What is Bachata Dance?

What is Bachata Dance?

Just like many other dance styles, Bachata dance was inspired by music – in this case, traditional Bachata music which is a fusion of European and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Bachata originated in the early 1960s in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean and has since become popular all over the world. Both the dance and the music were heavily influenced by the Bolero from Cuba, the Merengue, Salsa and Cumbia. + Expand

Based on an easy-to-follow sequence of three on-beat steps and a tap to mark the fourth beat, it’s a fluid and seductive dance which is characterised by sensual swaying hips. The steps are flat footed although the knees are flexed throughout and bachata can be danced solo, in two-hand hold and in open or close embrace. The first three variations are usually used for social dancing and dance parties, while the close embrace is more common in nightclubs. 

However, there are still many Dominican people who don’t like this style of dance as it was once illegal in the country and considered to be a vulgar and sensual dance form that was part of the culture of the lower classes.

Despite its somewhat lowly reputation, over the years the dance has become a regular part of the Latin international dance scene. And as the dance has become more readily accepted, dance professionals have taken the basics of Bachata and added their own interpretations and styles, which has resulted in the development of three Bachata ‘sub-styles’ known as Dominican, Moderna and Sensual.


Dominican Bachata Dance

When answering the question ‘what is Bachata dance?’ most people will describe Dominican Bachata dance which is closest in style to the original dance from the Dominican Republic. This style is based around a simple square ‘box-step’ and is characterised by the smooth sway of the hips on every count. Dominican Bachata is usually danced in close partnership and so is very sensual.


Bachata Moderna

A modern adaptation of traditional Bachata, Bachata Moderna is recognised by an increase in upper-body movements and lower-body styling that’s more accentuated than other forms of the dance. Rather than using the traditional square ‘box-step’ it’s built around a ‘side-together-side’ step, but also incorporates numerous turn patterns from its close relative the Salsa.


Sensual Bachata

The third sub-style of Bachata, Sensual Bachata is the youngest style to develop. Using the same fundamental ‘side-together-side’ step as the Moderna, this sub-style incorporates many sensual and fluid movements which give this form of bachata its name.


Bachata Fusion 

While the three sub-styles have their unique elements, many people take a more freestyle approach, especially when dancing in social situations. This enables dancers to introduce their own interpretations while integrating all the aspects of Dominican, Moderna and Sensual together.



Want to Learn to Dance Bachata?

Due to its simple basic steps, Bachata is an easy dance to learn and so is a popular choice for beginners who want to learn Latin. All you need is a little rhythm, plenty of enthusiasm, loose hips and a good pair of Bachata dance shoes. At Burju Shoes we offer a fantastic selection of Latin dance footwear including shoes designed by world-renowned bachata dancer Tanja La Alemana, the bachata queen. So, why not head on down to your local dance studio and sign up for classes today? You never know where it might lead.

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