By Lindenberg Junior

The Brazilian Vanessa Isaac, a native of Anápolis, Goiás, at age 17 entered college to study journalism and during that time also began to engage with dramatic arts.  At this time she started taking dance classes to help her keeping in balanced. It was the first time that she made the link between mind and body, intent and action. For Vanessa it is no surprise that physical exercise has been proved to be a natural medicine to help or cure depression, relieve stress, and maintains you in shape. She became fascinated with many styles of dance including Brazilian popular dances, Hip-Hop, West African, Afro-Brazilian, Salsa and Modern.

At 21 and fresh out from college, she contemplated moving to New York or London, but on the advice of a neighbor who had once lived in Santa Barbara, moved to the California Riviera and found a ripe, supportive home. With a few months she met the bassist Randy Tico, a pillar of the music scene since the 70’s, who became her partner in art and in marriage. She was hired as a dance fitness instructor at a health club and got a great response for her dance fitness approach.

After that she felt the necessity and opportunity to introduce a bit about the Brazilian culture in her new home, began teaching dance class in a few studios, got involved in theater productions at Santa Barbara City College and the Ensemble Theatre Company, and with her husband years later developed the project known as “Hip Brazil”.

Husband and wife formed the company Hip Enterprises, which support the Hip Brazil Production Company, Hip Brazil Dance Company and the Hip Brazil Band. The band brings world class musicians and has played several times in recognized clubs of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles during the last years. Tico and Vanessa are now in pre-production for her first album and plan to tour in 2007/08. The Dance Company has brought Vanessa and a troupe of dancers to the center stage of the famous Lobero Theatre and Victoria Hall, as well to the streets of the beautiful and traditional Summer Solstice celebration in Santa Barbara. In 2003 Hip Brazil created the “Hip Brazilian Workout” video, the energetic percussive steps combined with sensual samba moves that quickly becoming a hit worldwide.

Last year they came with “Samba Party Workout 1” (Brazilian Rhythm Celebration), which Katia Moraes commented, “this production is a jewel in the dance instruction market in the U.S. For years people asked me if I knew of any video like this. Here it is! Randy Tico and Vanessa Isaac, producers and also a married couple, did a great job. This is a professional workout presentation that also offers a cultural overview with a bonus feature called About Samba”. And beginning 2006, Hip Brazil continued the series with Samba Party Workout 2 (Brazilian “Carnaval” Grooves), an invite to join a cardio and revitalizing workout, carnaval style.

Vanessa says “I would ask my students why they “sticked” with Brazilian Dance? Almost everyone would answer me without a beat: because it’s fun, it makes me happy and because it works in many levels! I tend not to separate fitness, health and art. That’s what dance fitness is about for me. You can get your workout and learn something new. For me dance fitness attracts people that love life and have a real holistic approach to it!” The singer, dancer and choreographer, hope that their students will abandon themselves to the music and allow themselves to move in their own way, with joy and happiness. For her, dancing is about feeling joy, about giving and receiving. If you get up and move your body to your own rhythm, you will get a great workout and have fun at the same time. – http://www.vanessaisaac.com/

* This article was originally written and published in 2009.

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