Video Interview on YouTube
Episode 19 of the Two Left Feet podcast
Interview with Pedrinho Mattos the Brazilian
Zouk dancer and instructor talking about his dance school and his life and Rap
Welcome to the 19th episode
of the two left feet podcast. Today I was doing by a wonderful guest, a mister
Pedrinho Mattos from London. He is the owner of the UK dance connection in
London. This episode was really cool because, Pedrinho has he has such amazing
energy. It’s very infectious. It was so much fun talking to him because, you
know, the energy just, it came to the phone, you know what I’m saying. He’s
very passionate about Zouk grew up dancing. He moved away from his mom when he
was like 10 or 11 years old. Moved away from his mom to pursue his passion of
dancing. How crazy is that? This episode we talk about a lot. We talk about,
you know, his life as a traveling Brazilian Zouk instructor his life in London
now just so much, his rap career, his clothing line. This dude is amazing. He’s
doing so much with his life. He’s only 24 years old. He’s about to turn 25
soon. This is a really cool episode. You’re going enjoy it. Just because like I
said, his energy is on 10, his energy is amazing. Great episode. If you find
value in this, I ask that you please leave a like and subscribe. And if you
find no value in this then don’t even worry about it. But I have fun. I have a
lot of fun filming it, talking with him. Excellent episode 19 two left feet
podcast, hope you enjoy it.
Terence: Yeah, I am on the line with the Pedrinho Mattos, is that correct?
Pedrinho Mattos: Yes. Pedrinho Mattos in the house babe.
Terence: Yeah, so you are a Zouk instructor and you are the owner of the UK dance connection in London. Is that correct?
Pedrinho Mattos: That is correct. Yeah.
Terence: That is the leading school Zouk lessons in London. All right, so I knew you were born in Brazil, is that correct?
Pedrinho Mattos: Yeah, that’s correct. I was born in a small city called Belo Horizonte.
Terence: You started dancing when you were 10 years old, is that correct?
Pedrinho Mattos: Yeah, that correct.
Terence: All right. And in 2005. You went to a Rio de Janeiro, the professional dancers at Rio de Janeiro a roasted dance school. Is that how you say it?
Pedrinho Mattos: Yes. Probably. That’s where I met. That’s where I met every woman. Like, that’s where I met Renata and Rachel, the Jimenez family, Carlos and Fernanda, everybody. Everybody came from that. Like there was the, that was the point and I was just so blessed to grow up. In such a cool environment. Like was sick.
Terence: What made you enroll there?
Pedrinho Mattos: Oh Man. I don’t consider myself a normal person. So everything started because my mom she was going to turn 40 years old, I was about 10 years old and she’s like, I want to dance a tango. I want to have a tango dance for my birthday with my son. And then she just enrolls in this little dance school down the road. Some little shit thing and then that’s it. Like my mom couldn’t really dance and she didn’t really have the patience, but tongue was hard as hell. So she was like, ah Nah, don’t care. And they kind of, they kind of kept me as a, like a mini dancer because I was very young so they’re just kind of like teach me the corner and let me do the lessons there for free. And then after one year, just dancing, like they’re having fun doing my sports. I was doing that every day, man. So like learning a little bit of dancing and doing my sport football, a little bit of volleyballs at the time. And that’s when I heard about the school in Rio de Janeiro that everybody has to be there, everybody has to go there if they want to learn. And the school in my city was part of a partnership with these other schools. So they were like, “Oh, if one day you ever want to be a teacher, you have to have like eight diplomas from the law school”. It was something insane. And I was like, well I might as well start soon. So I literally met the assistants at the time, the people who worked for the school, they were packing up to go over there for like three months intensive training. And I literally just went with them and I said to my mom, but I’m going, I’m just, you know, everything’s paid for. They already paid so I’m just jumping in the car.
Terence: And how old were you at that time?
Pedrinho Mattos: I was about 11 year’s old man. My mom freaked out. My mom freaked out. And that’s when shit went down because I got that to the training. I’m about one week in the training, like working hard dancing like from 9:00 AM to midnight living the dream. And then da Rocha himself walk in the room, puts their hand in my head and is like, you’re going to be like my son in dance. You can stay here. Oh my God. Literally, man. I literally phoned my mom and said, I’m never coming back home. My mom freaked out. But I was always like this. I’m a person with goals, you know what I mean? Like I don’t hang around. Like I don’t really waste time since I’m little and my mom. She freaked out and I said, well, it doesn’t matter what you say. I’m never coming back home. She had to find like some family related cousins in Rio de Janeiro and literally I moved myself. Into Rio de Janeiro. Like I never came back. And then the guys from the dance company like, they were giving me like fake ID so I could go to the dance parties. I was like this was my life when like, and I was like, oh, that’s what I want to do for life man. Like I love this stuff and it just makes people happy. Brought so many people together in like this school at the time when I was in [Inaudible 00:06:39] school was about one and a half thousand students, it was like, two schools was two of 10 schools. He had it on the same street. It was, it was insane. It was another level man. And like just made me fall in love with that instruction and the fact that you could dance like 24 hours a day, that I think that that touched my life where I was like, man, I want to do that for life. And since then I never stopped man. I just kept going.
Terence: I’m curious, man. You have some really good English. Where did you learn English at?
