Zouk as Contact Zone

The analysis is permeated by the motifs of transcendence and stability/fluidity, and has three subsequent themes: community and personal achievement, gender, and embodiment. These sections will be based on theoretical material and semi-structured interviews with eight zouk dancers located in Denmark and eight in Brazil. The dancers were approached through their zouk schools, where the field work was also conducted. The schools are: Zonen for dans og bevægelse in Copenhagen and Núcleo de Dança (dance core) Renata Peçanha in Rio de Janeiro.

For the theoretical parts of community and personal achievement aspect, theory by Robert A. Stebbins (2002) on the benefits of serious leisure activities has been employed along with Sonia Abadi’s (2013) on the creation of empathy between partners in dance. In regards to gender, the project enlists theory on the heterosexual norms, performativity and gender hierarchy by Judith Butler (1990-1999 a & b) and Christine Mennesson (2009). The theoretical standpoint of embodiment is from Erin Manning’s 2007 Politics of Touch and is used to examine connection, spirituality and aesthetics in relation to zouk. By examining zouk through these different lenses, the project analyses the participants’ experience of zouk in relation to these four themes. It discusses what it means to the dance and to the dancers that zouk travels internationally, and how the dance, and in extension Brazilian dancers, are romanticized and exoticized, along with the socio-economic motivations for dancing in Brazil. The project concludes that zouk is a complex phenomenon that can be understood as a contact zone where differences are simultaneously foregrounded and transcended.

We tried to answer some of this questions

  1. How is zouk a contact zone and what defines the hybridity of the dance?

  2. How do zouk dancers experience the dance in relation to community, personal achievement, gender, and embodiment?

  3. What does it mean to the dance and the dancers, that zouk travels internationally?

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