Zouk is a relatively new dance that evolved from a fusion of other older, familiar dances. When we think of our world as a global village due to the internet and our increased mobility, Zouk is a prime example of what has resulted. It is hard to explain exactly where the dance originated, but one thing that we can say for sure is what it represents. “Zouk” means “party” in Antillean French Creole. While it is danced differently depending on where you are, everywhere it is danced it is a celebration!
Zouk is often compared to Meringue, Tango, or Salsa, most likely for its freedom and flexibility in movement. Its popularity may be attributed to its approachable ease. At Arthur Murray, we teach the basic steps and then allow you to combine your own style of dance to the music. Zouk offers dancers a wide range of exploration and the opportunity to experiment with rhythms. While the number of styles is unsearchable, we focus on the most popular form: the Brazilian-style Zouk.
Zouk’s most obvious distinction from other dances is how close dancers hold each other. Body connection is a central component throughout the dance. The second most distinct characteristic is the chicote, or hair whip that the lady dancer integrates into her moves. It can incorporate body rolls, like in Samba, and hip movements, like in Lambada.
Zouk is known for its fluid, sensual quality. The dance is a two-step, with dancers moving side-to-side to the beat of the music. In the basic step, the leader steps back on his left foot and then quickly on his right, then quickly back to his left as he brings his two feet together. Next, he steps forward on this right foot, followed again by two quick steps on his left and then right foot. The whole time, the woman mirrors his steps.
When performed correctly, Zouk looks effortless, never forced, and in sync. It is continuous and flows without any pauses. Partners communicate movements through breathing, body contact, and feeling the rhythm of the music. The beat is usually simple and slow, so it is appealing to those who might struggle with the difficult and quick beat of Salsa. Brazilian-style Zouk is growing in popularity as a night-club dance. You can dance to a broad combination of music, including Hip-hop, R&B, Reggaeton, and dub step. Once you grasp the rhythm, it is fairly easy to learn most other steps.
The History of Zouk
Zouk music is believed to have origins in the West Indies in the early to mid-1980s. Most likely, “Zouk is the creation of black, Creole-speaking Antillean artists,” as Jocelyn Guilbault wrote in her book Zouk: World Music in the West Indies. As citizens on the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique struggled to form a national identity among the other two islands, Dominica and St. Lucia, they separated themselves by the music they created.
Zouk music started gaining popularity around the same time that Lambada music was fading and the Brazilian dance scene was changing. When Lambada composers quit writing music, Brazilian Lambada dancers started dancing to Zouk music. Thereafter, Zouk Lambada (or modern Zouk) dance was born.
What To Expect From Arthur Murray Studios
Just like no two people speak the same or walk identically, everyone has a different style of dance. At Arthur Murray Dance Studios, we use custom-made tactics to teach every student. Our instructors are the most specially trained and certified dancers, who have practiced dance both professionally and recreationally for years. Our greatest excitement is to meet you and learn about your dancing goals. We know that dancing is about transformation: no matter what level of dance you are when you begin, we promise to help you become a better, more confident dancer. Let go of your inhibitions and move to the rhythms of the music and soul. Our encouraging and passionate instructors will help you accomplish dance and have a blast in the meantime.
Arthur Murray Dance Studios have private and group dance lessons in Southern California. With modern dances like Zouk, we play current pop music during lessons, so that you are ready for social dancing in the night-clubs. We also have our own social dancing events, so we can practice moves in a comfortable, safe, and supportive setting. Our studio wants you to get the most out of your experience with us. The best challenges are the most rewarding, so our dance lessons will offer you more than you expect: health, joy, excitement, friends, and sense of achievement are all free of charge!
How Do We
Zouk is about loosening up. Our instructors at Arthur Murray Dance Studios will teach you how to unlock the upper body to dance with controlled fluidity in your shoulders and spine. At the beginning of the dance, partners sway back and forth together, using hips and body weight to lead rather than communicating direction with the push and pull of their hands. Dancers who have experience dancing other traditional Latin dances can import many moves, techniques, and concepts to the dance. In this way, Zouk is relatively easy to adapt to. For those with little experience dancing, our certified instructors will walk you through each step. Zouk is so fun and modern that it is suitable for anyone with interest in partner dancing. However, you do not need a partner to begin. Our doors are open to everyone with a willing heart and comfortable shoes to let loose and learn something new about their potential to move!
Try Zouk Today!
Zouk is the dance of the twenty-first century. It combines old style dance with new style music that gives partner dancing a refreshing appeal. It is no surprise that its popularity has spread internationally and that different varieties of music have resulted in different styles of the dance to go with it. The most important thing about Zouk is to listen to the ways the music compels you to move. Zouk sees no limits and at Arthur Murray Dance Studios, we are here to take care of you and show you how fun and easy learning dance can be.