Pedrinho Mattos: Movies. So what happened was about my start, I always like crazy situations so like I was on a tour in Europe at the time I didn’t speak English. It was about 2012, 2013 I was doing a tour around Europe, teaching some congresses, Carlos and Fernanda kind of took me around, open some doors for me. So I was traveling around, kind of lost my dance partner. She went to Brazil and she never came back. She kind of just abandoned me and I just kept doing the tour by myself, dancing with everyone, just, you know, working hard, hustling every day. And then, and my last city, it was London where I live now and literally, man, I was working with Solange Diaz you know, Berg’s sister. And they gave me really good opportunity. So they gave me some opportunities to work and on the last day, my last two days or three days in the country, they introduced me to my wife Linda. On the last day Solange was like, I don’t really feel good. You know, I don’t really want to do a demo. And I went to her Solange, you know, I don’t have a partner. I’m working really hard. I need to have at least videos on YouTube. And then she’s like, oh, my friend just arrived from holiday, just dance with her. And I was like, but Solange, you know, like she is European, I never danced with her maybe she’s not even good. And then my wife to be at the time, she just walks down and I was like, okay, I’ll dance with her. And then like I had to dance and the video is actually online. You can actually find the video the dance aspect is not very good. But I felt was love at first dance, I don’t remember what I did. I don’t remember, I don’t remember anything. I was literally walking around her the whole demo. In terms of professional, if I judge it today, the demo is shit, but for my life it was one of the most important dances of my life 100%.
Terence: How can we have we find that video man? Do you know what is called?
Pedrinho Mattos: I think it’s like Pedrinho and Linda Grace Bar. I’ll shoot the link to you on the end of the call. So it was literally, I stay in and then I was like, wow something happened. You know what I’m saying? Like I felt something different than for you to be on a tour for like six months traveling and like I did over 20 countries. I think at the time, I was dancing, I was dancing Zouk all over the place. Then I went to fracking Scotland was Zouk was like two people in there. I danced all over the place and then to have a dance that he moves you like that. And I was like, wow. And then on the end of the demo, I didn’t really speak English at the time. I told the organizers at lunch, I said to her, tell Linda that one day will marry her. And then people freaked out. She was like, huh. And literally when we got married, they did a whole celebration at the same venue, the same party was love at first dance. And then since then I kind of lock myself around her and movies. So she was to go to work and I would just be watching movies, like for five hours in a row, literally that’s how I learned English.
Terence: Your English is way better than my Portuguese. I have not been practicing. So tell me about your dance school please?
Pedrinho Mattos: My dance school is my little baby as well. So I said I have two babies, my baby girl and my dance school man. So when I got to London as I said to you that dance school in Rio de Janeiro really changed my life, you know, so I said, I want to carry on this mentality, this educational system that people can actually enjoy this and be very good at it. London was kind of a little bit lost when I got, well more than the time that I got here. So it’s been kind of going on for 10 years, this kind of club and class kind of vibe. So people literally stop learning how to dance. And when I moved in, it was very frustrating. Like I would go out and I wouldn’t be really able to enjoy dances, people pulling, fishing, throwing themselves. And I was like, I said to everyone, I said I’m going to open a dance school in here. And then the organizer, they were like P, but you know, its London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Like that’s why nobody managed to do it yet because rent is so high. It’s stupid why we spend money in here. Like it’s ridiculous. So I kind of like work with all the organizers here around, I kind of like build up my name in the town, kind of create some good credibility to show the work. And that’s when I found the space, I saved some money in and then I went full on. I went like this school people like what is that, people are not even used to pay like memberships. It was like everything here was done as dropping. So I was like, I need to change this mentality. People need to learn properly. So I spent like three years, with my friends. William Poloma, Carlos and Fernanda, the Jimenez family was a very close friends of mine. And then when I was building my program to create new dances, I was kind of testing with them and then asking them some questions like, what do you think? Because you know, I have more this urban vibe, but you know, when you create your new students, I’m not creating a hip hop dancer, so I’m teaching them Zouk. So if they go and dance with William Palama, they can dance comfortably. If they’re gone dance some traditional Zouk they can as comfortably. So that’s the goal of the school. So I created the school and I created the program that can, people can learn the mechanics of it, that he can literally, they can choose where they want to go. So they want to dance more lyrical, more traditional, more or hip hop is everything like that, because we kind of went to the core of the dance. And then we created this structure. So I have the school now for one, just over one and a half year now, I think. So first few months went really well. And then obviously, I am an artist in every aspect you can imagine. So I’m not very good at business yet. I’m still learning. So first few months were really good and then the numbers kind of start sinking in a little bit. And that’s when I brought my business partner into the game. So he used to be a private student of mine and he loves it. He loves West Coast and Zouk like he loves it. He loves dance and he’s fucking talent as well, is amazing. And he owned a few business around and I said to him, man, I’m doing this school. And then he kind of gave me some tips to start with. He’s like, Oh man, I’m not looking to another business in that. I worked so much. And then hey, like slowly talking him to it, like he’s like a brother to me, man. And I was like I need your help. I’m hundred students now and I don’t know what to do. I can’t even manage. And then he like, “Alright, let’s make some money together”. So he jumped in. Just before the holiday time in here, so everything was kind of a learning path, you know, because he had people go away like nobody on the dance school is local. So I kept the school open in July. Biggest mistake. I lost like so much money because everybody goes on holiday in here.
Terence: What’s the holiday in July? What is it?
