Today in our interview section, where we meet the artists who make this great world of dance bigger, we interview Leo Zunda.
As our mission is to improve people's lives through dance and help them find where to go dancing wherever they are, we take the opportunity to learn more about your story.
So, let's get started!
Hey, Leo, could you tell us who you are? When did you start dancing? and why?
My name is Leonardo David Zunda I am an actor and professional dancer, born in Argentina and I am 33 years old.
Although I started dancing salsa at 16, my first steps were when I was 6 years old with Argentine folklore. When I turned 14 I started working in a public relations club and I was already cheering from the stage to the public of those parties.
One day when I was 17 years old, I made a great decision when I decided what I really liked and was doing well. I decided that I would dedicate myself to dance because at the time I was dedicated to computer science.
At the age of 19, I became freelance and combined work with travel to Buenos Aires, to study the teaching of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and there I met my master referent.
We would love to know a little more about your beginnings with dancing
My beginnings with dancing were just for fun.
When I studied I had many teachers, but everything changes when I meet my teacher Pablo Padrón, from whom I learn, observe, admire and discover the weight and price of talent, passion and effort.
Your reference and support is what drives me to come to Barcelona at the age of 21. At that age it was all an adventure and a lot of curiosity.
Within a week of arriving, I saw the MTV Shakedown 2004 advertisement looking for street dance talent from all over Europe, the casting was held in the old "Baja Beach" where everyone from the hip hop and break dance world of Barcelona and surroundings was. To my surprise, I was among the best 15 of 3000 participants from all over Europe and from Spain we were only 3. We traveled to London and danced for MTV, with Wade Robson among other greats.
Then I returned to Barcelona and started working in "Open Dance" which later became what you will know as the current "Seven Dance".
It was a very good time where I learned a lot, met beautiful people, passed through many discos, bars, lounges, gymnasiums and, of course, worked very hard to earn my place.
At the same time I was offered a play called "Relax". And so I decided to start studying theatre. First in Nancy Tuñón and Jordi Oliver, Candela Peña's school, among others. And then, Nancy proposed to me the idea of doing the musical comedy career in "Coco Comín" where I validated theater and some dances and joined immediately.
Two and a half years later, thanks to my students, I opened my own school Leo Zunda Escuela de Baile, with the purpose of doing things in my own way, gathering what I learned and embodying my vision and philosophy of art.
From that moment on I did many things. I started studying film. I continued with the performance for 4 more years. I brought and coordinated 3 groups of pupils to Turkey and Finland funded by the European Union's culture. I choreographed festivals and worked for 2 singers, 1 jazz and 1 pop. I also shot 2 films and several short films.
Currently I work on the Telefónica campus, as an actor in the company of Brian Mc Carthy, I am the energizer of NH Hoteles, I train teachers, students, and amuse people by teaching and learning in my dance school.
Today I can say that I live from what I love, from my vocation.
Tell us some funny anecdote you've been living since you danced
There are all kinds of them in more than 15 years of experience. But I remember one day I was turning my dance partner into a show where the stage had a flaw that caused us to get too close to the edge.
The dancer almost ended up on top of the audience but after a quick and improvised movement I was able to rescue her in the air, incorporate us with professionalism, continue dancing and finish the choreography with success. We still laugh today, remembering people's faces.
We have to surprise the audience, even if it's pulling the dancer from the stage "hahahaha.
I am very lucky because I have danced and worked with almost the same team for 12 years and of course, we have many stories to tell all of us.
On one occasion I blindfolded a dancer to make an impromptu show at a festival in Sweden. In another one I improvised a flamenco show for a mayor at a private party in Turkey (previously there were some shots but we did it!).
And the list goes on...
What does dancing bring to you? and why do you think people should sign up to dance?
Dancing brings us a lot more than just physical exercise.
For me it is a way to gain awareness of communication and its complexity, it is a way to stimulate movement and generate positive energy to share it with people.
Dancing is my life, and I consider it to be the perfect expression of universal language.
"Dancing makes us better."
In fact, I constantly wonder how is it that not everyone dances, and surely it will be because they don't know what they are missing.
So I share your vision. We must spread the benefits of dancing all over the world.
What is your greatest virtue and your "worst" defect?
I believe my greatest virtue can be defined as my worst flaw. I am an anarchist and capricious to do only what I like and feel.
In that sense, I feel like an artist who is quite arrabalero, I am faithful to myself, to what moves me and is becoming more and more accentuated.
Sometimes this aspect limits the opportunity to people who want to get closer and get to know me a little more, but I can only say... cheer up, I am nice! (jajajaj)
If you had to say what you like best about your life as an artist, what would it be? And what do you like least?
I love my life, it has cost me so much to have what I have, that I like every single thing I have achieved and at this point, what I don't like I change or avoid.
What is the style of dance you are most comfortable with? why?
I think any dancer would tell you free style, especially anarchists who don't like "copying, or the form without content" like me, but I think I'm more inclined to "Salsa New York Style".
Tell us what you do and what you offer in your school Leo Zunda Dance School
At my dance school, you pay for a course and you have three hours a week. You can do your salsa class, bachata, mambo, style... we give you a bonus to make another hour more of the same level or less and, in addition all have included a weekly technical class. 3 classes at the price of 1.
Our idea is to give more without charging less, making the service cheaper and at the same time more effective.
We charge tuition fees, so we subsidize the end-of-year dance festival in a professional theatre in Barcelona. And I can say that we have built a healthy and close environment, where the student values the teacher and the teacher values the student.
We currently have salsa, mambo, bachata, kizomba, ballroom dancing, style, Fun Dance, Full Body, classical ballet, jazz and hip hop. Coming soon also flamenco, contemporary and my exclusive Salsa-Teatro.
What projects do you do for the students of the school?
In addition to the training, we organize dinners with the students, participate in weekends, organize parties and our annual festival. This year like last year, at the Teatro Regina.
In short, we build together, as much as we can.
Tell us what you think the future of the dance world will be like at local, national and international levels.
I'm enthusiastic and I think everything will get better.
Things fall by their own weight, we all find our place, the place we earn, the place we deserve, the place that touches and where everyone finds their shape, their space, their authenticity and, in short, their art.
Authentic dance is becoming more and more fashionable and we will certainly grow with it.
Thank you very much Leo Zunda for your time, so far today's interview and we wish you the best in the future.
PD1: If you liked sharing it
PD2: If you are a student of Leo Zunda add your assessment of his dance school here.
PS3: Soon Leo Zunda will participate in the 1st anniversary of go&dance.