The word ‘dance’ is not enough to describe Brazilian Zouk, because it is so much more than just a dance.
Zouk is a journey, both in and out of yourself. It’s losing and discovering yourself again. It’s connecting with your mind, your body, with others, with space, with sound, and with the presence… However, it does take time to start discovering this whole universe of possibilities.
Like many other dancers, I started my journey with Salsa, then Bachata, and after I discovered Kizomba! Because of its high level of connection, I thought this is just amazing, and I became Kizomba’s biggest fan! At this point in time, I had already seen some people dancing Zouk, but I wasn’t interested at all in it. The movements didn’t really look like something I wanted to do.
I started attending Zouk workshops in my city just because my friends kinda ‘forced’ me, and… I am very thankful now for their stubbornness! The thing about Zouk is that it is not easy! A lot of people stop before they really start to get it, they get discouraged, scared, or they are simply not ready yet. It does take time to feel it and let your partner feel you. It’s more than a basic step, it’s harmony between two bodies… When you feel THIS for the first time, you never step back. When it happened to me, I knew, I had found a diamond…
Zouk gives me freedom. Freedom as no other dance can give me. It doesn’t mean there are no rules! The technique of Brazilian Zouk is very complex.
First of all, I find freedom of MUSIC. Many people love dancing Salsa or Bachata but not necessarily listen to it in their free time. This music serves usually just for dance purposes. I am in love with RnB, funk, HH, acoustics, Caribbean, POP, and all the kinds of music, and finally, I can dance to all of them. Finally, there is a couple dance that gives me the possibility to choose the music I really like!
In Zouk, at some point, any sound I hear becomes my dancing ground, even the sound of the silence, sea, or the water…
Zouk is also an amazing booster of creativity! Simply by its nature. It’s very malleable, it’s playful. In Zouk, you feel so strongly that you are the creator of your universe. The music goes from slow, through chilling to fast, or even crazy electro, and it pushes your brain to do things on the dancefloor that you’d never thought about before. In this dance, we are constantly exploring new paths and possibilities. This is how, many dancers discovered their unique technique and we can see their creations in many different kinds of Zouk (SoulZouk, RnBZouk, Lamba-Zouk, ContemporaryZouk, BlackZouk, MZouk and many more).
Freedom of communication. That’s another thing I love so much about this dance. Zouk dance is the most beautiful and engaging conversation, where the body, eyes, and your energy are your languages. It’s more than just asking questions and giving answers, more than just leading and following. Finally, two people are speaking (of course not at the same time, otherwise we have a situation when everyone speaks and no one listens, like in a parliament). Finally, the follower has a possibility to show what they feel and suggests the moves or dance flow to their partner. Everything in a gentle and polite manner. Here we also have the freedom to choose what tools we use for communication, which body parts, maybe only breathing, maybe just eye-contact, mirroring. The magic that happens while dancing Zouk, is the one invisible for others eyes. The real magic happens between the two of you…
…two or three, or more of you. And this is another reason to love Zouk. It’s beyond stereotypes of couple dance. It’s playful and can engage more than two people at the same time! The more of you dancing, the harder it gets and requires more skills, but it’s also more fun!
People around you are the essence of life, and behind every dance, there are people. This part, that I want to talk about now, was the biggest surprise for me while switching from Bachata and Kizomba. Somehow the nature of this dance builds an amazing community worldwide, which I have found so different than any other. We call this community Zouk Family. Wherever I go and find Zouk dancers I feel at home, I feel like myself, I feel welcome.
I am in love with Zouk people for many reasons, for their openness, not being judgmental, being more welcoming, supportive, purely enjoying each other’s company, getting more engaged and connected with others. I believe, that Zouk requires such a high level of non-verbal communication which builds trust, respect, and brings people together.
I am aware that people start dancing for many different reasons. However, they may be lucky to find much more than what they were looking for. I believe that Brazilian Zouk changed my life and it is constantly making me a better person. It made me fall in love with people, their diversity, and beauty. It made me fall in love with myself. It puts some light on the areas of life that need to be improved or worked on. Dancing Zouk is my way of meditation, it’s my medicine.
With these few lines, I don’t mean to criticize any other dances. Each of us is different and has different preferences. I have found some wonderful people in other dance communities as well. I just simply want to share my personal point of view and experience with Brazilian Zouk.
Who knows, maybe one day we will meet dancing Zouk and enjoy this beautiful moment.