Sensational Bachata Styles
BASIC BACHATA DANCE STEPS
The basics to the dance are three-step with a Cuban hip motion, ended by a tap on the 4th beat just like in other Latin dances. The movement of the hips is very important because it’s a part of the soul of the dance. Generally controlled full body movement is crucially important in the dance, but most of it comes from the hips. In partnering, the lead can decide whether to perform in open or closed position, depending on the lead’s comfort position.
Dance moves, or step variety, during performance strongly depends on the music setting, mood, and interpretation. Unlike Salsa, Bachata does not require many complex turns; although they are very well used when the musicality is understood and interpreted correctly. The leading is done just like in most other dances, with a “pushing and pulling” hand communication.
Another way to think about the Bachata steps is “step-together-step, touch”. For each step, the follower mirrors the leader’s steps. For steps 5, 6, 7 and 8, the basic steps are the same, but in the opposite direction. In reality, this is a very factual rendition of an incredibly fluid and dynamic dance where partners move together in harmony. The key to Bachata dance is to get the timing right.
TYPES OF BACHATA DANCE
Several types of dance influence Bachata, from Bolero to Merengue. However, the sensual accents and quicker steps distinguish Bachata from other forms of dance. Take a look at these seven most popular Bachata styles:
The original Bachata style comes from the Dominican Republic where the music also was born. The early style from around late fifties was danced only closed like a Bolero. Later the Basic steps moving within a small square was added danced both in closed and in open position depending on the dancers mood and the character of the music. This style is today danced all over The Caribbean, now also faster in accordance to faster music, adding more footwork, turns and rhythmic free style moves and with alternate between close (romantic) and open position (more playful adding footwork, turns, rhythmic torso etc.).
This style is danced with soft hip movements and a small pop on the 4th beat (1, 2, 3, hip). Contains a side-to-side motion and is filled with lots of footwork and freestyle moves. With more bounce than other types of Bachata, dancers alternate between the close and open positions.
Although “Dominican-style” is used to describe the way Bachata is danced in the Dominican Republic in comparison to “Traditional” or “Modern” Bachata styles there are different ways of dancing Bachata within the Dominican Republic. The styles vary a bit and may be influenced by region, a person age, socio-economic conditions and the music one is listening to at the time.
The first Non-Caribbean style developed in US and Europe around year 2000, based on the earlier Dominican Bachata (4 steps) but not quite the same. Currently is the most common style of Bachata danced all over the world as it was promoted with music from big Bachata stars such as Aventura, Xtreme, Monchy y Alexandra, to name a few. Basic Steps moving side to side or on the spot. The main characteristic of this style is the close connection with your partner and dancing also with soft hip movements and a small pop on the 4th beat (1, 2, 3, hip) - A very romantic style of Bachata like the early Dominican Bachata because of keeping the dance close.
Another and more different style originated in Europe around 2005 and popularised in Australia around 2007. Basic Steps in a side to side motion, moving not only left-to-right as the Traditional style, but also incorporating movements from other styles of dance, as well as the concept of crosses (cross on1, cross on2, cross on3), but on the 4th count keeping the pop or hip movement.
Bachata Moderna also use spins taken from X-body salsa, however Modern Style Dancers claims that the dynamics of the Modern Style are based on maintaining the essence of the Bachata basic which sometimes can be difficult to see. Nowadays at present, dancers are also incorporating styling movements borrowed from Zouk (backwards and forwards bended Torso/Body movements). Bachata Moderna includes different sub styles such as “Bachatango” and “urban Bachata”. Bachata Moderna is growing in popularity, as it is one of the few Bachata styles where rules and techniques have been standardised.
Known as a sub-style of Bachata Moderna, this style of dance consists of basic steps, short sequences moving side to side but mostly tango steps danced like tango. Characterised by elaborated kicks, embellished dips, magnificent turn and long pauses prominent in Tango, the position for dance partners is very close. Bachata Tango focuses more on sensuality and less on intricate footwork.
Even though Bachatango is unheard of in the Dominican Republic, Bachata’s country of origin, BachaTango has become widely popular with foreign instructors.
Characterised as a fusion of Modern Bachata and Hip-Hop, Urban Bachata is a fast-paced Bachata with an urban flavour. This style of Bachata is danced in all directions (not just side-to-side) and integrates new elements of sharp musicality, turn patterns and urban attitude.
Inspired by Cuban Rueda de Casino, this Bachata style is for a group of couples dancing Bachata in a circle with a leader calling out movements to be performed in unison. In general, the moves called out follow the music and tend to be less complicated. Bachata Rueda incorporates various patterns and frequent partner changes.
A style developed in US/Europe for competition dance only, with very extreme hip movements and lots of ballroom dance styling. It is used predominantly for Ballroom competitions rather than social dancing.
There are “many other styles” of Bachata from the West, pioneered and promoted by different teachers around the world, each with its own distinct flair. Whether these are considered completely different styles or simply variations of the main styles above is often argued by teachers and students alike.
WHAT’S YOUR BACHATA STYLE?
There are many forms of Bachata for you to enjoy. You just need to find the one that suits you best, or enjoy all styles of Bachata dance. Just let the music be your guide and feel the Bachata Sensation!