Live your Dance and Dance your Life

Philippe and Flore

 

Coming from two different backgrounds :

Philippe comes from the competition world and Flore from the world of social dancing (Boogie-Woogie, Swing, Salsa, West Coast Swing,...), which adds a lot of flow and style to their dancestyle. 

 

In 2013, they set their newest challenge: share their passion with the world and move to Montreal , Canada.

Today, they are emerging West Coast Swing champions, and they are really excited to share their passion with everyone over the world.

Flore Merlier-Berne

 

 

Flore Berne: "Trust in yourself. »

 

 

Flore started out as an athlete at a very young age and competed nationally gymnastics competitions. 

As a kid, you could find Flore organizing her friends into dance routines anytime they got together.

When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said, "A dancer!"

Her passion for dancing grew and she trained in Jazz, Rock'n Roll, Salsa, Ballroom, Latin, Lindy-Hop, Boogie-Woogie, West Coast Swing.

Flore said "I fell in love with couple dancing, because I love the things you can share with people without talking. Everything is about the connection." Flore couldn't decide which dance she loved the most, though. She managed to dance all of them actively, and she excelled in them. "I want to do everything, try everything, be everything," Flore said.

 

In 2007, she joined the 'Feeling Dance Show', one of the most prestigious partner dance companies in Paris, and this is where her career as a dance professional in Boogie Woogie began.

Her national breakthrough was the victory of a major French Dance TV Show with her Boogie partner Yann-Alrick Mortreuil in 2011, which led to major international showcases and starring in different movies and music videos.

Then she discovered West Coast Swing, which offered what she loved about dancing: It was a marriage between the character performance in Latin and the playfulness of swing and Lindy.

You get powerful, sexy, jazzy… and you get play. And you can dance to all styles of music. It's versatile in a way that most styles can't be, as some styles are attached to one kind of music. "You can be so many different characters!" Flore observed. "It was hard to dance different characters in the beginning but then I learned that it wasn't me, I was just playing someone. When you get that, it's amazing, you can suddenly be everything! And you can be who you are at the same time."

This spirit of "you can be anyone" is the spirit Flore gives to her students. It's why she loves to teach. "I want to help you trust in yourself, trust more in your body." She knows that it can be hard to break out of your shell and not be afraid, especially for female followers. "I love when I see dancers become 'who they are.'"

She especially values working with students over an extended period of time. "I love it when I can coach someone and help them work on the things they are shy about. I like to study my students and help them grow. »

 

Philippe Berne

 

Philippe Berne : « In West Coast Swing, the constant is the connection »

Philippe and his sister Emmanuelle Berne, wanted to dance after seeing Mary Poppins. They were enrolled in tap dance classes and the journey with dance began!

 He did tap and ballroom, in his very early ages in Germany. 

Tap, figure skating, martial arts, jazz, musical theatre, ballroom, west coast swing, Philippe has a technical background in all of these dances and a commitment to precision, to clean lines, to musicality that runs deep throughout childhood and his young adult years.

Starting his professional life as a successful engineer, he decided to stop this path and dedicate himself to his real passion: dance. 

It led to him turning professional ballroom dancer at age twenty-five. During that career, he began to partner with Flore when they were both looking for new partners in their different dance styles. 

Ballroom was their primary dance until they chose to focus on west coast swing. (Their last competition in ballroom was the World Championship in 2016, October)

When Philippe talks about West Coast Swing:

 « In west coast, the constant is the connection. The music is always different and you have the freedom to do what you want and be connected to another person at the same time."

It also fit Philippe's engineering-like approach to dance. "In west coast swing, you have this strong technical guideline. You also have freedom in the overarching technique. It's why we do routines because I like having perfection in my dancing, to work to do things the best way they can be done. »

Philippe describes his teaching style as, "excited and animated! We don't usually teach a lot of fancy moves. It's more about how to find your own moves, how to use technique better," he said. "It's about the fundamentals." He also acknowledges that a common theme in his teaching has come from Flore. "Don't be afraid to be yourself! Workshops help you practice believing in yourself. No matter what level you are, you can sell your thing!"