Zouk-Lambada (also called Lambada-Zouk or Brazilian Zouk) is a group of closely related dance styles based on or evolved from the lambada dance style and is typically danced to zouk music or other music containing the zouk beat. The name Brazilian Zouk is used to distinguish the dance from the Caribbean Zouk dance style, which is historically related to, but very different from the Lambada dance style. The two dominant styles of Zouk-Lambada are the Porto-Seguro style and the Rio-style. The word Lambazouk is often used to refer exclusively to one or the other style depending on the region. The word Lambazouk was originally used to refer to the dance style developed by Daniel and Leticia Estévez López, although they use the term M-zouk nowadays (for Mallorca-zouk) The Zouk-Lambada dancing styles are among the most popular non-ballroom dances for couples in Brazil, others being Forró, Lambada, Samba de gafieira and Salsa.
In September 2012, the dance became an official dance at the UKA because of the book 'LambaZouk - The Technique Book' written by Claudia de Vries and Patricia Rezende. In the book all different styles of the dance are mentioned, but the head name is called 'LambaZouk'. However, this name is not in any way connected to a specific style of the dance (for instance the Porto Seguro style, or the style that was once developed by Daniel and Leticia). It is merely a shortening of Lambada (the dance where all the styles are originated from) and Zouk (the music that is most danced on).
In January 2013, what could be considered the first feature documentary about Brazilian (Lamba)Zouk: 'Dance of Love', won the Special Jury Award at the California Film Awards Festival. The movie portrays four people dedicating their lives to the dance, namely Gilson Damasco, Cláudio Gomes, Shannon Hunzicker and Kwok One.
Rio-style Zouk (also called Carioca Lambada meaning Rio-style Lambada), was first developed in Rio de Janeiro. It is mainly danced in Brazil (Rio and Brasilia), Australia, The Netherlands, Spain and several other European countries to a lesser extent. The dance style has also spread and continues to grow in Asia. It uses a modified, slower, smoother, even more sensual version of the lambada and is typically danced on Zouk-love style music. In the Netherlands this dance style goes under the name of zouk-love.
The Brazilian zouk dance style was first developed in the Ilha Dos Pescadores in Rio de Janeiro around the mid 90's when Lambada songs stopped being composed. Today Brazilian zouk is also danced on Latin pop, Arabic and other music styles mixed with a Zouk music beat.
Unlike salsa, which is led with the hands; Brazilian zouk is led by more parts of the body. Sometimes, in a basic sideways movement, it is the hips that move first, followed by the rest of the body, and this is part of what makes the dance so sensual. However, in various moves the dance partners are also connected by eye contact, legs, arms, shoulders, head, etc.
When practicing zouk in dance classes, teachers generally warn women to be very careful with their backs and necks, as two of the most distinctive and commented-on movements are the cambré (arching backwards to a greater or lesser degree, sometimes even below the waist) and the specific 'hair movements' or ' head movements' for the woman. If not done properly this could lead to injury.
As of today Brazilian zouk is becoming well known and apart from the faster original style Lambada (Porto Seguro style) and the latter development Brazilian zouk, some people distinguish other substyles of like Soulzouk, NeoZouk, LatinZouk, MZouk and Zouk-Revolution. Whether these are truly separate styles or just individual ways of dancing is, however, still a point of debate.
The most widespread style of Lambada-Zouk is the Porto Seguro-style and is often thought of as the evolution of original Lambada, although in its current iteration it has divulged far from original Lambada. This dance is characterized by high energy (energia) and feel good attitude (alegria). Although it is a fast and energetic dance, it flows smoothly and the moves are continuous and rhythmic, and dancers follow circular (and to a lesser extent slot-style) movements as they relate to each other. One way in which the present Porto-Seguro style differs from the original Kaoma-like Lambada style, is that the they have removed wiggling shoulder movements (also sometimes seen in Cuban-style salsa). Instead the shoulders are kept fixed while the hips move (swing) to create a sensual effect. A number of movements have been added to the modern version of this dance (many created by Didi Santos of Brazil). Porto Seguro style is so prominent in LambaZouk that the two are often considered synonymous, not to mention, even the most celebrated Porto Seguro dancers call themselves LambaZouk dancers.
LambaZouk is characterized by the following movements:
- Head movements (Cabesa - head moves in the same direction as shoulder; Boneka - Head moves in the reverse direction as shoulder for half measure (1-2-3))
- (Hair) whip movement (Chicote)
- Back arch/dip (Cambre)
The original Porto Seguro style is also unique in the way steps are performed to music (in this sense it is closer to Lambada). Here, the steps are performed with equal emphasis (same amount of travel) on strong beat and the two beats that follow (including the pause after the strong beat). This is done specifically to facilitate musicality by matching sharp movements (Chicote and Cambre) with the strong beat. When danced this way dancers fluently incorporate sharp movements to accentuate strong beat without stopping the dance (pausing to catch up). Even though this timing is popular in LambaZouk it is by no means exclusive. Many LambaZouk dancers also dance by taking longer step (or turning the follower) on the dominant beat (like Rio style). It is also a common practice to switch between the two timings within the same song (by doing multiple contra-tempo turns for the follower). For comparison on timing, Rio-style zouk emphasizes strong beat by having dancers take a long step on the strong beat. In LambaZouk style (as explained earlier) a popular way is to step equally (length-wise) on strong beat and following two beats. This creates continuous movements.
