Tarraxinha is the sexy, percussive cousin of kizomba; the name means “little screw in a bolt.” The music often has little melody and a much heavier-hitting beat than kizomba. Make no mistake, this is a dance to do with someone you want to get very close to. Danced on the spot, tarraxinha has very little in the way of steps and is focused on isolations and two bodies moving as one. (Check it out.) That said, those who don’t feel confident in their body movement, or for ladies who would like to learn a few “defensive dancing” tips, a class in social tarraxinha or tarraxinha styling can be quite helpful. Demand has led to tarraxinha classes becoming quite common at kizomba and sensual festivals all over Europe.
In social kizomba dancing, there are often borrowed elements of tarraxinha used when the beat drops out and there is nothing driving the dancers to take steps.
There are different schools of thought in tarraxinha. Some say that the followers take charge, showing off their ginga, as the leaders follow the movement with their forearms or hands in a relaxed way. Others say that the leaders direct all the movement and isolations in the dance. Certainly both are possible, although learning to do the latter as a leader generally takes some time doing the former! Some mix of the two will allow for a nice give and take as you move together.