Bachata Dance Styles

If you’re interested in learning Bachata and unsure where to start, we’re here to help you understand the three most prominent Bachata dance styles. We’ll present them in order of popularity and what you’re likely to encounter on the dance floor.

Modern/Moderna Style 

Modern Bachata is the most popular Bachata dance style and it is what you will see the most on the dance floor. Modern-style Bachata emphasizes “the slot” (moving in straight lines, similar to L.A. Salsa), while incorporating circular figures that allow couples to move and utilize more space on the dance floor. There are a lot of upper body isolations (ribcage movements) as well as a signature hip pop on the four count. Modern Bachata has many turn patterns and incorporates body movements, isolations, and ladies’ styling.

Dominican Bachata 

This is the original style of Bachata. Holds in Dominican Bachata can vary significantly, ranging from a Cuban-style open hand hold to a tightly closed embrace, depending on the dancer’s mood, familiarity with their partner, and the nature of the song they are dancing to. The distinguishing characteristic of Dominican style Bachata lies in the footwork, which features playful syncopated steps, and an emphasis on strong hip movements on all counts. This style is commonly employed by experienced Bachata dancers for faster, more energetic Bachata music. The strong percussive beats and guitarra melodies lend themselves to the dynamic, syncopated footwork of the Dominican style.

Sensual Bachata 

Sensual Bachata emerged as a derivative of the Modern style. It draws inspiration from Zouk and Hip-Hop and emphasizes musicality in more intimate ways. The steps are the as in Modern Bachata but with fewer turn patterns. It emphasizes body waves, and shoulder, ribcage and hip isolations. You will often see this style of Bachata on YouTube but not as often on the dance floor. This is due to its relative novelty and the level of comfort required between dance partners.

Explore all three Bachata dance styles – Modern, Dominican and Sensual. You can combine them and find what works best for you, your partner and the song. Enjoy your journey of learning and experiencing the beauty of this captivating dance!

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