What is bachata – the history of appearance, basic movements and how to learn how to dance at home

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Bright, dynamic and sensual dance – bachata, appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century, but is experiencing the peak of its popularity only now. The homeland of lyrical but incendiary dance is the Dominican Republic, and it acquired the characteristic features in the Caribbean. This musical style has gained worldwide recognition, to a greater extent thanks to Latin American performers..

Bachata Dance History

It is known that the dance originated in the thirties of the twentieth century, and a little later, bachata became a folk way to get away from problems, relax, become happier. In the 60s, the Dominican Republic was going through difficult times – the republic was in a state of cold war with Washington due to rampant corruption and the obvious falsification of elections. The people had a hard time while politicians fought for power. Bachata was danced to cheer up in bars, on the streets, a path near the house. The dance came from the “lower classes” and was considered vulgar – its performance was not encouraged at social events.

A major role in the popularization and development of style was played by singers and composers from the Dominican Republic, who achieved world fame. One of them, Juan Luis Guerra, released the album Bachata rosa, which was recognized by the Dominican high society, which opened the way to world-wide recognition for the sensual musical style. Songs from the album rotated radio, television, played at weddings, parties. By the end of the century, bachata began to win the hearts of Latin American music fans around the world. She is danced at salsoteca, clubs, discos dedicated to the Dominican theme.


Bachata is an original, memorable, but not complicated dance. It is performed at a moderate, even melancholy pace, and the rhythmic pattern is 4/4. The finished measure is three steps, and at the count of “four” – the movement of the hip and the step of the straightened leg. The dance is characterized by the proximity of partners on the verge of eroticism and passion, as well as measured, sensual music. The dance is concentrated in smooth movements, swaying hips and moving with springy legs. At the same time, the hands of partners perform simple movements, complementing the overall picture of the composition.

Couple dancing bachata

What is the difference between salsa and bachata

Bachata is very similar to salsa – both dances are built on a 4/4 time signature, great importance is given to the smooth movements of the hips. At the same time, salsa has many varieties, in some dance styles the first step is performed on a strong share, in others – on a weak one. There are lyrical, but there are incendiary compositions. Salsa is danced alone, in a pair, three or four.

Bachata is less diverse, it is tender, sensuality and frankness are expressed in it. This is an erotic dance, it symbolizes passion, it is danced in pairs. Salsa is more energetic, music is more complicated in it, various figures are present. It takes time to learn how to dance. Professionals advise starting with bachata, and then proceed with the development of salsa. Almost all salsero and Latin American dance lovers know how to dance both dances.


Bachata is a characteristic musical style that talks about unrequited love, the difficulties that lovers experience on the way to their happiness. The music is a mixture of two styles – Cuban sleep and Spanish bolero dance. At the same time, in bachat there is no rhythm inherent in many areas of Afro-Cuban styles, but there is an invariable melody – addictive, sexy. The main core of the melody is a sad melancholy motive, with notes of nostalgia, longing for lost love.

The key instrument is an ordinary acoustic guitar, its enumeration is combined with rekinto. This instrument is the closest relatives of the guitar, but the sounds extracted from it have a metallic timbre and resemble African motifs. The rhythm is set by the Cuban double drums, which the musician holds with his feet. In combination with percussion instruments, maraki or guino perform, brightening the monotonous melody and giving it an expressive sensual coloring.

In the 90s, the style of music began to change, thanks to its promoters. Manuel Tejada adorned the arrangement of his songs with the sound of a synthesizer and accordion, while Anthony Santos changed the rhythm of the music and accelerated it due to tempo variations. Bachata Cabaret and techno suggest the presence of rhyme in the words of songs that have a double meaning, balancing on the verge of eroticism and vulgarity.


Bachata dance does not have a wide variety of styles, but three main ones can be distinguished. Among them are the following areas:

  • Dominican variety or classic version. This style of bachata dance is traditional for the islands, it is romantic and sincere, but not widely used in the world. The spotlight is the movement of the legs of the dancers, complex figures that are performed with the participation of the hips and waist.
  • Urban or European bachata is a popular dance form. The main emphasis is on the work of the body and movement of the partner’s hips. Suitable for beginners – the dance consists of simple steps and a minimum of complex figures.
  • Modern. The style is modern interspersed with hip-hop and other specific movements of popular dances. This is the club genre of bachata – it is dynamic, fiery, which is still developing.

Dance lesson

How to dance bachata

This dance is designed to work in pairs, but the basic movements are studied one by one. Key elements of bachata:

  • Base step. Bend the right knee, move the body weight to the left. Take a step to the right, shift the weight to the same side, put the left foot, repeat. Perform all movements on the account “one, two, three, four.” Take two steps the other way..
  • Back and forth. The left leg is motionless, the right one needs to take a step forward, put the foot, then take a step back and put it again. Accompany the steps with the movements of the hips, transferring body weight from the right leg to the left, and vice versa.
  • Turn. Become straight, looking in front of you. On the count of “times” with the right foot you need to take a step to the side, while turning the body to the right. At the expense of “two” turn 90 ° on the right leg, placing the left at a shoulder-width distance. Raise your left thigh and put your foot on your toe. Continue to describe the circumference with the body, turning on the left foot. Return to the starting position, finish with an accent, lifting the right thigh and bending the knee. Repeat the other way.
  • Moving forward with the “eight” hips. Take a step forward, transfer body weight to the right thigh, put the left leg, bending both knees. Simultaneously with the step, load the left thigh, then the right thigh again. Try to describe the hips “eight” lying in a horizontal plane.
  • Crossing steps. Take the right foot step to the side, transfer the body weight to the right thigh. Tighten the left leg, placing it in front of the right so that it turns out a cross. At the expense of “three”, take another step with the right foot to the side, and at the expense of “four” – pull up the left leg, bending the legs at the knees. Each step involves the transfer of weight to the thigh, while relaxing it along the way. At the expense of “four” it is necessary to raise the left thigh up due to the contraction of the lateral muscles of the waist.

During the dance, the arms can be bent at the elbows, and the hands should be held in front of you. Moving hips, hands make circular movements, trying not to focus on them. The beginner’s task is to learn how to walk and move his hips to the beat, catching the lyrical rhythm of bachata. Over time, you can try to connect your hands, but when working with a pair, they are under the shoulder blades of a partner.

How to learn to dance

It is quite possible to master the principles of dance on your own – you can hone your skills by dancing in front of a mirror. Learning to dance bachata at home is possible at the initial stage. When moving to the next level, when a partner is required, it is better to go to courses or pay for individual lessons with a trainer. There are several dance schools in Moscow where they will learn to dance, and the first lesson will be free. These are GallaDance, dance schools “Bachata”, “Spicy Salsa” and “Keep the rhythm.” Starting to study, you should take into account the following features of the dance:

Lesson bachata

  • Bachata implies close contact between the dancers – physical and emotional. Sometimes the need for intimacy becomes an obstacle to learning dance.
  • Dance requires a dancing sense of rhythm, you need to listen to music and strive to get to the beat. This will help achieve synchronization with partner movements..
  • In parallel with training on the dance floor, flexibility should be developed – this quality is necessary for the high-quality mastery of the dance.
  • Homework is conducted to music in front of a mirror to see erroneous execution of movements..
  • To make the dancer feel confident in clothes and shoes – it is advisable to wear a tracksuit and comfortable shoes or high heel sandals.
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