Bachata is a dance and a style of music that originated in the rural areas of the Dominican Republic. Bachata has become more and more popular over the years and has grown into many different styles across the world. I have been dancing bachata for quite a few years and after learning the basics of bachata realized i wanted to learn more.
After dancing bachata at different dance schools i coincidentally found a teacher that specialized in Dominican bachata, i have danced Dominican bachata for a few years now and want to tell you about the arrogance, the heartbreak and sadness as well as the passion that can be brought out in the dance. The original name for bachata is ‘Amargue’ which means i am told ‘Bitterness’. A question I hear a lot is ”what is the difference between the bachata styles” in the following article I shall try to explain the different styles of bachata that have evolved what makes them different, as well as how you can use all three styles. ”Remember bringing passion into your dance makes the dance beautiful”
Since coming to Europe bachata has evolved into three main styles. Each version of bachata has its own style and all three versions can be danced as one. European bachata is derived from salsa turns with influences from tango and even zouk. Freestyle bachata is when the follower have there own steps, the leader will still keep contact with the follower and sometimes its nice to even do the same steps as each other. Dominican bachata is the roots of bachata if done correctly you can see the dancers performing a story and bringing passion into the dance. Dominican bachata is true bachata from the roots its my favourite version, together with freestyle bachata and a bit of passion it looks and feels great.
Bachata started to become more popular in the early eighties mainly because a change of percussion instruments that made it sound more modern. The nineties brought on a further change with the introduction of electric guitars and then just after the millennium came the bachata band Aventura which brought bachata right across the globe. Dominican bachata is danced with a lot of tension, the best way to explain the tension between the dancers is to imagine it as a pulling and pushing movement to the music, a combination of steps that both dancers do to nearly every beat in the song and very few turns. The music tells a story and the dancers portray this in the dance, you can see in there body movements that they are showing anger or love for each other, you will see the follower is ignoring her partner and he is being arrogant to her. As the music changes you can see that the dancers also change.
When starting to learn Dominicans bachata you will be mainly busy with the steps and trying to get a grip of the movement, but as you improve and listen to a lot of bachata music you will find yourself slipping into the music and into a sort of trance where you are only busy with your partner and the rest of the world does not seem to exist.
European bachata as the name states evolved in Europe, since Dominicans bachata came to Europe it has taken on many styles, you hear names like Bachatango, sensual bachata, Rueda de bachata and so on, In most parts of Europe where salsa is prominent and dance schools have introduced Bachata you will notice that quite a few dance teachers have taken the timing and basic bachata steps and incorporated salsa turns and routines into the dance which has given Bachata a new twist. When you listen to modern Bachata you can hear these elements, some songs have a tango, reggaeton beat or break in the music, which can all be used to bring your own interpretation into the dance.
This is not always welcomed to the Dominican dancers of bachata, if you search on YouTube for bachata and read the comments left by viewers you will notice a lot of people have there own ideas of how bachata should be danced, but if you listen to the music and dance to the music you will feel the new rhythms and will want to dance to what you feel. I find too many dance schools spend a lot of time on routines and not enough time on teaching students passion, and tension that is required to dance bachata correctly. Most dance styles need tension for the leader to control the follower but in bachata it is so important even when dancing the European versions. European bachata can be a lot of fun, it can be very sexy, by all means flirt with you partner while dancing but do not forget the arrogance and sadness that can be heard in the music. Dancing European bachata should not be just about going through a routine.
Freestyle bachata. The different ways of holding hands while dancing bachata can determine the result, in Dominican bachata the man and partner hold hands with palms together and he would push and pull her into the movements, but in freestyle bachata only there fingers would be making contact this allows the follower to do there own thing! Not to lead but to dance independently from each other, the leader can decide to keep contact with both hands or just one hand depending on the piece of bachata music that is being played. Freestyle bachata would consist of loose steps, steps that the leader would do, can differ from the follower, the follower can decide for herself which steps she does and even take the lead from the man until he decides to take the lead again. Freestyle bachata is mostly danced to faster music or at a break in the music. There are some really nice examples of this to be seen on YouTube. Also on Dancebachata.nl