What’s Bachata dance?
Bachata is a dance originating in the Dominican Republic. When you dance Bachata it feels like you are on a beach with great friends…no work…just good times.
Below are the different styles of Bachata ordered from most danced to least danced. (Note, this is a general rule of thumb and some countries will have their own popular style at the top)
This fusion style has its foundations in the Western Traditional Style of Bachata, but with added dance elements and styling from Salsa, Tango, Zouk-lambada, and Ballroom. Moderna style Bachata figures emphasize the use of “the slot” (like in Salsa) but also incorporate circular figures that allow couples to travel and use more dance floor space. This style puts a larger emphasis on upper body (ribcage) movement on counts 1-2-3, while keeping the signature “hip pop” on count 4.
Distinguishing characterics of Moderna style Bachata are the use of many turn patterns (similar to salsa turn patterns). There is much more body movements, isolations and arm styling for ladies, which is not common in the Dominican or Western Traditional styles of Bachata.
2. Dominican Bachata
This is the original style of Bachata. The basic step moves within a small dance space (a square) with syncopated steps to express the music (guitarra). Embraces in Dominican style bachata vary greatly from Cuban style open hand hold to a very tight closed embrace, depending on the dancers mood, familiarity with their partner, and nature of the song they are dancing to.
Distinguishing characteristics of Dominican style is footwork – playful syncopated steps – and strong hip movements on all counts (not just on the 4th or tap step). Dominican style, that we know today, is the style that experienced Bachata dancers will use for the faster, more “punchier” Bachata music. Strong percussive beats and guitarra lines lend themselves to the strong, syncopated style of Dominican footwork.
3. Other styles (2005 and beyond):
Even though Bachata has been around for over 100 years in the Caribbean, it is a relatively new dance to the rest of the world. As such, Bachata is still in its infancy and new fusion styles are continually being created – influences of other partner type dances (even including non-Latin dances like West Coast Swing) is evolving the dance well beyond the basics of the original Dominican style. In this way, it can be argued that Bachata is a true dance “of the people” – reflecting the distinct flair and style of a region and being shared across the world, creating a wonderful diversity in the dance, while still keeping it universally accessible to all dancers.
New fusion styles that have been developed in the last 10 years include:
Urban Bachata: Hip Hop influenced
Bachatango/Bachata Tango: Argentine Tango influenced
Touch style: a very sensual fusion of Moderna and Dominican styles
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