Dancing Bachata for Beginners

Dancing Bachata for beginners is easier than you think! Bachata is one of the few dances you don’t need to know a ton of moves in order to go to a club and dance to some Bachata songs. There are some very beginner friendly moves that will let you go out and have fun. Here are my recommendations of what you should learn.

Master the Side Basics

Bachata has eight beats. You move in one direction for four counts and then you move back to where you started for the next four counts. The basic steps as a leader or a follower are three steps and then a tap.

As a leader, you start with your left foot, you step to the left on 1, bring your right foot in together on 2, step out with your left on 3, and TAP with your right on 4.  Since you tapped with your right, on 5 you step to your right, bring your left in on 6, step to the right on 7 and tap on 8.  Rinse and repeat.

Followers steps are exactly the same but you start stepping with your right foot. So, leaders, you start moving with your left foot and followers, you start moving with your right foot.

Here is one of my favourite tricks to help my students: The fastest way to get the basic steps down and make it automatic is, as you’re practicing, say out loud, three steps, and tap, three steps, and tap over and over. Three steps and a tap, three steps and tap. If you say it out loud, you’ll pick it up sooner.

A Left or “Inside” Turn

Leaders, you do what we call a “C Prep”  as you’re stepping out to your left on 1, 2, 3, 4. Sounds complicated but just think of it like drawing the letter C with your left hand. Then using your left hand, you spin the partner inside or counterclockwise on 5, 6, 7, 8. Followers, as you’re going on, 5, 6, 7, 8 to the left, you’re spinning inside.

For followers and leaders whenever you are doing a turn or spin remember that the turn starts from your head and goes down to your toes. So turn your head, then your body and your feet will follow. It seems counter-intuitive but trust me, it works. A basic turn is a minimum requirement to dance to a single song; therefore, we teach it in the very first class of nine weeks.

“Back to Back” Turns

A leader should do turns both to the left and the right when leading a partner. Once you have this skill set, one of the basic combinations you can do is what we call the “Back to Back move. We love back-to-back turns because they are not complicated and look beautiful on the dance floor.

You start the same way as we did above. Leaders do the C prep on 1,2,3,4 and turn their followers on 5,6,7,8.  This time don’t drop the hand – keep it raised to the followers head height and still using your left hand, you turn them outside to the right (or clockwise) this time on 1,2,3,4.

From the follower’s perspective, this move requires you to turn to the right, which is turning clockwise on 1, 2, 3, 4.  Leaders you are stirring both inside and outside, and this creates the base for many combinations.

There is so much more to learn in Bachata, but if you know those three basic things, side basic,  single turns for the follower, and back to back turns at a minimum, you can dance for four songs, which equals having lots of fun on a night out compared to remain as an observer while others dance.

Please don’t forget dancing is never about the dance moves. It’s about connecting with your partner. When I started dancing as a leader, I didn’t feel that way. I thought that my partner would be happier if I had more moves. Then I realized the thing that makes my partners happy is my smile while dancing and me sending out positive energy.

If you want to feel relaxed and confident when dancing, come and join us!!. You will learn modern Bachata and the next time you go to any nightclub, you will see it, you will be able to be a part of it, so check out our site for Bachata Level one. If you want even more tips on Bachata check out Bachata Dancing for Dummies.

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].