Updated: Sep 18
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL ZOUK WEEK 🥳🎉✨🕺💃
Yes – so we are making it a Week of Zouk! 🤩 This Saturday 19th September is actually 'International Zouk Day', which initially kicked off in 2012 as the International Zouk Flashmob and grew and grew from there!
So....although, sadly, we can’t go ahead with our usual International Zouk Day weekend celebrations this year, we don’t want to let the date go by without marking it in some way. So we’d love to share a few posts over the next few days to celebrate Brazilian Zouk and to commemorate in a small way the evolution of International Zouk Day. If you'd like to check out how the IZD came about, you can read more about it on the official International Zouk Day website here.
& Here's a little bit about Brazilian Zouk and its history (informally):
Brazilian Zouk is a super versatile style of partner dance which originally evolved from a Brazilian dance called Lambada, which was hugely popular in the '80s. Because of its movements & closeness, and the super short skirts of the ladies 😉, it was sometimes called the forbidden dance... annnd there's actually a movie that came out in 1990 called 'The Forbidden Dance', which was pretty popular too. Also the song - 'La Lambada' by Kaoma… daa, da da da daa, da da da da da da da da daaa… (for those of you game enough to sing it! Lol 😉 )
Anyway, in the 90’s the Lambada music started to wane in popularity as well as the dance somewhat as it was a fast dance style with many challenging body movements, which made it harder for people of all ages to learn. In the mid 90’s Brazilians discovered the rhythm Zouk from the French Caribbean which had many similarities with Lambada music due to Lambada music having many influences from the Caribbean rhythms.
The Lambada lovers so had an opportunity to continue dancing their beloved dance style. In Rio de Janeiro there were many Lambada dancers who wanted to continue dancing the style and soon the Lambada dance started to adapt to the Zouk music. However the Zouk music was slower than the Lambada, so it was necessary to make alterations to the dance including to it’s basic steps.
This transformation happened in many states in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, Jaime Aroxa, Renata Peçanha and Adilio Porto at Jaime Aroxa Dance School realised that in class it was difficult to teach the Lambada basics on the spot, and with the influence of other Brazilian dance styles such as Samba de Gafieira they modified the basics from being on the spot to travel forward and backwards. The linear Salsa also influenced them to create other movements like “Lateral” and “Bonus”, because the Lambada movements were all circular. These changes helped students to learn easily. Following that other movements came up such as “Raul” and “Bonus”, which gave origin to our popular basic kit.
There were also many teachers and students at Jaime Aroxa school who contributed to the development of this dance style. With this support they were able to spread this new teaching methodology to other schools, other cities and also around the world. In other states such as Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, the transformation of Lambada to Brazilian Zouk originated in different ways creating different styles of Brazilian Zouk. Because this dance evolved from a Brazilian dance Lambada, it is a Brazilian dance. It is not because the name is not Brazilian that the dance will not be from Brazil. All Zouk professionals then decided to call this dance style Brazilian Zouk (Zouk Brasileiro), with the objective to protect their own culture and also with the objective not to interfere with different culture’s interpretations of Zouk. [Info Source: Brazilian Zouk Council]
Over the last approx 30 years, Brazilian Zouk has continued evolving and borrows movements from other styles such as gafieira, tango, R&B, and even contemporary dance and jazz, and can be danced to a huge and wonderful range of music.
And... to take us out of today's post here is an enjoyable video of Kaoma's record selling single "Lambada", so feel free to join in... !
Stay tuned for more Brazilian Zouk and International Zouk Day inspiration ❤️💃🕺