Bachata is amazing. It’s a blend of sequence and sensuality, and that’s why people love it. On the surface, it may seem simple, and with the basic steps, it is. But it’s so much more than that. Bachata provides a framework to dance in and out of a plane of movement. It’s perfect as both an introductory dance and as a playground for the advanced.
It’s infamous for getting couples to learn how their partners move. It’s a staple in Latin dance nights across the world. It’s huge for a reason. If you’re interested in learning the background, the culture, and styles of Bachata, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know to start.
Origin Story and Profile
Bachata has a very clear origin. When you talk about other dances, there’s always a jumbled salad of origin stories, and It’s hard to pinpoint. Bachata very clearly comes from the lively neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. It showed up around the 1960s during fiestas. Guloya? You’re bound to see bachata. Virgen de Altagracia? Expect to hear Tu Bachata Radio – Bachata Music and people dancing to their heart’s content. It sets a certain ambiance. It’s perfect for a late afternoon or a starry sky. It’s playful, and it’s intimate. It’s a dance that doesn’t take itself too seriously, unlike tango. It’s tailored for individuals and can be scaled up and scaled back. It’s the perfect party dance.
What Makes Bachata Special
What makes bachata different is that nobody is dominating the other. There’s no clear lead, per se. It’s a back and forth of non-verbal cues. It’s like having a conversation with your dance partner without saying a word. Why? Because your hips move in unison. Beyond the sensual implications, your hips are the central fulcrum of your entire body. If it moves, you move. If it’s being led, you follow. With bachata, the traditional horizontal movement has one swaying their hips together. It’s not a give and takes. It’s a mutual offering. It’s quite beautiful.
How to Bachata
The basic initiation of the dance is, outside of a smile and courteously asking if you may dance, are three steps to the left and a tap. This makes for four movements, matching the consistent 4’s of the seven-member band.
- Sidestep to left
- Bring the right together with the left.
- Sidestep to the left
- Bring the right together again.
- Tap with the right at the end of the 4th beat
- Repeat towards the other side
There you have it! That’s bachata! It’s as simple as that to start. Once you get that part, you will naturally start to feel yourself move. You’ll feel it in your hips, and you’ll gain confidence in your abilities. From there, you can start dancing.
Bachata is for everyone. It’s a shame that people don’t do it more often. But it is gaining traction. From the backyards of the Dominican Republic to mojito-filled nights in a secret Manila dance club, bachata is gaining its rightful place among the great, enjoyable, and immensely intimate dances. More importantly, it will surely gain a soft spot in your lexicon of moves.