What Salsa Dancers Can Learn From Bachata

Salsa dancers can learn a lot from Bachata. I regret not starting Bachata sooner. For the first seven years, I exclusively did Salsa. I have learned so much from Bachata. Not only is it a beautiful dance on its own, but I have been able to apply Bachata techniques to my Salsa dancing. Here are 3 things you learn in Bachata as a Salsa Dancer:

Slowing Down is A Good Thing 

Salsa is fast and complicated. The learning curve is so much steeper than Bachata. If Salsa is driving on a highway and doing donuts and doing tricks, Bachata is being with a group of friends on a beach. There’s a bonfire, the sun is setting, people are smiling, nobody is in a rush. Bachata forced me to slow down and be more present. It’s a form of mindfulness that I never quite achieve in Salsa.  In fact, when I feel overwhelmed I turn on Bachata songs and dance to the flow.

It is OK to Miss a Beat or Move

When you first start Salsa it’s not very forgiving if you miss a beat. Salsa is not rhythmically even (quick quick slow) and if you miss or don’t do the move on the right count, you’re left feeling frustrated. Bachata is equal beats and if you miss a move for the first 4 beats, you can do it in the next four beats. You miss a step, it’s easy to catch up. It takes the pressure off. I learned to be a lot more forgiving of myself. You don’t really get that in Salsa until I learned it from Bachata.

Connection is Key

When I first started Salsa, my goal was always to impress my follower. I wanted to try out all the cool moves. I spent so much  energy on getting approval from partners. Bachata doesn’t ask for fancy moves, it asks for connection to the partner. It asks for more playfulness between you and your partner. I’ve done a lot more in isolations in Bachata because there’s more time for it. Bachata is about the vibe, the flow, the nuances. So Bachata taught me to become more connected with my partner and not worry about impressing them.

I don’t think that any dancers should just be focused on one-style of dance. Not because it’s wrong but because you are closing yourself off to a world of growth, things you can take from one style of dance and bring it to another. Each dance has it’s own personality, it’s own community, it’s own energy and so be open. Explore, learn and grow!

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