dancing.
- During the past few years I have designed or being involved with dance choreographies for different artists and sports personalities like the singer Piqi Miqi, the bodybuilder Lukáš Osladil, the music band United Flavour, the dance crews CoDance and MuReCaS, ČSTS, and companies VAC company, Reebok, Nestle, L’Oreal, Billa, Avon, amongst others.
- I have also taken part in commercials for brands such as Gerber, Nintendo, Ariel, Verizon, Desperados, Canal+, Becherovka, Margot etc.
- I professionally and regularly dance already for 16 years – Kizomba, Ghetto Zouk Dance, Afro-Fitness, Capoeira, traditional African dances, Coupé décalé, Kuduro and Abstract dance, and contemporary dances.
- In 2005 I was involved in the debut in Patti Boulaye’s musical Sundance in “Hackney Empire Theatre” in London.
- Between 2008 and 2010 I was CEO of American fashion brand APB Clothing branch in UK.
- Between 2010 and 2014 I organized the yearly multicultural music and dance festival Afro-Bailar in Prague and Bratislava.
- In 2010 I took part in two dance performances; “Shiva’s wheel of life” in the ABC Theatre and Prague’s adaptation of “La Ronde” Arthura Schnitzler in the D21 Theatre, both in Prague.
- From 2012 I’ve been very busy with regular, intensive and private dance lessons in the Czech Republic and abroad.
- In 2012 I performed at the Czech Film awards Český lev.
- In 2013 I cooperated with the newspaper Mladá Fronta Dnes on the project “Fitness days with Diet”.
- From 2013 I actively work as Fitness trainer.
- In 2015 I created a new dance method; Ghetto Zouk Dance, carefully developed to complement the beats of Ghetto Zouk music.
- In 2018 I started to intensively work on my new music album
- 1998 to 2000 Sports and environment, high school Linda-a-Velha, Lisbon, Portugal
- 2000 to 2002 Environment and sports animation, school Bartolomeu Dias, Lisbon, Portugal
- 2002 Contemporary dance course, Lisbon, Portugal
- 2013 Retraining course as Fitness trainer, Fit Praha, Czech Republic
- 2016 Acting course run by David Stejskal from Nancy Bishop Casting, Prague, Czech Republic
Tereza Tavares Mendes
My name is Tereza, I was born in Pardubice in Czech/Greek family and I grew up in Prague.
From 2000 – 2016 I worked as a manager in Customer service.
From 2008 – 2015 I worked in American fashion brand APB Clothing in the Czech Republic and Great Britain.
From 2010 – 2014 I co-founded and co-organised a successful multicultural dance festival Afro-Bailar in Prague.
In 2012 I co-founded another 2 successful brands Afro-Fitness and Kizomba Prague and from the same year, I am also manager of my husband Vitor Mendes.
From 2017 – 2018 I worked in Tax Office.
Currently, I work in online marketing, presentation, promotional materials, and graphic design. I organize cultural events, dance parties, and workshops.
I started to dance at the age of 6 as a member of the dance group JUMBO and EMBODY based in Slovakia, that aim to educate versatile dancers. I went through the basics of classical dance, modern, jazz, contemporary dance, contact improvisation as well as hip-hop and other styles of street dance.
After moving to Prague I enriched my dance collection with Kizomba and a new dance concept Ghetto Zouk Dance, on the creation of which I have been participating along with Vitor Mendes since 2015. During this time, I performed and taught by Vitor’s side at many festivals and workshops in Europe, Russia, and Canada.
Apart of Ghetto Zouk Dance, I am also involved in other dance projects: for example, I danced in two music videos of an American singer Piqi Miqi living in Prague and from September 2017 I perform in a musical Krysař in theatre Kalich, from April 2018 in a musical Shrek and from September 2018 in a musical Hair.
Thanks to many years of dance experience and colorful dance background, I can, in addition to the techniques and steps Ghetto Zouk Dance, offer also general dance technique, which can be used in many other dance styles. My Lady Styling is not just about footwork and hip movement, but also about the correct and healthy posture, the power and control of the movement and of course about the elegance and femininity, because only a mix of all these ingredients will give the dance the right flavor and style. As for the dancing in a couple, I am happy to explain to the girls how to receive and pass on the information to their dance partners, so that both parties are able to enjoy the dance more. I can also give the guys tips on how to improve their leading that will be very appreciated by their dance partners!
Jessica Mendes Cruz
My name is Jessica, I was born in Lisbon in Cape Verdean family and I grew up in London.
In 2013 I have moved to Prague where I currently live.
From 2013 – 2014 I have worked as an assistant in Montessori school NestLingue.
From 2014 – 2016 I worked in customer service in ICON telecommunications.
From 2016 I currently work at Interhome.