x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Zouk and Latin Dance Festival has worldwide appeal

What started as a small local dance event is turning into a three-day global dance festival. This weekend, head to Ras Al Khaimah for the second annual event, featuring international and local talent, workshops and parties.

The art directors Samantha Ho and Nayan De Abrew. Courtesy Berg Chabot
The art directors Samantha Ho and Nayan De Abrew. Courtesy Berg Chabot

A global festival

Twenty international artists will join 10 UAE-based artists as this year's special guests.

"We have promoted zouk in all the major salsa festivals in the region and major zouk events in Europe, so we expect it to be a major international festival in the region this year," says Nayan De Abrew, an art director for Zouk Dubai.

The line-up includes the world-famous Australian duo Kadu Pires and Larissa Thayane, renowned as two of the best zouk lambada performers and teachers in the world.

Other guests and attendees are expected from the GCC and Europe. From the UAE will come the salsa dancers and instructors James Castro and Alex de Smet, the Brazilian dancer Martina Cancio and the French choreographer Walid Tebarki.

"We promote our event not only as a dance festival but as a weekend getaway. Ras Al Khaimah is a beautiful city," says De Abrew.

Learning and fun

Visitors will be treated to workshops for beginners, a zouk dance competition, a live concert by Kadu Pires and Aminu Idris and a Latin dance party each night until the early hours. Students will also have a chance to show what they have learnt through a competition.

Zouk appeal

When Zouk Dubai was formed four years ago, the dancing was mainly to traditional zouk music. However, its recent growth in popularity means many DJs are remixing commercial songs with the zouk beat, including artists such as Ne-Yo and Rihanna, says Samantha Ho, also an art director with Zouk Dubai.

"The music now caters to a wider range of people. We also have an R&B singer, Aminu Idris, based in Dubai, who has written and composed songs that are now being played in zouk clubs around the world," she says.

"The fact that zouk is such a universal dance makes it attractive to people. You don't need to speak the same language to be able to have a good dance," she adds.

The Zouk and Latin Festival takes place tonight until Saturday at the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah. A shuttle bus will leave from The Dubai Mall. For ticket prices and timings visit www.zouk-me.com. Zouk Dubai offers classes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Visit www.zouk-dubai.com for details

melshoush@thenational.ae