Bachata Dance Basics

How to learn basic Bachata steps and turns in five minutes or less. I always want to  make dance as simple as possible – so everybody can see that they can dance. The learning curve for Bachata is much easier and faster than it is for Salsa. So, if you are looking to learn Bachata very quickly, read on.

  1. Basic Steps in One Minute or Less. Bring your feet together. All you have to do is take your left foot and take a small shuffle step to the left. Then, you’re gonna bring your right foot in, those are the first two counts. You’re gonna step out again with your left and then you’re gonna bring your right foot in. But this time,you tap with your right foot instead of stepping, which means your weight is on the left foot. After you’ve tapped with your right, you go back home to where you started. You do this by taking your right foot (the one you just tapped with) and step to your right, bring your left foot in, step out with your right foot again and then tap with your left. That’s it –  you have done eight beats and you have just completed a Bachata basic step!

It has three steps and what we call a tap. Don’t worry about hip movement, don’t complicate things. And here’s how you can very easily practice it. Bring your feet together and as you step to your left and then back to your right –  say out loud “Three Steps And Tap.” Trust me. Three steps and tap is the beat of Bachata. So you say “Three”, and that’s your one count.  “Steps” – that’s your two count. “And” that’s your three count. “Tap” is your four count. Keep repeating “three steps and tap” over and over and over and by verbalizing what you’re learning you will instantly get it.

Now that’s your side basic. There’s also your forward basic and all you’re gonna do is do the same thing by stepping forward with the left, bringing your right foot in, stepping forward with the left and tapping with the right. Then take the tapping foot back and rinse and repeat.  And again, it’s “three steps and tap”

Imagine those old-school joysticks where you can only go left, right, forward and back. So there are no angles for now and in one minute or less, you got it.

  1. Basic Turns. The easiest way to learn to turn is to bring your feet together and to stand in front of something – a painting, a couch, a mirror – whatever.  You’re gonna take your left hand, you’re gonna place it on your belly button – trust me! And then, what I want you to do is I want you to turn and keep turning as you move across the room to your left. You keep turning until you are facing the painting or couch or mirror or whatever again. It’s something we used to do as kids. You spin through your room.  Congratulations! You have done a basic turn!

The only thing you have to remember is that in Bachata, all our basic turns at the beginning are traveling turns. We always travel. You place your left hand on your belly. This tells you to use your core, you’re going to twist to your left and then you’re gonna step with your left foot on the one, you’re gonna do another turn on the two, you’re gonna do a final turn on the three and you’re gonna tap on four.

For those who really want the details, it’s going to be a quarter turn to your left, another quarter turn to face away from the object, a half turn to come back to the object and then tap. The tap is always key.

One quick hack to making turns feel natural is don’t have your knees locked. Imagine you put on some skates and you’re about to go skating. You don’t lock your knees on the ice or you will be wobbly. Bachata (and Salsa) are the same. Bend your knees and dancing gets easier. You want to unlock your knees and have your butt slightly sitting down, so your weight is on your quads. And then you twist in three steps and tap. And then you can go the other way and twist in three steps and tap.

I hope this breakdown was really useful and helpful to you.

I do believe in my heart that everybody, every single person can dance Bachata, and all you need is a positive environment, some people cheering you on and simple instructions. So I hope at some point I get to be one of your instructors and inspire you that dancing is something that anyone can do and it’s something you can do into the beautiful age of 103.

I don’t know why I picked 103. Could have been any age but let’s get to 103 and keep dancing. Love you guys.

I can’t wait to welcome you to our big family, have you come in week to week, have fun, connect with new friends and let loose to amazing Latin songs. Click here to check our current schedule.

If you have any questions you would like me to answer here are some ways you can contact me: message me on Instagram (torontodanceSalsa), on Twitter (#torontodanceSalsa), on Facebook (Toronto Dance Salsa) or email me at [email protected].