Get a taste of salsa, zouk and swing dances

Walk into a chic cigar lounge in North Miami Beach where flowing Brazilian zouk dancers — as ethereal as smoky wisps rising from a hookah — command your attention.

Or step back in time at a retro club in Boca Raton, alongside charming fellows in golf caps and ladies in polka-dot dresses who bounce and glide and swing across a black-and-white checkered dance floor.

In Margate, at a shopping center with a supermarket and dollar store, let the brass-infused, heart-pounding salsa beats and other Latin rhythms drive your hips wild. Salseros don sweat-soaked shirts like badges of honor.

A craving for a dance fix can seldom wait for the weekend. It's an addiction to motion and sultry or swing rhythms that stir a desire to sway, shimmy and spin.


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And in South Florida, burgeoning underground dance scenes for Brazilian zouk, salsa and lindy hop swing emerge in unlikely places, and on the least charismatic of days: Mondays and Wednesdays.

Even the uninitiated — those tempted to join these salseros, zouk and swing dancers — can dip a toe and explore with a group lesson before bravely diving into any of these social dance scenes.

Sizzling movesin N. Miami Beach

Zouk evolved in the late '90s from the sizzling Brazilian lambada and could be compared to a cross between salsa and Dominican bachata, said Kendra Haynes, a Brazilian zouk instructor and co-founder of Zouk Mia dance company. But the music comes from the French Caribbean.

Each Monday, dancers are greeted with a Brazilian zouk bonanza. Two group-lesson offerings at VK Dance studio in North Miami Beach are followed by a night of slow-quick-quick-slow-paced sensual dance at the nearby C-lounge Cigar & Hookah Bar.

"Our entire goal is to promote zouk. It's still a very small dance [scene]. Obviously, it's largest in Brazil with huge scenes in Europe and Australia," said Haynes, 25. "But in the U.S., it's fairly small. We're only one of about eight cities in the U.S. that offers zouk."

The intimate dance floor quickly fills up with dancers who circle one another in fluid motion, as if under water: hips move in unison and serpent-like bodies roll into one another.

A signature move: the woman's hair-flipping, head-rolling motion. And it turns heads — spectators at the cigar lounge often ogle away.

"It's a unique setting. It just gives you this sense of being connected to your partner, which is what zouk's all about," Haynes said.

Monday lessons at VK Dance, 3363 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach; 305-944-4725, miami.vkdance.com

Hours: 8-9 p.m. beginners, 9-10 p.m. intermediate; $15 per lesson.

Social dancing 10:30 p.m. at C-lounge Cigar & Hookah Bar, 3945 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach; 305-354-9300, c-loungemiami.com. Free.

Swing dancing

As with zouk, swing dancing, too, is all about connection, basic footwork and learning how to lead and follow, said Andrew King, who alongside Kaycie Davis teaches a free lesson Wednesdays and hosts a night of swing dancing at Platforms, a retro club in Boca Raton.

"We're keeping swing alive," said King, 42. "It's kind of like an underground club that never died."

On a checkered dance floor, beneath hanging vinyl records, smiles abound as dancers skid across and twirl. Swing, organizers say, is on the upswing.