Brazilian Zouk is a dance that developed from the Brazilian dance Lambada in the early nineties. Although it has roots in the Lambada, it contains many influences from other dances, such as Salsa, Tango, Samba de Gafieira, Rumba and Forró. The dance is now combined with a variety of music, including Caribbean Zouk music, which is how the dance came to be known as Zouk.
Many people remember lambada by the film “The Forbidden Dance”, or the hit song “Lambada” by Kaoma in 1989. Lambada’s success, widespread as it was, lasted only about five years. By the mid 90’s lambada musicians were few and far between and the majority of the lambada dancers had lost their inspiration. Some dancers sought to continue the lambada style and began experimenting dancing lambada to the Caribbean music influence of Zouk. This fusion was highly appealing and eventually lead to the widespread Brazilian zouk dance style that can be seen today.
The word 'zouk' quite appropriately means 'partying'. In the late nineties Zouk has spread to Europe where contemporary dance themes were added. It also became popular to remix other styles of music with the Zouk beat. Nowadays Zouk is danced on a great variety music styles, including Hip Hop, R&B, Lounge, Kizomba and Neo-Classical.
Part of the popularity of Zouk lies in the freedom that dancers have to add their own interpretations to the movements. This resulted in the development of several distinct Zouk styles, which can be primarily differentiated by their music, but also by the moves, ways of leading and general dynamic. For instance, Rio-style usually uses slower music like Zouk Love, while Porto Seguro style is closer to the original Lambada and uses faster rythms.
Brazilian Zouk dancing has spread around the world. Whilst Brazil is still home to Zouk, it also has become popular in many other countries, such as Australia, Netherlands, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic and Russia.