Brazilian Zouk (also called Zouk-Lambada) 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 or Zouk Lambada 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.
Traditional Brazilian Zouk style was first developed in Ilha Dos Pescadores in Rio de Janeiro around the mid 90’s when Lambada songs stopped being composed. It was developed and first taught by Adilio Porto and Renata Peçanha in Brazil’s most famous dance school for Brazilian couple dances of Jaime Arôxa Dance School. They danced to the slower music of the Caribbean Zouk, thus making it easier to learn and vary steps, moves, patterns and combinations. The characteristic steps that were created are the basic step going front and back (from Samba de Gafieira), the opening and lateral step (from Bolero), elastic and bonus (also called boomerang in Europe).
Since adding lots of new steps and changing the characteristics from Lambada, a new name was given to this dance, with was originally ‘Zouk Love’, later just called ‘Zouk’ or ‘Brazilian Zouk’. Today, the Brazilian Zouk has changed and thus, the name ‘Traditional Zouk’ has been given to the dance that was first taught by Adilio and Renata in the beginning of the 90’s, which is now didactically used all over the world.
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.