Pedrinho Mattos: So they kind of have a like the summer break, what they call here. So July and August is the worst time for this going in here because people go back to see their families, they go like to Croatia, they go to Spain because it’s very cheap and very sunny as we don’t get so much sun in London. So people literally shoot off man. They don’t care about the city, they just leave. And then like I was learning through this shit and I was like, Oh man, I need to close down. We lose all that money. And then like my business partner jumped in and he is amazing. Like you know, he knows the culture, he’s British. He’s like, we need to do this. He came up with the open days. We did like a free week of Zouk in the school. So people to get to know, like we had over 400 people in the school, trying Zouk. So like honestly if all of them sign up, we would be Ibiza right now. But, but it was good to like to create a good promotion to Zouk, we’re bring in this serious face to Zouk in London. Zouk should be taken seriously and amazing dance and you can have fun and learn with quality and he’d just come up with this amazing ideas. Like, so he’s helping me to grow Zouk so much in here. The culture is very important because I’m doing something that is my culture, my dance, but I also need to adapt where I am right now. And that’s what I think lots of Brazilians make mistakes. They try to like, oh, as a Brazilians, you should only do that. Like if you’re leaving that country, if I live in US, I have to adapt to your culture. You can’t treat California the same way you treat New York in the same way. Like every place has its flow, its swag. Like you have to adapt and that’s how you manage to grow the scene. You know, by showing them like, oh, check this out.
Terence: Yeah. I’m curious man. I’m curious. Tell me about your rap career?
Pedrinho Mattos: The dance just giving me so much in life, that you can, he may like, I cannot believe I actually get out of what I am from and I where I am right now. So one of them is my sister, like a Nimsay. You can see that like we go for the name Nimsay & El Dorado. So Nimsay she was another person that the dance brought to me, she was a client in my school. She came in for the free week. Like about a year ago. She was one of the first clients of the school really. And she showed up with some gold watches and gold chains she walks in man with a chain and like a gold apple watch case. Like, come here, let me see this. And immediately, she is from Spain. So we clicked my like first day and then she was dancing. She was falling in love with Zouk. She came from like my [Inaudible 00:18:47] Spanish, just like the Latin-stock. And I convert her into Zouk. And then I asked her, what do you do? And she’s like, Oh, I’m a rapper. And I was like, oh shit, no way. And then she showed him some songs, actually demo some of her songs at the time. And then I said to her, before I was a dancer I always dream of, you know Rap I love Brazilian funk and rap, I fucking love that my whole life. And then she’s like, well, stop by my place and let’s do it something. And I didn’t really believe that I was going to go. So I show up at this woman’s house like, I’m ready, let’s go. And then I said to her, well good luck because I don’t know how to write songs and I don’t know how to sing. So good luck. And then literally, she taught me everything. We work hard we’ll work like eight hours shift, like writing songs. And she teaching me like you out of key and then you’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do that so well. And then like literally it’s my love. Dance and music, in my life is everything. Leads me like I can’t live without music for second.
Terence: So you’re very artistic. So you pursuing it. Is one thing to think about and it’s another thing to actually do it.
Pedrinho Mattos: I’m like shooting everywhere and now the rap is kind of taking over a little bit and that’s what I need to be careful with my Zouk side because we went for a competition calls UK Open Mike and we got to the finals. We didn’t win. So like this competition, they have all kinds of talents of single so we can have acoustic, all the health stuff. So rappers don’t normally, when this kind of stuff is kind of a really good publicity for us. And on this competition we met the producer of Sam Smith. He got some really famous stuff. So he’s produced some and like kind of approached us on the end of the competition and offer us to work with his Studio. So it’s just took to the next level now. So we’re working really hard. The music at the moment and we’re going to launch a project soon. Well I’m going to have obviously involve some Zouking to some dance videos kind of helping each other out. So I’m constantly thinking off staff that I can do to reach more people, make people happier. Like I’m a very happy person and I’m always having a great time and I just think that people are always like consumed by the time and the money. But if you really happy man, you can make lots of money and enjoy life.
Terence: I believe that. I want you to tell me about your clothing then Ladylicious clothing. Is that right lady?
Pedrinho Mattos: Ladylicious clothing, that what I’m saying. I’m crazy I just start businesses. That’s all I do. It was a partnership that we’d done it with Carlos and Fernanda.The organizers of Prague Zouk, Congress, they amaze me. So they are the ones responsible for me to be in Europe. Like they opened so many doors for me and they have their own brand that it called CF Brazil, which is clothing from Brazil, like a really high quality leggings and stuff. And then they offer us to join up on a partnership to kind of create a shop in UK. And then Ladylicious, it was a name that my sister Jasmine came up with. I said to her, I need the name that is sexy. She was like Ladylicious. And literally I was like, all right cool. And then again, like my business partner is amazes me. Like he literally buys every idea that I stood on. I was like Carlos and Fernanda, want to learn for you, they want to expand, they want a partnership, let’s do it. And he’s like, “all right, let’s do it”. Boom. Done. We still launching kind of probably. So what happened is, because the school kind of grew, we’re almost 200 students now. So the school’s kind of very busy at the moment. So we kind of like put it hold, Ladylicious for a little bit. But obviously there is some work on, but we are doing more in the events for now for the dancers. We kind of like creating like some business for dancers and bringing that swag into the dance floor kind of. That’s the idea.
Terence: That’s awesome. And you’re doing so much. It’s really amazing man. I want to get back to Zouk, can you tell me about the Lambada, did you study that at all?