LambaZouk is danced to rhythmic, up-tempo music (tempo is generally fast or medium, rarely slow), whereas Rio style zouk is more suitable for slow tempo music (often with long pauses). Kizomba music is very popular in LambaZouk owing to its rhythm and pace. Because the music faster, and head movements are more sophisticated and done more often, dancing LambaZouk requires better technique and timing in order to perform head movements without injuries.
LambaZouk is mainly danced in Porto Seguro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Argentina, Spain, Israel, UK, the west coast of the US, Israel, Japan & recently also in Malaysia. LambaZouk is also evolving to include more modern movements. It is also not uncommon (lately) for dancers to switch fluently between these dancing styles during a single Zouk music song.
Other styles sometimes distinguished in Zouk-Lambada
As mentioned above, several new styles can be distinguished, although they are seen as simply personal styles and interpretations by some. Nevertheless, some examples are:
One version of Brazilian Zouk, called Mzouk was created in Palma (Spain), by fusion of the Brazilian Zouk and the Lambada, and has also influences of the Spanish Rumba. The technique was created by Jefferson Costa of Oliveira (also known as Gêgê), Rio de Janeiro, who is resident in Mallorca since 1991. The term Mzouk was created there. Jefferson decided to experiment on 6 dancers. They studied the adequate way of the position of the body and established adequate exercises to in make Mzouk a safe dance. After seven years the six dancers became the teachers of the new dance Mzouk. Two of the professors are Daniel and Leticia Estévez López that since 1998 are carrying out the work of diffusing the Mzouk in different environments.
In the year 2000, Jefferson Costa along with his six teachers founded the Association Mzouk of Mallorca which was registered with the Government as a cultural association with the aim to spread Mzouk by means of contests, seminars, and congresses.
Soulzouk was developed in 2005 by China a teacher from Rio, Brazil. Soulzouk, (also called "zouk freestyle" by the inventor) differs according to China from Brazilian zouk in the way it connects with the music.
The Soulzouk dance style is, just like Brazilian zouk, not only based on the pace, but also on the melody of the song. It can be danced to zouk music, but it is also taught to be danced with a variety of other musical genres, like rap or RnB, that don't have the zouk beat.
Connected with DJ Mafie Zouker from Rio de Janeiro and became extremely popular. The music is mixed and fused with trance and modern music with basic Zouk beats, the original French or Portuguese lyrics are omitted as Neo-Zouk ethuthiasts have better connection with transcendental music.
A style credited to Renato Veronezi from São Paulo, where many Brazilian zouk figures are used to dance to Hiphop and soul.
List of Zouk dance congresses
- 2º Congresso Internacional de Zouk em Brasília on 17 February 2007
- 2nd International Lambada/Zouk Congress 2006 Barcelona
- 3rd Brazilian Dance Congress 2006 Amsterdam
- First International Zouk and Lambada Congress in Rio de Janeiro on 4 January 2008
- Lambaporto Dance Congress 2008 in Porto Seguro on 7 January 2008
- 3rd International Lambada/Zouk Congress 2006 Barcelona
- 4th International Lambada/Zouk Congress 2009 Barcelona 30th April - 3rd May
- Salsalegría Zouk Dance Festival
- 5th International Lambada/Zouk Congress 2010 Barcelona April
- 1st International Zouk congress Prague 2010 Prague, 28th-31st January
- II International Zouk and Lambada Congress in Rio de Janeiro 7th-10th January 2010
- 2nd Annual DC Bachata & International Dance Festival 2010 19th-22nd August 2010 National Harbor, MD
- Brazil Central Zouk Lambada Congress 2010 1-3 October 2010 Brisbane Australia
- The 1st Scandinavian International Lambada/Zouk-congress in Sweden, Uppsala 17-19th June 2011
- 1st Buenos Aires Zouk Congress 2011 8-11 September 2011 Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Brazil Central Zouk Lambada Congress 2011 30 September -2 October 2011 Brisbane Australia
- 2nd Asia Brazil Carnival in Hong Kong, 18 - 24th February 2012
- 1st Zouk SEA (South East Asia) Festival 2012, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia August
- 8th International Lambada/Zouk Congress 2013 Barcelona April
- 1st International USA Zouk Congress 2013 Los Angeles May
- 3rd Middle Eastern Zouk & Latin Festival Dubai
- 2nd Zouk SEA (South East Asia) Festival 2013, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 9 - 11 August
- RioZouk Asia in Hong Kong
- New York City, Zouk Organization
- ZOUKNY~ classes, events, workshops and more
- SOULZOUK Radio, Remix, DJS, video and more
- Zouk party agenda (mainly Netherlands; now offline)
- Zouk Night Love - Neozouk remixes
- zouk school in los angeles
- Lambazouk congress in Barcelona, Spain
- Group of teachers in Barcelona, Spain
- Zouk Lambada Uk offering teacher training
- Zouk teachers in Stockholm, Sweden
- Zouk-lambada congress in Uppsala, Sweden
- Mazouka Dance Company in Toronto, Canada
- dZouk Productions in Toronto, Canada
- Toronto Zouk, Canada
- Zouk Lambada Israel by Liza Listvinsky, Tel-Aviv Israel
- Zouk Brazil by Leon Gordin, Tel-Aviv Israel
- Salsalegría Zouk Dance School in Zurich, Switzerland
- Zouk Info Zurich & Switzerland
- ZOUK Malmö , in Sweden ZOUK classes/workshops both in malmö and helsingborg - by David Kay
- Zouk Dancing in Dubai and Middle East
- Lambazouk Brazil by Bebé
- Tropical NY by Aochan in Tokyo, Japan
- ZOUKademia - Organizer of Zouk events in Zurich, Switzerland