Sydney Schiff is a ballet-trained dancer, choreographer, teacher,

and helpless lover of Brazilian Zouk and community building.


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Sydney Schiff is a ballet-trained dancer, choreographer, teacher, and helpless lover of Brazilian Zouk and community building. After graduating from Princeton University and pursuing a career as a freelance contemporary dancer, choreographer, and company director in New York City, she spent two years in Ann Arbor pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Dance at the University of Michigan. At the same time, she taught weekly community and university Zouk classes and DJ’d weekly socials. She began traveling to teach workshops and DJ at weekenders and congresses while at Michigan and upon graduating in April 2018, she embarked on a year-long tour throughout North America, Europe, and Brazil to teach and study Brazilian Zouk. She is currently in the Advanced Division for Brazilian Zouk Dance Council Jack and Jill Competitions, placed 1st in the Intermediate Division at Canada International Dance Convention, L.A. Zouk Festival, DC Zouk Festival, and DCBX, and is a certified judge for BZDC registered competitions.


She moved to Chicago in June 2019 where she began teaching weekly Zouk classes, developing her repertory as a solo zouk performer, directed a co-ed zouk performance team at Latin Street Music and Dancing, and most recently became the director of Evolución Latina Dance Company’s first ladies Zouk performance team, all while maintaining a busy travel schedule. In October 2019 she began hosting and DJing Newport Zouk!, a program of twice-monthly classes and socials at The Newport Theater. 


In March 2020, she began teaching daily online solo-training classes to help keep the world dancing during a surreal global health crisis. When it is safe to do so, she will resume in-person programming and expand into weekly leveled classes as part of Newport Zouk University while continuing to offer online classes for the students who have been tuning in from around the world.


Sydney draws on her diverse background in social dancing, somatic practices, and three decades of classical ballet and contemporary dance to train the complete body, inspire endless creativity, and facilitate safe and pain-free connection and communication. She prepares progressive exercises and strives to maintain constant motion in her classes, empowering students to tap into their creativity and joy of motion. In addition to teaching Brazilian Zouk, she teaches Fusion workshops that focus on building skills applicable to all social dance forms as well as expanding students’ toolkits with elements from Brazilian Zouk. 

Want to keep track of the #ZoukGnome? Follow @sydney.zouks on Instagram and Facebook and stay tuned for adventures, news, and event updates!