Pedrinho Mattos: The Lambada I’m too young for that. I had the privilege of seeing the, the transition very young, you know, also, for example, I actually did a post on the UK DC page yesterday about the Jimenez family. So, you know, Renato Jimenez, Rachel Jimenez, Rodrigo Jimenez. And the post stays like, because I’m flying them over for my birthday, so my birthday is two weeks and they are one of the teachers of the event. And I remember like as yesterday I’m sitting down watching these people perform and these people were the transition of everything. They were the lab rats, these were people start. So from that time between the transitions from the Lambada into Zouk, he came so many amazing dances like so Agiley porter and another person when they start kind of like evolve that transitioning to Zouk more so many dancers were training with them and growing with them. And then like, it’s a beautiful transition. And I, I still had some contact with Lambada but not straight through it. I had the honor to work few times with [Inaudible 00:25:10] as well, and he’d take me through something I met in London is to work with Brass as well over here. That is two points of view in the Lambada as well because in importance Porthgwarra when Zouk was already starting to kind of be studying in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo the Lambada still being this on the street and being, you know, like going full out. So they kind of like preserve that instinct of it. When the other, other cities, the big capitals, they were getting more influenced, they were getting more music, they were getting songs, the DJs come in and then mafia Zouk pop on, so like it started growing more and more through the capitalism where Porthgwarra is there that Lambada, that frenetic side of it and that flow
Terence: I guess you and I heard them, I was speaking to her. You might know Ruana Vasquez? I just had her on the show actually. She was wonderful, man. She’s told me that. I don’t know if I’m saying it right. Forro that’s like most of the more popular dance right now.
Pedrinho Mattos: Yeah Ruana, Forro is the reason I think every Brazilian started dancing. I think the first approach for men to women, I think in life it’s very popular. It’s very cuddly. It’s very easy to start with and people love about like the music is the least is of, it’s very cultural as well. It’s literally three. I think is three or four instruments. Like we have the triangle, you have the little drum. It’s super simple. Is really delicious to most of us Brazilians, we kind of like go from the heart to something else. It’s responsible to give that, that Brazilian feeling, that Brazilian hug.
Terence: I know you have a daughter, her name is Mia, baby. I’m curious, is she going to follow your footsteps?
Pedrinho Mattos: I hope so. Like other day in school, she kind of like blew us out. So she’s almost two now, so she’s like one year and 10 months, so it’s going to be two in two months. And I bring her to the school since she is like four months old, she’s been seeing the students, so she runs around the school all the time. She doesn’t have problem with people. Like she just loves being around the school and music. She started dancing. She loves this and she tries it as well. And this last was it two weeks ago, I was having a beginner’s class starting at the school and I was counting like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 doing the basics. And she started copying everyone in the room. I almost cried at the class. I was like, please get by. But I really want her to be involved with art, music. Anything that she wants to do, I’m going to support her because when I came from in the beginning was really hard. Like I had to prove to my family really hard that I could actually make a living from what I do today. And I think my family only believes me. When I actually flew them out for my wedding with everything paid for. I think they’re like, I’ll get it now. He can actually live from it. Few people in Brazil, the old culture kind of thing, like parents, few of them still thinking that, you know, dances, involved a lot of alcohol, a lot of drugs and stuff, it can be like this is your own path, you choose what you want to do and it depends on your mindset as well. And I think that’s what the day when it clicked. So if Mia, I hope she wants to work in the arts. But if she wants to be a doctor or anything, I would just support her.
Terence: As you should, you got to support your children. I just want to ask you about, what do you think makes you so successful in this. What’s your secret?
Pedrinho Mattos: I don’t know a few people they try to ask me, actually telling me, they say like. Like, I don’t know man. I just work very hard to get everything and I always dreamed very big since I was a child, like my family, my friends. The car I’m sitting right now is that Santa Fe. Since I was a kid, I was going to buy a Santa Fe. I was like, I’m going to buy a Lamborghini very soon. And people like right. He drink too much. And I keep saying this stuff man, and just like, and I just keep pushing through it. I’m going to have a dance school. And I’m going to have few businesses, I’m going to have money, I’m going to own my own house. But you know, it comes like what people, sometimes they just say shit but they don’t actually go for it. Everything I say to it like I really mean it and it really means a lot. I mean, because where I come from Athens, I had to work for every penny. So everything that I do is kind of I have this extra passion for it. I think when I’m in the classroom and teaching students and teaching anybody, it’s just what I love to do. So I just give them my experience. I don’t care about the step, I want them to understand that point of view and say, this is how it feels. I try to always teach, we’re going to do the secrets, but that’s how I want it to feel like. Can you understand that? How does it make you feel? I kind of get on the zone and I love this exchange of energy, I believe on this energy exchange a lot and if you know what you want just attract it.
Terence: Going back to teaching. I’ve seen you dance before and to me and my girl, it looks like you’re lead. It looks like you’re from, but now rough. And I feel like some people might interpret that as you’re using more force than you really are. What is the key to a good Brazilian Zouk lead?
Pedrinho Mattos: Well, is understanding, respecting and adapting to your partner. And does not matter how good you are. If you can’t adapt to the partner that you dance with or you can dance very good with that person, but you cannot dance to that one, so that something is wrong with your dancing. Lots of leaders, they like to kind of blame the followers and them kind of stop teaching their followers how to adapt to day dance. Obviously, their followers they have to be able to adapt as well. But I think the key for a good leading man is to literally adapt to each partner. And I think that’s my biggest strength. Even though I like my hip hop, I keep my leaders light as I can and I make sure that my partner gets the heaven on earth kind of thing. I take care of that, that partner for three minutes. Like it’s my life. I like to have fun on dance floor. I like to move, you know, I like to dance. I don’t like kind of like, instead of just turning, go to one side, I like to dance with her, like my body with her and I like to get on this kind of connection kind of vibe. So it makes me want to move in every partner that I hug. It’s kind of like a body skin. I was, okay. Her body rose really good. So it’s just kind of flexible and upper body do a basics like oh, her business a little bit rough we have to out check kind of a five checklists, grace, body rose, basic step, lateral and simple turn. If you’ve got five. Okay, then I can push it a little bit. Always looking for to make my partner comfortable and, and preserve her balance. That’s what I like to do. I want to make sure that she understand that it’s about her as well.
Terence: Okay. I’m curious. So for that checklist is that what makes it go follow? Like how can follows improve is that five checklist?
