One of the steamiest new dances to hit the, already hot, Latin dancing scene has now officially been added to the Arthur Murray curriculum. The following is a story of how two Arthur Murray consultants traveled thousands of miles for a competition, and returned with something they didn't plan for.
Bringing The Zouk to Arthur Murray
It Started In Brazil...
Tommy Belmontez and I were asked to judge the Tropical Dance-O-Rama® in Brazil. While we were there, we had been told we should learn some Zouk because it was a dance we would love. So Mauricio Ferrari, the franchisee in Brazil, taught us the first couple basic steps.
He was right.
During the competition, I found myself grooving along to every Zouk rhythm that came on. By the time we left Brazil, I was hooked. I went out in search of the dance when we got back to the States, and took every opportunity available to learn more. When the opportunity came to help collaborate on the Arthur Murray Zouk syllabus, I jumped at the chance.
The Challenge: Integration
Gabriella Young, Tommy Belmontez, and I spent a lot of time putting our heads together to make the syllabus as easy to teach and learn as possible; while still keeping the dance authentic.
I was so excited by the process of deciding what belonged where as we developed the syllabus. Keeping things based on the student's skill level and the integrating this with the Arthur Murray interrelated system was not an easy process. I really enjoyed being able to discuss the theories and ideas with two other really great Arthur Murray people. Keeping in mind what Arthur Murray students and studios need when it comes to a new dance was a rush I think only a true dance nerd would understand.
So after countless hours of collaboration, the Arthur Murray Zouk Syllabus was born!
Well, I know there was some initial concern about whether the dance was too sexy for our professional environment. We sent Bob Long, President of the Arthur Murray dance board, the videos of what we had come up with.
If anyone can make a sexy dance still classy it's Arthur Murray.
The Moves, The Music, The Benefit
This dance utilizes so many elements from all sorts of other dances. It has (the ballroom technique) "Rise and Fall" along with (the Latin technique) "Cuban Motion". It feels like a merger of West-coast Swing, Salsa, and Bolero. What really makes it all more interesting is the use of body rolls, hip isolations, and unique head positions/movements.
The best way I can describe Zouk music is: Tropical, Sexy, R&B music. Lately, there are even versions of modern American R&B and Pop songs remixed with a Zouk rhythm. The tempo is similar to the dance, Nightclub Two Step.
Here are some Zouk artists that I would recommend:
- Jennifer Dias
- Mika Mendes
Popular American artists with Zouk rhythm remixes
- Ariana Grande
There are many benefits you can get from learning this dance! It develops a much better use and awareness of hip action in general. Some steps really create focus on stretching the area of your chest around your sternum for body waves and dips, which helps with posture and topline in all dances. It also really helps develop an increased awareness of lead and follow through the shapes of the body and transitions from moving patterns to body isolations.
The Response So Far
So far, many major cities have a Zouk scene developing and quite a few studios have had requests for the dance lately. I'm getting requests to teach it in Master Classes almost everywhere I've been traveling. Students and teachers alike are really catching on to it.
I have to admit I am selfishly very excited for this because I want more people to dance Zouk so I can dance it more!
One Final Thought...
Here's a dance that is showing up all around the globe and it's really, kind of, unreal to be a part of it. This amazing dance really has a little something for everyone, and this company is truly amazing for being on the forefront of this latest dance movement. Arthur Murray Rocks!