This here is me…
The picture was taken at the Saturday Night Mafia Style party during Mafie Zouker weekend in Prague, November 5-7, 2010. Unlike your possible guess, this is not a result of being knocked-out by fatigue after all that dancing (and virtually no sleep the entire preceding week), but on the contrary: the summoning of strength before all Zouk mafia gathers at the church to pay respects to the prince of Neo-zouk. I needed it after the entire day of running around and before the beginning of yet another long night… Life of a dancer is, at times, rather exhausting (but none the less extremely fulfilling, thrilling, exciting… fine I’ll stop now – you’ve caught the drift) as you can see :).
Dear friends, I hereby welcome you to the incredible world of Zouk. This shall not be confused with zouk love (or the “French zouk”) – otherwise you would be going “wtf” at my absolute infatuation with the dance. I mean, it is sort of ‘sexy’ but what I am on about is nothing of the kind. I had been introduced to it about 1,5 years ago, by an incredible dancer F. we all miss in Prague, but we didn’t get along with the basic step right away (it somehow initially clashed with my salsa scheme that I had to go forward with the OTHER foot 😀 😀 😀 … Peculiar quality of my brain which sometimes gets stuck on the smallest, simplest aspect of something…). Then, a Couch Surifng friend who came to Prague for the 1st Brazilian Zouk Congress in Prague in spring 2010 talked me into going to the Friday night party (You’re the best and I’ll eternally love you for dragging me in!!!). By ending up there on Saturday and Sunday nights as well, I have received the official baptism into the world of this amazing dance.
So what I AM on about is the Brazilian Zouk (otherwise also sometimes known as lamba-zouk, or zouk lambada). Those Brazilians took the French music they liked and assimilated into it lambada, adding elements of modern dance. I am rather unsure how exactly they came up with the specific recipe of the final product, but what I am dead certain about is that as long as my body permits me to, I am forever dedicating it to the Zouk, especially to one of its forms – the Neo-Zouk.
Zouk is a sensual dance that allows you to use your entire body. It has the flow, the dynamic, the tenderness, but also the fitness. Once you are through the basics, you can create endlessly on the dance floor, almost without restrictions. The dance is something you can completely lose yourself in, floating within the intimate unity between the rhythm of the song and the rhythm of your heartbeat, on one wavelength with your partner.
In a little time and with due practice, one can learn to dance like…
Or like Daniel and Leticia (brother and sister from Barcelona) :
But this is just the beginning, because the universe of Zouk is endless.
For instance, why be satisfied with only one dancing partner? Take two! Like Renato Veronezzi (featuring… guess who? 🙂 ) :
In fact, sky is the limit. It is common among ‘hardcore’ (aka ‘well-coordinated) Zoukeiros and Zoukeiras to dance with 2-3 partners at once (either 3 ladies or 3 guys with 1 partner). Having a little group action where one dancer is in the middle of the circle and the partners keep changing is one of the most common birthday dance scenes at Zouk parties:). One can also ‘steal’ the girl (or a guy) from someone else while dancing, so if you see someone you like who is not dancing with YOU (yet 😉 ) – don’t worry, your situation is always open for improvement :D.
In other words, Zouk is fun. It is also extremely beautiful. Watching, for instance, Kadu and Larissa perform is magnetic:
As you’ve probably noticed already, Zouk music is not limited by one single style. From soulful instrumentals, vocals, to oriental beats and RnB, through pop and electronic all the way to rock – you are bound to find the music you like that you can dance to. I mean, since Rihanna’s songs are very often heard at the parties, it’s definitely something very up-to-date, wouldn’t you agree?
Then, of course, there is an altogether different level of Zouk, where it is mixed with acrobatic elements for the performances. Actually, certain lifts, tricks and flips are easier than they look and possible to learn for us regular mortals, too. I’ve spent an entire segment of the Sunday night white party during that weekend mentioned in the beginning (organized for the enjoyment of us all by our precious Zouk-aholic Ema – thank you, darling!) flying up in the air (thank you, J., for the amazing fun!!!) and made it alive and, lovely surprise, unbruised!.
Introducing the best we’ve got in the golden city – Carlos da Silva and Fernanda Vitoria:
From what I have heard, this particular choreography almost resulted in concussion, broken hand and other serious traumas. Thankfully, it was just ‘almost’ and the piece was put together! I’ve seen it live several times and every time I have to pick up my jaw from the floor :D.
Styles are truly endless… Dani and Leticia, for instance, are world-known for their imaginative choreographies. The show below (which I’ve had the fortune to see live in Prague), even though through the eye of the camera, still oozes creativity, tension and amazing artistry:
The threesome… HA! Just kidding :). The trio piece by Pasty, Vicky and Josta made me cry like a baby at Scheveningen where I saw it the first time. I had to fight the tears back even the second time – in Brno. Watching any of it on video does it less justice than watching it live, but I can’t help but share the beauty and skill:
The prince of Neo-Zouk Mafie Zouker, who makes amazing music that transcends time itself, also makes amazing choreorgaphies that make you hold your breath without noticing it from the beginning to end:
Now, if after watching all this you feel somewhat discouraged, because you think you can never do just as well – think once more. It definitely helps to have some extra fitness or flexibility, but even without Zouk is open to anyone. After all, if those two can pull it off so wonderfully on the dance floor, I can’t see too many people daring to say “I can’t do this”:
Hope you have enjoyed the virtual tour into the planet of Zouk. I’ve definitely sold my soul to this dance and I hope to spread the infection all around. The more people dance – the less they tend to engage in conflicts ;).
If you are yet unsure, or if you can’t get enough of it; if you want to pick up some moves or music – there are many more videos to watch here. If you wish to know where there is any major Zouk madness happening near you, check out the up-dates on Zouk parties, events and congresses worldwide. Enjoy!