Pedrinho Mattos: If the followers as well that does help a lot. Obviously if the leader is kind of like rough and doesn’t have much experience. That does matter much more for the follower because she’s the one been throwing around. So will be hard to follow, I think like my best tip for the followers as well as kind of dance towards your partner sometimes I see as well followers losing concentration, sometimes the solution is that even the technique or anything, sometimes they had the technique, but what has happened, they kind of get lost around the dance when we’re actually through the school at the time. We always dance to each other. So if I’m doing an open, if I’m doing a Tam, constantly movie around each other. So my partner is looking for me and I’m looking for her and then you add that up with, you know, a very good frame. Keeping the frame forward, using the footwork I think as well lots of ladies as well. Sometimes they end up ignoring the footwork. How I described it imagine that your board is kind of like a Ferrari kind of thing. Your legs is kind of the engine. Your arms is kind of the drive wheel and the right arm is kind of the gas. So the leading comes from your body as a leader into the right side. The left is kind of the direction and then your legs got to be moving. So the following sometimes they get these information very well up here, but they don’t have the power in the legs. They’re not moving their legs enough. So sometimes I see followers really forgetting about moving their feet. So I think it’s very important to remember that as well.
Terence: Definitely, always move your feet. That’s in any dance. You got to keep stepping in it out. I’m curious, what is it like being a traveling Brazilians Zouk instructor that is a life completely different than mine?
Pedrinho Mattos: Life changes. Like when I was young, I’m still young, but …
Terence: How old are you?
Pedrinho Mattos: I’m 24 years old now. I’m turning 25 in two weeks I’m going to become old. But when you start with it is an amazing life to travel every week. We can dance with so many people and it’s based on your focus, its depending what you want from life, there’s artists that they actually love to do that they don’t want to have regular classes really. They want to travel and there’s lots of people. And do shows depends on your own, your idea of dancing, now my main goal is to create something for life. I want to leave something behind. I want to be the guy who changed the Zouk scene in UK. I want to build an empire kind of thing. I want to make sure the Zouk gets really well in here and I want us to have a space that we can then 24 hours like we had in Brazil. So my goals are to stabilize something, so at the moment, and especially I had the baby as well, so I don’t travel as much anymore. I used to do it because a massive, I teach for Monday to Thursday, get on a plane on a Friday. I’m going to Prague Congress now and I’m flying out tomorrow already. I actually have my assistants covering two classes for me because I’m not going to be there in the school and then I’m leaving the school. So I’m already kind of dropping down with my students and I feel like I let them down as well. But I want to be part of the congresses as well. So at the moment I kind of working more with closer friends. I’m working with people who wants to grow the scene, who wants to kind of create a bigger community, a better community. My kind of focus right now is the works a little bit too, obviously I started traveling when I was 17 to 18, so 18 years old. I was on my first European tour as a Zouk teacher. Since then, until 22, I was literally traveling every weekend everywhere, it’s amazing, but sometime that you have to enjoy life. So I was out dancing every night. I was dancing with so many people and then now obviously when I go to the congress, I go crazy as well because my time I work. But when I’m at the party, I just love dancing. That’s the problem. I get on the dance floor and I just want to sweat it. I was let’s dance. If you put me on a dance floor and give me a good DJ. I can go for like four, five hours straight.
Terence: I want to switch it up on you. All right, check this out. I’m going to ask you these really quick questions and I want you to try and answer them in 10 seconds. All right are you ready. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Pedrinho Mattos: I think it would be Jay-Z. He is Legend.
Terence: What is your favorite thing to do outside of dancing?
Pedrinho Mattos: A music Rap.
Terence: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Pedrinho Mattos: To get to the other side.
Terence: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Pedrinho Mattos: The best gift my daughter.
Terence: If you had one superpower, what would it be?
Pedrinho Mattos: Fly. Fucking fly.
Terence: What is one thing you could never live without? One item?
Pedrinho Mattos: Gold chains.
Terence: As a child. What did you want to be growing up?
Pedrinho Mattos: An artist.
Terence: What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Pedrinho Mattos: Don’t drink too much and work a little bit more.
Terence: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Pedrinho Mattos: I had so many like I think be yourself and kind of respect the next as well, I think that was best advice be yourself, be truly to yourself and then people around you as well will feel it you going to create that amazing energy that was the best advice in my life.
Terence: I’m curious the opposite of that. What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Pedrinho Mattos: Worst is try not to dance and try to find a normal job. That happen so much times.
Terence: Okay. You didn’t follow it though. You, you stuck it out.
Pedrinho Mattos: I actually tried once, I did that interview for a driver’s job and I thought I’m going to dance and then after I finished dance at 11 o’clock I’m going to do this driving, delivering expensive drinks like whiskey, vodka, the big brands. And the payment was quite good. I drove to their place, nobody was there and I called the guys like, wow, I thought we had an interview. And then I came the following week, the guy was not there again. And then I’m like, I’m going to give a third shot. I gave him a third shot. The guy like, “sorry, closed the office. We moving”. I’m not supposed to do this. I gave it a try. I had though a very difficult situation last year. So last year when I opened the dance school, we sold the service for a guy. It was like a wedding package kind of thing, for teaching privates for 12 bridesmaid, a show routine, like a teacher perform a big package. It was like 12,000 pounds. It was like a $14,000 kind of thing. He paid everything was stolen credit cards and it was a scam. I felt a massive scam. It was kind of pissed me off so much that I fell for that. And I went to court, I had lawyers, I managed to bring the debt down a little bit because obviously we pay rent, we pay teachers to do that. But I still had to pay that money back. But obviously the money went towards teachers and rent and shit. And it put me off that I fell for a scam like that. And that’s when I said I’m going to look for an extra job to pay because I still paying this debt. I still paying was awful. It got me really bad for a month. I was you worked so hard and then motherfucker come and do this to you. I got very low at the time I got there was the worst point on my life. That’s when me and Jasmine, we wrote a song there called still standing. So if you can find it and you’re going to hear all about when this shit happens to you, so you got to fight through it and doesn’t matter you still going to be there. So I fought hard with that. My wife is amazing. She’s my desk partner, my wife, my everything. And she just like, come on baby. It’s done. I was one month down and she’s like, enough, you’re working hard, let’s do this. It was intense and I could not believe that, being Brazilian and get used to rubbery and this happen in London to you. I felt stupid. I was like, come on man.
