Three Things to Know Before You Start Bachata

When I embarked on my dance journey, Salsa took the spotlight while Bachata remained on the sidelines. I must admit, I felt daunted by Bachata. It seemed so intimate. The dancers were so close, so smooth and sensual. It made me uncomfortable. In retrospect, this discomfort was a reflection of my lack of self-assurance. As I delved deeper into dancing and ventured into social dancing, I gradually grew more at ease. However, it took nearly a decade before I truly embraced Bachata. So here are three valuable insights that you should know before you start Bachata. 

All Connection is Good Connection

Bachata has a sexy reputation. People press against each other, engage in body waves, and create an atmosphere of intimacy. While this aspect of Bachata is beautiful, it represents just a fraction of what Bachata entails. When I started taking Bachata classes, I found the closeness intimidating. Sensuality forms only a small part of the connection you can establish. What I adore most about Bachata is its slow rhythm, accompanied by smooth, beautiful, relaxing, calming, and sexy music. Connection is built throughout the four minutes of a Bachata song by slowing down with your partner, ebbing and flowing in harmony with the music, irrespective of physical proximity. The first thing you should know about Bachata is that it is more about connection than forced intimacy.

Basics Trump Tricks 

Flashy moves like body waves and fancy footwork attract a lot of attention, but they are not necessary. Once I started dancing Bachata I realized that approximately 70 or 80% of their repertoire consisted of basic steps and turns. In any given song, you usually only employ four or five tricks. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize your foundation, your basics. You don’t have to master the latest, most impressive dip or neck roll to feel confident. Ultimately, it’s about you and your dance partner vibing together. The second thing to know about Bachata is that rather than aiming to impress with tricks, focus on building a genuine connection.

Embrace Your Community 

The Bachata community stands apart from the Salsa community in many ways that are difficult to articulate. Even if you begin with Salsa and later embrace Bachata, something within you shifts. Bachata is more about the camaraderie before and after socials or classes—enjoying drinks and food together. I wish someone had told me that the Bachata world becomes more vibrant when you open yourself up. Exchange phone numbers, create WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups, Instagram communities—whatever suits you—and build your network. For me, some of the most memorable moments in Bachata don’t always occur on the dance floor. So my third tip about Bachata probably holds true for most things in life, embrace the community. 

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