Zouk in Zurich

Zouk came to Zurich around 2006, it has since steadily grown into one of the stable social dances the Zurich scene enjoys. Currently there are 5 active dance schools teaching Zouk, and 1-2 dancing events every week! 

DanceZouk.ch is a school founded by Eric Fehr in 2014. Some of the things that set DanceZouk apart are a great location since 2018, 1 minute walk from Central station, and a teaching methodology focused on solid technique. Our students learn in small groups, providing a more individual learning experience.

So far zouk hasn't been discovered by the large masses and is growing mostly by word of mouth, almost entirely ignored by the media. This has created a rather unique scene that is warm and friendly, welcoming all newcomers. Many zoukers (zouk dancers) actively travel around the world to meet other dancers and to practice their skills!

Zouk's origins

Brazilian zouk is a partner dance originating from Brazil. Also known as zouk-lambada, the dance is a descendant of lambada, the music & dance style that swept over the world like a storm in the late 1980's. But the origins are even deeper in the past, in the dance Carimbò, which developed around the 15th century out of the mix of African, Portuguese and Native American cultures and dances.


Zouk offers a wide variety of music, full-body communication and movement, a space to express all your emotions without words.

 

Brazilian zouk is characterized by the dancers’ undulating bodies and the girls' flowing hair. Depending on the style of Brazilian zouk, you can see a close connection embrace and long graceful steps, strong hip movements, body isolations and upper-body torsions, wild spins and whip-like head movements. While the dance is often called sensual, it is not sexual nor erotic. It is danced by people of all ages in night clubs, dance schools and events around the world!

 

Like many dance styles, Brazilian zouk is ever evolving. There are a few different lines or styles of Brazilian zouk, the main four derivations at the moment (April 2015) being 'lambazouk', 'traditional zouk', 'neo zouk' and 'Mzouk'.

Lambazouk (or zouk-lambada or Porto Seguro style, lambada to zouk music) has the closest connection to lambada. Lambazouk dancers use 1-2-3 (or quick-quick-slow) rhythm and dance to a more upbeat music.

 

The dance incorporates the accents of the music with hip movements, deep dips, whip-like head movements and fast turns. Exchanging partners mid-song, leading with only visual contact and strong positive energy are typical for lambazouk.

Rio style zouk (sometimes called traditional zouk, but this is conflicting with the caribbean dance) is a more sensual, romantic and dramatic style of Brazilian zouk. The dancers use the slow-quick-quick rhythm, marking ‘tum’ beat in the zouk music.

 

It is common to not use only the rhythm but also the pauses, melody and lyrics in the dance as well as utilize different dynamics in the timing. Moves such as body rolls and extensions are typical as well as movements influenced by jazz, ballet and contemporary dance.

Neo zouk is a highly diverse group that sums up the latest variants of Brazilian zouk. This includes styles influenced by hiphop, street dance, belly dancing, contemporary dance, modern dance and salsa, among others.

 

The timing is based on slow-quick-quick rhythm or contratempo. There can be long breaks in the footwork, with dancers staying on the spot, using only body movements, torsions and counterbalance to paint a picture of the music.

 Mzouk invented by Gêgê had no external influences during its creation and is hence a branch of zouk quite different from other styles or lines. Characteristic differences are first of all the use of the step "y" (basically a weight shift) that allows for a change in the basic movement schemes. Second, the tronco movement, a circular head movement, where the upper body is bending from the lower back instead of from the chest as it is done in rio style and neo zouk. Third is the use of spiral movements, which have been emphazised a lot by Daniel & Leticia Estevez, the main promoters of Mzouk and the founders of the SpiralDance Company.

In addition and within these four styles many professional zouk dancers have created and named their own derivations of zouk, such as Flow zouk, Soul zouk and Vero zouk. Some of those styles that are newer among zouk can be considered to belong to the Neo zouk category, some could be considered yet another category of their own. There is a constant discussion on how and if zouk should be categorized. The basic idea though is that all styles follow the same fundamental concepts that are shared throughout Brazilian zouk. It is surely the desire of all us zouk dancers to be able to dance with one another irrespective of the ‘label’ of zouk one may fall under.

The Music

The word zouk, among other things, also refers to a style of music, originating from the French Antilles. 'Zouk' actually means ‘party’ or ‘festival’ in Antillean Creole. Still today dancers of Brazilian zouk use zouk music, which is not made only in the Caribbean nowadays but around the world. In addition to zouk music - and ever increasingly, many other different types of music are played for dancing Brazilian zouk: kizomba and semba music, latin and oriental music, reggaeton, R'n'B, hiphop, dubstep, as well as all kinds of pop music. There are many active DJs remixing hit tracks and layering them with a zouk beat, catering to all tastes and styles of zouk danced around the globe. The variety of music makes Brazilian zouk dynamic and constantly evolving.

Here is a Spotify playlist of Zouk dance music: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/15CCiqIZzzYZN7yCjSpSdS?