What is Zouk?
Brazilian Zouk has captured the hearts of many people around the world and has recently started being called "the dance of love". With its strong, flowing movements, zouk attracts people who are generally strong and grounded, and looking for a dance that emphasizes interdependent partner interaction to create .
Also known as "Zouk-Lambada", Brazilian Zouk is a sensual partner dance with origins in Lambada (aka "the Forbidden Dance") and danced to "Zouk" rhythms made popular in the French Caribbean. These days the dance has developed deeply with influences in classical dance, street dance and other partnered styles (Forro, Samba, Salsa, etc.). The music that we dance to has also evolved with the introduction of various genres of music (i.e. hip hop, R&B, pop) that have similar rhythmic structures and/or a danceable lyrical component.
In our featured video below, Kaysha is a famous Zouk artist and the dancers are dancing Brazilian
Zouk is known best for flowing motion and upper body movement (i.e. body waves), giving rise to the woman’s dramatic “hair flicks”. The dance is close with an intimate partner connection. Dancers often deviate from the general rhythm to allow for musical interpretation. The pace of the dance is generally slow and smooth.
The result is that it is beautiful to watch, and extremely fun to dance.
Check out Facebook videos of dancers from our Toronto community!
More History & Additional Resources
What's in a name?
The name "Zouk" can be confusing as it can also refer to this French Caribbean partner dancing (clip). The music that they are dancing to in this clip is a sub-genre known as "Zouklove" and the dance is called "Zouk". Zouk can also refer to current-day Lambada which originates from Porto Seguro (clip). The style of zouk that we teach (and refer to) originates from Rio de Janeiro (clip).
The differences between the Porto Seguro and Rio de Janeiro "styles" may seem subtle to new dancers, but the dance structure, aesthetic, and musical choice of each are very different. To add to the confusion, Rio de Janeiro Zouk is often referred to as "Zouklove" also. If we were to be pedantic, we would say that we teach Rio-style Brazilian Zouk. But instead we've chosen to just call it Zouk!
In Toronto most dancers dance the style of Zouk that we teach, so you don't have to worry about running into someone that you can't dance with. However, if you go abroad you will have to do a little research.
Included below are links to interesting websites and videos on the origins of Zouk:
"What is Brazilian Zouk?" (article)
- The author is Kim Rottier. She is a major influence (teaching and dancing) of Zouk in North America.
- The article is excellent and is written in the structure of an academic paper.
- It is highly recommended!
"Featured Zouk Artists" (Audio)
- This is our personal collection of zouk artists. We also have included pop, R&B and hip hop artists that we often dance to.
"The History of Zouk & Lambada" (video)
- The producer is a well-known zouk dancer & DJ, Israel Szerman
- Focuses on bands and cultures that were essential in the evolution of Lambada into Zouk
- The interviewer, Eduardo Filizziola, is the founder of Banda Aíxa (you can find samples of his music under Jan 1, 2013 in our Featured Zouk Artists page). Loalwa Braz is the lead singer of Kaoma (clip).
- This interview is about Loalwa Braz's take on the fading out of Lambada and the rise of Zouk
"Lambada & History of the Dance" (article)
- The author is Berg Dias, a famous lambada (and now Zouk) dancer. He represents what is commonly known as the "Porto Seguro" style of zouk and feels that the lambada is the essence of Zouk. His opinion is shared by many other dancers in the Brazilian zouk community.
- This article explains Lambada's influences during the 1980s