Zouk (more widely known as Brazilian Zouk or Zouk Lambada or Zouk Love) is a sensual, fluid dance that is dominated by an intense connection between partners. It originated in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, Brazil where it evolved from Caribbean rhythms in the 1980s.
The Zouk beat is defined by a very clear “chick-chick-doom,” dominating most of the Zouk music which can include variations of popular R&B, Reggaeton, Hip Hop, Latin pop and Arabic music. When not holding closed position, partners move around each other in an asymmetrical axis. Men hold strong “matador-like” poses while women “surrender” by letting the man’s movement direct their flexible bodies into each movement, hair swinging.
The relatively young dance style has been growing in popularity all over the world since the early 2000s. It is currently one of the most popular dances in Brazil and in areas such as the Netherlands, Australia, Spain and even the United Arab Emirates.
Zouk is just beginning to take flight in the U.S., where large communities exist in New York, San Diego and Miami, and budding ones in D.C. and Tennessee. Some Zouk instructors have implied that the dance might be “too sexy for America,” because Zouk dancers (Zuqueiros) must literally be “joined at the waist” in closed position and the dance requires a very intense, “trance-like” connection.