Terence: You talking about rehearsal and everything?
Pedrinho Mattos: It was all fake. So it was all done through phone and email and then on the day, so he paid everything is kind of installment like six grand, five grand. And then on the day of the session he didn’t appear he didn’t show up. And I have like 150 mails conversation with this dude though we took it to police, it was a nightmare man. That’s when I looked for a job and the universe don’t want me to do this shit. I belong with the art, just dance a little bit more and you’ll be fine.
Terence: I’ve got two more questions for you. You’re stuck on an island for five days and you can only bring three things. What do you bring?
Pedrinho Mattos: Can only bring three things water and food and my wife. Make some more babies.
Terence: What is your favorite dance Congress?
Pedrinho Mattos: That is a hard one. How many can I pick?
Terence: Give me a top three.
Pedrinho Mattos: Top three. Prague congress. Definitely. I loved, it was my first time in Zouk San Francisco. I really enjoyed that festival. I thought it was really cool. I would go, I’m going to go based on experience that I had so this, the last one was a congress the Warsaw Zouk Congress. It blew me off. So Prague, San Francisco and Warsaw. So I think for this year this my top three for now. If we have an interview next year, who knows? It might change.
Terence: That’s awesome man. You did a perfect job on those questions, I’ve got a couple of questions for you, to people who are beginners in a dance and they feel like they’re stuck in a beginners ret. What advice could you give them to help with that?
Pedrinho Mattos: I think the first thing the teacher has to do is to make them have fun in our program, in the school for our assistance, the people that we train now, they are part of our team. I’m the only teacher at the moment. And then I want to create new teachers as well. So I said to them, a beginner who never does Zouk before, he doesn’t think like us, he doesn’t care about connection. He doesn’t care what is lambada Zouk, hip hop? He doesn’t know. A personal one. He looked for a dance class. He wants to have fun. He wants to meet new people. He wants to be part of something. So if you get stuck and you start teaching your beginnings too much routine and he loses the fun, that’s when he kind of get frustrated. That’s what I believe. Because now it’s good that you ask that because I’m on a six weeks now. Beginner’s course, because the courses in our school, they don’t reset. So the beginner’s course, we call it foundation one. It takes three months to complete that course. Each, each basic level in our school takes three months. The foundation one three months foundation two three months, foundation three, three months. Make sure to build that, that student from zero all the way out. And then after that we have our intermediate level one to three. These beginners they been with us almost two months and literally like few of them, they even come twice a week. And is just that your program as a teacher, it has to kind of keep pushing them up as well. If you kind of as well get to a program that you have to do basic and only basic and you’re going to do seven times the basic step at the beginning would get frustrated. That’s why they’re going to go for Bachata, they’re going to go for Salsa, they going to go Kizomba. So the beginning side of it, you always have to pay attention on the business. You can’t treat a beginner as a dancer. I think that’s the biggest mistake of the community. They want beginners to understand and fall in love with Zouk straight away and they kind of like want to vomit a bunch of information on them and see like, you had shaken around like a chicken. So I think you should always take care of your beginnings. And you have to treat your beginners like they are your family because then when you’re building up the steps with them, you’re giving them routines and it’s a baby step. It’s like you teach baby how to walk and then they should never feel stuck. If you create a right environment with the right program. When I say program, I mean even the order that you teach the steps the teacher has to know this stuff. So, for example, in our program we start, you know, basic on the spot, basic forward and back. Then we go to Virginia, then we go to Lateral, then from Lateral we wrap her in. Then we take her for a walk. Then we introduce our body roll. Then we’re going to rotate and this and that. Each week is a little piece. By the time they spend one month with you. They can dance already. A lot of mistake that people do is beginners and the person there for four months, she only knows is Lateral, all beginning is going to do, he’s going to go to a Salsa lesson. He’s going to learn how to turn the woman three times in a month. It’s going to go on to Salsa and we lost the client. So you have to treat that beginning very carefully. Is a whole new world for them. So you’ve got to show it to them, you’ve got to present it to them. And I think that’s the biggest mistake people make in Zouk and I think that’s it. You got to keep them fresh like you can’t show up next week for the same interview and then I give the same answer. So people who watch is going to get bored. What they do would only say the same shit all the time. Okay, tell me something new. So in our school, what we do is we kind of every time we teach something new, so let’s say today they learn Lateral, they spend one hour learning Lateral and the next week if you do another hour of Lateral, they’re going to kill themselves. So we do a quick revision, make sure they can dance it in the music, let them have fun with it, check everything up, hands, feet, everything. Perfect. Got the intention of it. Give them a new challenge, boom. The following week, go back into Lateral. So each day he actually doing the same thing, but because you keep adding something extra to it, it doesn’t feel like that. So Lateral and this and that.
Terence: It seem you have put a lot of thought on that, which is wonderful?
