Cultural Encounters in Movement: Zouk as a Contact Zone

Anna Sima Davids Thomsen, Maria Cristina Suta, Loredana Elena Musat, Rashmee Giri Puri, Ana Luiza Moura da Cunha & Saluya Begum

Studenteropgave: Kandidatprojekt


This project examines what the social partner dance zouk means to its participants in Denmark and Brazil and why they practice it. By applying theory by Marie Louise Pratt (1991) and Homi Bhabha (2009c in Jasen & Pramod, 2010), it asks how zouk is a contact zone and what defines the hybridity of the dance. This serves as the overall framework of the analysis and the premise of the approach to zouk. Moreover, theory on the production of stereotypes by Douglas Martin et al. (2014) is also included, as stereotypes are an underlying and reoccurring issue throughout the project. 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.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2018
Antal sider81
VejledereLinda Lapiņa


  • zouk
  • dans
  • embodiment
  • køn
  • fællesskab
  • Brasilien
  • interview