Joao Maio enters the studio blessing the sun for being out and shining today, ‘I must play my Brazilian playlist’- he says as the sunlight brings his Latin character out. Originally from Porto, in north Portugal, Joao moved to Leeds six years ago to complete both a degree and masters at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. A strong member of the local dance community, Joao is also currently touring MK Ultra, the latest piece of Rosie Kay Dance Company.
His class starts in the floor, nice and easy, to help the body wake up into smoothness. Then he introduces a pattern which keeps evolving through every crossing of the space. Once we are warm and half way through the session, Joao lets the word ‘cardio’ slip out of his lips. I can smell the panic in the room as my survival instinct is begging for me to run out and save myself. Anticipating people´s reaction to the feared word, Joao plays the element of togetherness strategically, singing loudly the benefits of the everlasting ‘Together we’re stronger’ hymn. Ten minutes later, all covered in sweet sweat, the looks of panic have transformed into looks of pride.
We then jump into a conventional plié exercise which works in the side body whilst allowing us to get our breath back.
Bringing the session to its end, we work on a sequence which challenges the sense of rhythm as it blends together two different time signatures. The material is also a fusion, orbiting between animal inspired moves and a sort of west end resembling style.
Joao Maio hosts a well balanced class which mixes fitness and technique. A fantastic kick off to start the day with energy and with a smile, always with a smile!
By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch
-You can still catch his class Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at RJC Dance from 9.30 to 11.00-