Ghetto Zouk Dance
GHETTO ZOUK Dance refers to a dance method and dance concept developed as an inherent part of GHETTO ZOUK music originating from Cape Verde. The main base of Ghetto Zouk dance is Kizomba further developed by its Portuguese creator and educator with Cape Verdean roots – Vitor Tavares Mendes and his team.
GHETTO ZOUK Dance is characterized by close frame, higher dynamics, fun, flow, and precision that follows the ghetto zouk beat. It combines the basic Kizomba steps and techniques with faster rhythm in footwork requiring firm posture and a higher level of power, pressure and movement control from both partners.
The main principles of GHETTO ZOUK Dance include:
- Leading 50/50 (Shared lead) – the idea of shared leading as an alternative to the current standard Kizomba techniques means a shared responsibility without resulting in a clash of interests or disconnection. The key to maintaining the flow between both leading parties is the use of natural body pressure, tension and impulse. The Leading 50/50 method can help minimize mistakes and maximize communication, promotes a greater freedom of interpretation whilst encouraging technical precision.
- Syncopated rhythm – putting the accent on beats not usually accented (e.g. one-and-two, three-and-four, …) dynamics the movement and helps to better reflect the ghetto zouk beat.
- Firm frame and posture – the inevitable part of the shared lead, especially when syncopating rhythm is applied. Strong (however not hard or rough) body posture and frame allow both partners to gain better body control, creative movement, interpretation of each other’s moves and precision on responding.
Kizomba dance originated in Africa around the 1980s. There are a lot of theories about its origins, however, in spite of its popularity, we still lack a systematic research on this topic. Dance communities usually agree that Kizomba comes from Angola where zouk music from the Antilles mixed with Angolan semba. However, a recent study points out a strong influence of Cape Verdean traditional dances.
The dance Kizomba is a social couple dance, characterized by its soft, fluid moves and a posture that can vary from very close to more open. An inevitable reference while leading and following is the connection between the legs of the partners. The upper body is mostly dissociated from the movement of the legs and the hips. Kizomba has its basic steps that, if combined well, can create easy and enjoyable routines. More experienced dancers can develop them to be more complicated and faster footwork and tricks
Kizomba music is characterized by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm.Today, Cape Verdean singers and producers have gained a wide popularity with many famous Kizomba compilations, including singers such as Suzanna Lubrano, Djodje, Nelson Freitas. This has sparked many festivals and congresses ranging from Portugal, Netherlands, Poland, USA, and Russia.
Ghetto Zouk Dance vs Kizomba
Kizomba is one of the main building elements of Ghetto Zouk Dance, since it incorporates the main basic steps and techniques of Kizomba. Yet, there are some differences that stem mainly from the cultural and dance background, personal expression and dance method of Ghetto Zouk Dance creator Vitor Tavares Mendes.
Here is the summary of the main differences between Ghetto Zouk Dance and Kizomba:
- Leading 50/50 (shared lead) – in Ghetto Zouk Dance both partners share the same amount of pressure, tension, and impulse which make especially the ladies more involved in the dance. It also improves the communication between the partners and helps them to maintain the flow.
- Dynamics – is one of the differences that can be noticed at first glance. Ghetto Zouk Dance uses syncopated rhythm more often to better reflect the beat of Ghetto Zouk music. In practice, it is demonstrated by faster footwork than the one of Kizomba and higher overall dynamics of the dance.
- Energy and precision – unlike very soft movements of Kizomba, the dancers of Ghetto Zouk Dance apply for more energy and extension while still emphasizing the precision of the movement.
Frame and posture – The left hand of the lady and the right hand of the man is placed between the shoulder blades of the partner which allows more freedom and flexibility of the hips of the lady and better communication and control for both partners. The frame is firm, however not hard or squeezing. The frame of Kizomba can differ from teacher to teacher. The frame in Ghetto Zouk Dance is very close as well as the one in Kizomba, however, Ghetto Zouk Dance uses more open figures while still keeping the contact on one or more reference points (chest, arms, hips, legs etc.).