The History of Brazilian Zouk

Brazilian Zouk is a dance style from Brazil created in the 90’s and has influences from dances such as Lambada, Brazilian Bolero and Samba de Gafieira. Zouk is danced to Zouk music or other 4/4 time signature music.

In mid 90’s Brazilians discovered the rhythm Zouk from French Caribbean, which had many similarities with Lambada music. The Lambada lovers saw an opportunity to continue dancing their beloved dance style. Soon the Lambada dance style started to adapt to the Zouk music. However, Zouk music was slower than Lambada, so it was necessary to make alterations to the dance including to its basic steps.

This transformation happened in many states in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, Jaime Aroxa, Renata Peçanha and Adilio Porto at Jaime Aroxa Dance School realised that in class it was difficult to teach the Lambada basics on the spot. With the influence of other Brazilian dance styles such as Samba de Gafieira, they included a new basic travelling forward and backwards. The linear Salsa also influenced them to create linear movements like “Lateral” and “Bonus”, because the Lambada movements were all circular. These changes started to help students learn the dance faster. Following that, other movements were created such as “Raul”, “Soltinho” and “Bonus”, which gave origin to our popular basic kit.

Many of the teachers and students at Jaime Aroxa Dance School helped contribute to the spread of this new teaching methodology, which spread to other schools and other cities around the world.

In other states such as Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, the transformation of Lambada to Brazilian Zouk Dance originated in different ways creating different styles of Brazilian Zouk.

Even though this dance gets its name from a French style of music, it is still considerate a Brazilian dance, based on its direct ties to Lambada and being created in Brazil by Brazilian dancers.

Interview with Renata Peçanha
Interview with Alex & Renata