Zouk: expressive, versatile, sensual, flow, romantic and smooth.
Brazilian Zouk is a beautiful and sensual partner dance. Having its roots in Lambada, Zouk combines several dance styles and is influenced by other Brazilian and Latin dances such as Samba de Gafieira. Its international popularity comes from the freedom of movements and the great variety of musical styles it may be danced on, including Hip hop and R&B. Zouk Rio style is known for the fluent movements and impressive-looking upper body movements of the lady.
The music and the dance
The word Zouk is Creole for Party. Zouk music has it’s origin ± 100 years ago in the French Caribbean. Like many latin dances zouk dance started as a slave dance, similar as Salsa (Cuban partner-dance), Rumba (Cuban fertility dance), Tango (Argentine partner-dance), Bachata (Dominican partner--dance), Samba de Gafeira and Forro (both Brazilian partner-dances).
Zouk dance as it is danced in the French Caribbean is similar to Merengue, a relaxed partner dance with a 2-step rhythm on a 4-count beat, replacing weight from right-left and vice versa). The Zouk dance as it is danced now all over the world is the Brazilian interpretation of Zouk. When in the early nineties the popularity of Lambada receded, Jaime Aroxa, Brazil most famous Brazilian Ballroom dance-teacher, mixed Lambada dance patterns with patterns of Samba de Gafeira, Bolero and Forro, and slowed down the high BPM of Lambada to a slower count, thus making it easier to learn and more possible to vary steps, moves, patterns and combinations. You can still recognise the sensuality of Lambada in and the basic steps of Samba de Gafeira in (Brazilian) Zouk.
Nowadays dancers still recognize two main streams in Zouk: Lambazouk, with more typical Lambada-moves and a higher rhythm, more or less originated from Porto Seguro (sometimes therefore referred to as Porto Seguro-style), and Rio-style zouk, originated from Rio de Janeiro, with a slower rhythm and more elements from Samba de Gafeira and Bolero.
Lambada was a typical beach dance. It was danced barefoot in beachwear, bikinis, short skirts, capoeira pants, etc. By evolving into Zouk, it became more of a ballroom dance and has thus gained a pathway to international acceptance in countries one wouldn't normally associate with Brazilian dances. As a result, Zouk has become very popular in, for example, Australia, Russia, Czech Republic, Netherlands and even in exotic places like Dubai and Oman.
In Africa and Cabo Verde Zouk took a completely different turn. The same rhythm, but a totally different dance evolved, Kizomba. In the late nineties Brazilian Zouk spread to Europe and contemporary dance elements 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 even Neo-Classical.
Part of the popularity of modern Zouk lies in the freedom that dancers have to add their own interpretations to the movements. It is much less regulated than, for example, Tango or Salsa. 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. In general You can say Zouk is more smooth, versatile, offers more space for expression and contains much more “flow” than any other partner-dance.
We like to welcome you to the wonderful world of Brazilian Zouk, it will change your life!