How to Improve Your Bachata Dancing

Everyone wants to level up their dancing. These tips may seem really nitpicky but I promise the payoff is huge. Here are some excellent tips on how to improve your Bachata Dancing.

Dance like a T-Rex. 

Sounds silly and completely unsexy I know but trust me it works. So if you are 5’7 (1.44 m) , I want you to bend your knees so you are now about 5’5 (1.65 m) and keep your weight on the balls of your feet.  Imagine you are leaning against a high bar stool. Since you are leaning against the imaginary bar stool, it will be easier to remember to keep your bum back and down. That’s the T-Rex position.

You can also think of it like skating or roller-blading so center of gravity needs to be lower so you are more balanced. You don’t skate or roller-blade with locked knees. And you don’t want to bounce up and down or rock back and forth when skating or roller-blading because you are more likely to fall. The same holds true in dance. Keep your centre of gravity low, don’t dance on your toes and don’t lean in. You will stay balanced and look so much smoother.

By sitting in this T-Rex position and keeping your weight on the balls of your feet you will also save your knees. Your quads and your calves will be engaged if you sit bum back, with your knees bent, but your knees shouldn’t feel any strain.

Quarter, Quarter, Half and Tap

The best piece of advice I can give you (that I admit I was also given and promptly ignored to my own detriment) is to think of doing turns as quarter, quarter, half and tap.

Bachata steps are 1, 2, 3, tap on 4, 5, 6, 7, tap on 8. Turns are the same but if you think of it as a quarter turn, quarter turn, half turn and tap it will get easier. On leaders’ timing if you are turning to the left, you do a twist for a quarter turn and move your left foot on 1, keep twisting to the left to do another quarter turn and move your right foot on two. Count three you move your left foot to do a half turn so you will be facing the same way as when you started. On four you complete the move by tapping with your right.

If you watch great Bachata dancerstheir turns are clean and elegant. It is almost surgical. But they never look like they are rushing. If you feel like you are rushing or falling at the end of your turns, remembering quarter, quarter, half and tap will help.

Twist With Your Torso

With your closed eyes, imagine talking to a friend and someone tapping you on the shoulder; what would turn first? Your foot, your head, or your torso? It would always be your head, followed immediately by your torso, and then your foot comes around. And that’s actually how turns in bachata should work!

So the biggest mistake I made and had to work hard on is when I would do turns, I would step out with my foot, and my body would follow through, but that doesn’t make sense. When you turn, you should be turning with your core. Turn your head to look in the direction you are going, twist with your torso to start turning your body and let your foot follow along.

How to Put these Tips into Practice. 

Position yourself facing a mirror, a picture on the wall or your dance partner. If you are a leader, use your left foot to step out to the left on one. If you are a follower, use your right foot while you’re stepping out to your right on one.

Leaders put your right hand on your belly button. Followers use your right hand. Now look in the direction you are going and twist with your belly and let your feet follow along.  As you are turning say quarter, quarter, half and tap. When you finish, you should be facing the same person or thing as when you started.

Learning that it’s more of a twist with your torso or core versus a step with your foot significantly improves the speed and the quality of your turns.

Click on the link to learn more tips on Dancing Bachata for Beginners.

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