When you want to try a new dance, it can be hard to decide where to start. If you love salsa dancing, it might be time to try bachata. Bachata is a dance style that originated in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s. It is a romantic, sensual dance that involves close body contact and fluid hip movements. The music that accompanies bachata dancing is usually acoustic guitar-based, and the lyrics are often poetic and emotional. Bachata was once seen as a low-class form of entertainment in the Dominican Republic but as it spread to other countries, it gained popularity and respect. In this blog post, we will explore the history and origins of bachata, as well as the different types of bachata dances that have emerged over time.
Origins of Bachata
The word “bachata” is used to describe a reunion or party. It was generally enjoyed by the lower classes and looked down upon by the higher social classes (much like rock and roll during the 1950s). As time passed, it grew in popularity. By the 1980s, it had spread beyond the borders of Latin America and captured the hearts of those in the USA, UK, and other countries.
The origins of bachata dancing are somewhat murky. Some people believe that it began as a form of music and dance among rural peasants in the Dominican Republic. Others believe that it was influenced by Latin American bolero music, which was popular in the Caribbean in the mid-20th century. What is known for sure is that bachata started to gain popularity in the 1960s, with the rise of Dominican radio stations and musicians like Jose Manuel Calderon and Rafael Encarnacion. Over time, it evolved and moved around the world, with each country developing its interpretation of the dance. However, each variation has the same three-step basic movements.
Types of Bachata Dances
As bachata music spread beyond the Dominican Republic, it began to evolve and split into different styles. These styles are practiced all over the world and have various interpretations based on the country the style comes from. Let’s look at the different types of bachata.
Bachata Traditional: This is the original style of bachata that emerged in the 1960s. It involves basic steps, side-to-side movement, and a close embrace. The music is usually slow and romantic, with a heavy emphasis on the guitar.
Bachata Dominicana: This style of bachata is more upbeat and energetic than traditional bachata. It involves more footwork and faster movements. The music is usually faster and more complex, with a greater emphasis on percussion.
Bachata Fusion in Central America: As bachata spread to other countries in Latin America, it began to blend with local music and dance styles. In Central America, bachata are fused with salsa and merengue, resulting in a more lively and dynamic dance style.
Bachata “Dominicana” in Europe/Central America: This style of bachata is popular primarily in Europe and Central America. It combines elements of traditional and Dominicana-style bachata and often includes dips and turns.
Bachata Urbana/Moderna: This is a more modern style of bachata that emerged in the 2000s. It involves more sensual movements and a looser embrace. The music is often a fusion of bachata and hip-hop or R&B.
Bachatango: This style of bachata blends elements of Argentine tango with traditional bachata. It involves more elaborate footwork and a more theatrical performance style.
Bachata Sensual/”Bachazouk”: This is a style of bachata that emphasizes sensual body movements and dips. It often incorporates elements of zouk and kizomba, two dances that also originated in Africa. The music is usually slower and more sensual, with a greater emphasis on the vocal melody.
The beautiful thing about bachata is that as you learn it, you develop your style and movements. While not all bachata dances are the same, they all have the same origins that can be built up to develop a customized, exciting dance that you will want to engage in time and time again.
What is the Difference Between Traditional and Sensual Bachata?
The main difference is in the way the dancers move their bodies. Traditional bachata involves a close embrace and fluid hip movements but is generally more reserved and respectful. Sensual bachata, on the other hand, emphasizes sensual body isolations and often incorporates more elaborate dips and lifts. It is usually danced in a looser and more playful embrace, and the music is usually slower and more sensual as well.
Bachata is a dance style that has undergone significant evolution and transformation over the years, as it has spread beyond its Dominican roots and integrated with other music styles and cultures. Each type of bachata dance reflects the unique history and influences of the country in which it emerged. Whether you prefer traditional, Dominicana, or sensual bachata, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this romantic and expressive dance style. So, grab a partner and hit the dance floor – you just might fall in love with bachata!
Want to Learn Bachata?
Salsa Kings has been offering great dance lessons in Miami for 20 years. With us, you can find the perfect salsa class or bachata lesson for adults and couples, no matter where you are in Miami-Dade or Broward County! We have experienced instructors who know how to help make your dancing dreams come alive.
Take a step away from everyday life and immerse yourself into the culture of Latin Dance by joining one of our classes. Not only will this be an amazing way to get some exercise with friends, but it will also allow you to express yourself and have fun while learning something completely new.
Whether you want to practice in a studio or virtually, in the privacy of your own home, we have classes to suit your needs. Sign up now at our website to join one of Salsa King’s salsa or bachata classes (salsakings.com/group) today. In a matter of weeks, you will be able to impress everyone around you with your newly learned dance skills!