Bewitched by ZOUK

The difference between conquest and seduction is that everybody wants, on some level, to be seduced, Voltaire once had said. True seduction involves a dance of ache and pleasure- it’s the power of contrast that makes us feel alive.

Isn’t it a familiar territory for many among dancers?! But what about the contrast: this love affair with Zouk- a one night stand, short-lived fling or lifetime romance?

I made my first Zouk steps during Salsa and Zouk Beach Festival in Scheveningen, Holland in July 2011 after the usual round of shows, even though I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to dance some sort of “witch craft” afterwards. Back then, I knew nothing of such events, had user-friendly knowledge of salsa steps and was totally unaware of zouk existence. The flying hair was just frivolous “way too much”. The show of one couple, however, tangled me up as a visionary octopus.

I use incense in my home and this time I felt as if I was watching a bunch burn on the dance floor. This couple must have created some kind of safety cocoon- their own world, shared generously though, and surely, it had engaged my senses to take the focus away from the quiet debauchery around. With so much going on in our lives and around us, fascination is a rare bird to catch- getting and giving attention became high-end commodity to die for.

The couple on the stage was busy dancing- burning, their exotic scent showed up in shape and got the best of me. The two of them dancing reminded me of white sage, commonly known to be used for healing and strength, to the extent one wishes to believe. It is associated with and represents ritual. Soon, very soon I was intoxicated by them dancing: she whirled, span, serpented as liquid and dynamic as a waterfall, cascading up the stream, just like the incense candle burning. He moved along and, with each whim of his exotic mane, spread himself, expanding with the ferocity of fire eating wood. She moved effortlessly following the lead, betraying nothing of her own nature, with just one purpose- living and loving aliveness in all its simple pleasure and amusement. She was a seductress dancing in front of us: very lady-like, smooth, subtle yet intense and magnetic- pure la delicatesse! Her want was to seduce the wind: she wanted us to get high with her and, in her dance, she sought to fill the space. She wanted to spend herself wholly, whatever there was to be burned, with full conviction, committed to innate body intelligence, hair swaying in swirls. Light as a feather dancing in the mid-air, she left a trace of scent, kissing the Earth with every step she made. He, the Wind, like Dutch winds that blow in all directions no matter which you face, led the choreography to both: untameable spirit, clearing the path to show the way, spreading her magic all around. I watched mesmerized. I wished I could embody such a grace (fragrance).

While the two of them were filling up the space- smudging the room clean and ready for more Zouk magic, I wondered: what is it that takes the passion incense to ignite?! What this secret brew of Zouk is made of?

As their dance came to an end, so did one story -a story that turned itself to scent, ashes and trepidation in my belly- my first memory of Zouk. Great story telling is the best seduction of all!

True seduction is meeting the person where they already are, then leading them to a place where they didn’t know they wanted to go”, so point-blank by another creative badass soul Justine Musk. I love it!

Little did I know that by trying out salsa and tango first, I would find myself in Danielle’s Zoukcity beginners class that same autumn and stick to Zouk ever since. Those first steps in an unknown direction opened up more creative sources and, nourished in time, I also dared creative writing and even poetry. With each class, I was learning the craft of moving my body into the reserves of its graceful nature- tapping into it, repetitively, with focus, attention and frustration at times, peeling off shame layer by layer, sensualising, penetrating walls of insecurities. Dance is said to make one move more gracious through life. It’s a way into a relationship with oneself. True to the word I’ve noticed it.

Four years fast forward, I think of time. Time when I was not good enough, time when I was too good to be true, time, one year ago… Time is a heavy weight. Time is gravity. I am tired of taking myself and everything serious, yet dubious about certain uncertainty: is it play or a game on a dance floor? Whatever. I want to cheat out of both and into flirt with life. I want to beat it off of me or out or whatever the hell it takes to get free! Free as in feeling bliss, light and peace. This is what I would want to feel on crossing the finish line- clarity. “At the still point; there the dance is” T.S Eliot.

My dancing, just like writing, I have noticed, oftentimes happened to be out of the impulse to release the springs, the tension, like bullet fired to produce recoil. At times, we dance the body to the ashes out of the need to purify ourselves, release the build-up of pain and pleasure, consume our unborn feelings, to die to be reborn and gain strength to keep on going. This is the curse and blessing of a passionate nature- constant back and forth of a desire swing or a carousel of love-making, but without it no creation is possible.

In our lives we get to feel ignited on impulse to create something, anything, new life. All it takes is the alchemy of right (safe) environment, mixture of acknowledged needs of soul in creative turmoil and trust: match made in heaven with trust in own creative powers. Ultimately, I believe each one of us dancing is already ignited. Sharing same Zouk passion, we know the feel of it, the taste and what it takes- compassionate guidance and surrender, in counter balanced portions of thirst and hunger.


Zouk essentials:

Zouk is a state, has an army, inhabits happy nation

Zouk is a dialect you didn’t know was your mother tongue

Zouk claims full disclosure: confidence means confidentiality

Zouk is adamant; it will put you to the knees and make you beg for more

No rights reserved by Zouk to be your true best self,



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  • Martin

    Beautifully described the magic that zouk does to a dancer!