Pedrinho Mattos: We studied a lot of style, a lot of people, a lot of conversations, I’m very blessed as I said to you as I started very young. So most of the Zouk scene I’m friend with it. Like they, I’m talking your friendship like, this guy going to be next week in my house and I had the privilege of talking to them all the time. What they been through? What didn’t work? What do you where I’m? Like, Oh, I tried this here in this country, but it didn’t work here. So you need to come up with a solution. So that is a lot of thought, to build a beginner thinking of three months, six months, nine months. It’s like a baby. Nine months is born and he finally can dance, and lots of people treat beginners as just like a one-time client. If he like it, he come back if he doesn’t know who care. And that’s why Zouk lose a lot of people, people don’t put that extra thought of it. Not everybody, most of people do. But I’m saying like if you still treating Zouk classes in a club and that’s going to work only to a certain point. If you go to well club right now, we say, “hey bro, let’s go to a club. Yeah, we’ve got to have a drink. Oh, let’s learn just dance. That was fun”. That’s it. We don’t care there to have fun. But if check it out this dance school got like one free week to dance Zouk. They found out that is amazing and this and that. And then he catch them. They are dancing already. So I think that’s what Zouk is kind of missing people to focus on this new people as well and give them the value and teach them and make it easy. Of course look is not easy. And if you compare Zouk, Kizomba, Bachata, Salsa, we have the hardest foundation system.
Terence: I think so man.
Pedrinho Mattos: It is true. When I opened my dance school, I went through that each part in your k looking for the best teacher of each style. So I found the best teacher of Bachata, the best Kizomba in the country. I was like speaking to people recommendation. I was watching videos who want championships, who did what. I literally research all my teachers and is the same problem in every scene. What happens is they go to a bar to dance Kizomba they learn five steps in one session. So do you think a beginner to go to a bar he learns to step. He wants to stay there. So it was a massive impact on my eyes when I saw that. So we need, we need to make Zouk sound easy, we need to make the beginning of Zouk easy for people. We need to make it friendly. Our dance is not friendly. You know, people in first day you go basic over here, then Lateral and throw the woman to one side. You go to the other and then you turn her in and out. And the people like, it’s too complicated. I don’t want to learn that anymore.
Terence: I would say, yeah. I dance Salsa. I think Kizomba you know, and I’m learning Zouk right now. I am struggling with it. Honestly.
Pedrinho Mattos: You’re struggling with it.
Terence: Yeah. I would love to take classes with you. I would love to come to your school.
Pedrinho Mattos: I’m going to be in DC two weeks.
Terence: I used to live near DC. I live in New Orleans now. Is southern. Its south of DC.
Pedrinho Mattos: Why won’t you come over to the DC Zouk Hits?
Terence: I wish I could. I’m a military man so I don’t think I can get away that soon.
Pedrinho Mattos: You should we going to be there for the weekend, it be cool to see you in person.
Terence: I’m going to come to Monday and come to your school. For intermediate people, any many people who want to get to the next of that advanced level, what does it take for them to get to that next level?
Pedrinho Mattos: Intermediate level is always complex because depends where you come from. And B, depending on your goal. So you are dancer and you’re like, I want to get better. I want to be that person on the dance floor that never stops dancing. Everybody loves dancing with me. Or you want to be that intermediate, I just want to enjoy my dance. There’s kind of different goals as well. But the main thing that happens with intermediate and current intermediate is kind of like the travel age. Because they’re like, this beginner’s lesson is too easy for me. This advanced lesson is too hard. Rather than go to the basic, I’m kind going to try to push myself and go to the hard one. But what Intermediate dancer don’t realize is that more gaps you leave behind any information mistakes you have it. For example, If you to start to build a body, to do a head movement comfortably and safe, you’ve got to think of the basis we start with body roll is the first contact with your rib cage moving and then you build up into a motion that it goes up and down the expansion of the chest. So that is a whole build up that as a teacher, I need to consider everybody’s, I need to teach that person to open the rib-cage and close. I can’t just say to that person that’s like go to the side threat the rib-cage and just move around. That’s when kind of intermediate student makes mistakes because they end up missing this information and that they want to jump to a class that is too complex for them. And they kind of left like a year gap of information. So the intermediate should be the one studying the most, they should research, they should look for the different teachers. Why does this teacher use this technique? Why does this one use this one? Like when you’re intermediate you should become like a little Wikipedia kind of thing. You have to gather the information and then when you put it in your body it makes sense. That’s my best tip start to paying attention on every detail as an intermediate. But when I say detail, like, he’s rib-cage in this point is close. Or he’s breathing out, breathing in everything as an intermediate dancer matters and don’t just kind of like go through it. Lots of people like, “I learned new steps. Look, you go up down, then you turn over here and then that’s it”. No break, stop and slow motion for real and I think that’s what it makes you improve and understand with different eyes as well.
Terence: That’s great advice. That makes a lot of sense. I want to ask you this, what is one tip that you can give to someone to make them a better dancer immediately?
Pedrinho Mattos: Immediately any dance. if is it Zouk today it would be for the followers would be stay forward, that is my best tip for a follower is to remember to stay forward. Followers normally get to a habit of kind of like fall backwards into their heels and go away from the partner, so that is my one tip for followers would be stay forward.
Terence: A guess you mean at the waist. Right? They should, they should come forward at the waist. Is that correct?
Pedrinho Mattos: Yeah, come forward from the waist to the feet as well and keep intention forward as well. In Zouk, the followers are constantly, like for example, they finish they turn, they got the left leg in front and they right behind just like that. Lots of girls, they kind of like the stand behind here and like if they stay forward, they kind of put their weight in front and they keep that intention that helps with everything improves them, improve their time, improve the balance so they kind of control that finishing, control that forward step. Make sure you are forward. The lead my best tip for the lead is like adapt to your partner. I don’t think there’s any better tip than that, because that’s the biggest mistake for the leads. They’re like, oh I dance this way. If you can dance with me you can. If not. That’s the biggest mistake leaders make. So my best tip is like make sure you adapt to your partner.
