Notice how I didn't say, "4 reasons why you should dance Zouk"? Those types of lists usually address the non-dancer. With this blog I want to talk to the people who already dance. You already know that dancing is good for you. I don't need to tell you that. I'm going to share with you why I Zouk and why I think you should too. Chances are if you haven't heard of this new-ish dance, you will soon. The scene is growing pretty rapidly here in the US. Here in California there is a large Zouk following in the Los Angeles area and now in San Francisco. It's only a matter of time before it hits Sacramento and it's gonna be big! So here are the reasons why I love Zouk.
#1 The music
It's amazing! It's so chill, almost hypnotic. You forget that you are dancing! And there is something so primal about the Zouk rhythm. There is a reason why Zouk teachers count it with a belowing, "Toom, tchik, tchik. Toom, tchik, tchik..." That is how it feels in your guts (very graphic I know, but its true)! The rhythm pulls you from your center as you start the dance and takes you on this journey through 3 dimensional space. The rhythm and flow keeps going as you explore the space with your partner. In those 3 minutes that you dance, your faith in humanity is restored (too much? too dramatic? ok. I'll stop)! There is also music to fit every mood. Zouk can be danced to everything from hypnotic to hip hop, popular, R&B, classical, electronic, dubstep, kizomba, latin, reggaeton and the list goes on! It's the music that grabs you for a dance and you just surrender to it.
#2 The Connection
I know what you are about to say....Tarah, dance connection is connection and you are right. I'm not saying that the connection is more or better than in any other dance. However, I will say this...Most dances work from a vertical upright position and mostly in 2 dimensions; up and down, and backwards and forwards (or side to side). In Zouk, the connection works in three dimensions. Because of this, the connection needs to be strong, but very fluid and is ever changing on all planes. Pretty challenging even for a more advanced dancer. Really great practice if you are looking to up your leading and following game. Funny story...I originally wanted to learn Zouk to get more tolerant of turning off axis. What I found was so much more!
#3 The Flow
There is a certain grace and slight sensuality (optional) about Zouk. It is usually danced very close (once you are comfortable). People who dance it talk about the "flow" of it. Because your connection is now 3 dimensional, it gives a fluidity to the movement like no other. To create the flow requires a certain level of trust and openness with your partner. If my leader leads me to step forward but then turn back around on myself causing me to become a "rotisserie chicken" (yes this is a real thing), I have to trust the lead and stay open to all the possibilities to keep the flow going. When connected, there is no time when the follower shapes or moves on their own. Even when the dancers have 2 feet planted on the floor, they still keep the flow going seamlessly with their body movements and weight shifts. When you watch dancers in the flow, you certainly can see it. You are mesmerized by it. For a moment you think it will never end. Just a dance symbol of infinity.
#4 The Creativity
I think of Zouk as the West Coast Swing (WCS) of the latin social dance world. If you think WCS is smooth then you will love Zouk! Zouk can be as structured (good for beginners) or as free form as you would like. DJs create Zouk songs from a wide variety of musical genres so that the range of emotion and feeling Zouk can portray is limitless. One of my favorite dance videos is Carlos and Fernanda da Silva dancing Zouk to a Viennese Waltz song! Zouk is normally danced with a slow, quick, quick rhythm, but once you are comfortable it can be modified to fit anything. It is an art and is malleable and adaptable by definition.
There you have it. 4 reasons I think Brazilian Zouk should be your next dance. To get you started, I invite you to join us in February; Tuesdays at 6:30pm for Spotlight's first beginning Brazilian Zouk class. All levels welcome. No partner necessary. Let us know if you can make it! https://www.facebook.com/events/158961521412737/
$50 5 class pass
$80 10 class pass