Terence: Yeah. Because if you’re an intermediate lead in your partner’s beginner or you can’t expect her to dance your level. Right?
Pedrinho Mattos: You just described one of the biggest mistakes of the scene. Like people, I’m intimidated but I don’t really want dance with a beginner, I can’t really dance with this person. Because you’re not adapting yourself to the beginner, a beginner doesn’t know what you know. So you need to kind of like take care of them. And the same happens if there is very advanced dancer as well you need to adapt to the partner way or you going to hurt them as well. Lots of people, they’re like, I want to dance with this teacher. And then that pulling and pushing them around like, I adapt to each teacher, everybody in the world, it’s different. You can’t treat every dance you have in your life is unique man. Like I say this to people because I told you about my dance with my wife. I can’t never repeat that dance again in my life, you can’t describe it unique, but it doesn’t have to be always in terms of like connection, love, sexual, that doesn’t have to be that level. Like just treat that person unique. Like if I’m going to dance with a girl, she’s different than anybody else that I’m dancing with. So I can kind of create a standard mode. No I’m going to adapt to that person and make sure that she’s really comfortable about it.
Terence: That’s awesome. Definitely, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
Pedrinho Mattos: I want to thank you for the call and I appreciate that a lot.
Terence: You dropped so much information. I can tell that you’re very passionate about Zouk. It’s awesome. I want to ask you, but I want to keep you too much longer. Tell me some of your upcoming events? Warsaw?
Pedrinho Mattos: Yeah, so tomorrow we flying out to Prague, then come back. Then I have my birthday party in London, so anybody who is around Europe when it’s come stop by. It’s really good party. I tried to give everything I can, but I also I love some really good party. That’s I think classes should never be parties because we dance until the night is out. And then from there then I kind of have a little break with the family. May I kind of like have a one or two events like smaller events and then I’m back and then I’m flying to the US for a weekend. So I’m going to be in the Zouk gate in DC in April, second week of April. And then I fly back to Europe. And then I have like few more events in Europe. It’s just going around, but I tried to kind of do now one event a month only kind of thing. Because I’m focusing on the school a lot in the music career as well. Everything, some kind of like trying to keep one event a month. If friends organizing the event, then they like P come. Then I have to go to friends always. September. Madrid, it’s so much I just can’t even remember them.
Terence: I’m going to be honest, I’m so jealous because you’re traveling and like living your dreams. That is so awesome.
Pedrinho Mattos: You know, what is the best part of you right now is that like my baby’s old enough to enjoy as well. So when I have classes she ready around and she’s dancing around. I can’t wait for her to be like four years old and dancing with me. That’s all I want i life. But is, is really sick. Now we’ve been blessed because everybody we work with are very lovely people. We never really have any trouble as well. Everybody like respect our contract. Everybody respect our prices. Because as I said to you, everything that we work hard for and we build, we have, we have our conditions as well, it’s not easy just to leave your home to just end up somewhere. Like kind of keep everything nice and tidy, so then we can travel with the baby as also kind of having a great time when we travel now, before I used to be like work come back home, work a little bit more now it’s like, oh man, the baby’s coming to Prague now on Thursday they have like an upper park day Zouk on an upper apartment and my baby’s going to be there. So now is kind of like enjoying more each festival in its way.
Terence: That’s awesome. Let the people know, how can people get in contact with you?
Pedrinho Mattos: Anytime you guys around Europe, you can check UKdc.comUK and then there we always offer as free tastes. So if anybody just visiting the country want to just check out the school, just book a free taster. There is the Email as well everything. You can add us on Facebook as well. Pedrinho Mattos, Linda Mottos. We’ve got our page as well PNL, PNL because of the amount of business we are doing and we so busy we take a bit longer on that one so we just rather people messages privately or through the school. But this cool would definitely be the quickest way, you know, because we always there and everything. So UKdc.comUK that usually the way to get in touch with us. You can follow us on Instagram as well PandLDance. So always posting where we around some stories there. Like, I’m going to the gym now. Week night going to the gym.
Terence: I got say this. I wanted to thank you, again for talking to me. I really appreciate it. I love your energy.
Pedrinho Mattos: Alright, I appreciate your call. I appreciate what you’re doing. Everything makes a difference on these days. That’s when you messaged me and that and you’re like, Oh man, I have this idea. I love it. Anything that you can help the dance to grow. Not even the fact that we work with dancers is priceless, but the fact of knowing they already can share some information, some piece of happiness with people. I just want people in the word to be a little bit happier. There’s no price on this smile that we have right now, we just working. Get the money.
Terence: I fucking love you bro. I love it man.
Pedrinho Mattos: Well, thank you so much man for the time and for the honor on being on your show.
Terence: Thank you. You are wonderful guest. April, do me a favor man. I want you to go get a good one call man.
Pedrinho Mattos: Cool, I’m going man. Let me know when everything gos online. So then I’ll tell all the school to check it out your channel and subscribe and everything as well.
Terence: Yeah, that’ll be awesome.
Pedrinho Mattos: I’ll tell that people to go and sign up and support as well. So you can have more interviews and once you have something big going on I will sent you a message. I might get in touch with you. Let’s not hold this for too long, but I have something big happened on the eighth of April, so I might actually message you very soon. So just keep an eye on the message.
Terence: Hey, let me know and enjoy the rest of your day or your night.
Pedrinho Mattos: You have a good day.