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Bachata Dance



The Inhibition and the Rise of Bachata

Bachata dance is known for its love stories, and its syncopated rhythm. The dance actually was born of the music in the Dominican Republic during the 1960’s. Unfortunately, a dictatorship that found Bachata to be an art form of low standing held the music and the dance back for decades. Recent years, however, have seen the heartbreaking stories of the Bachata evolve and grow into a worldwide sensation.

The History & Origins of Bachata

Bachata originated in the 1960’s throughout the countryside of the Dominican Republic. The music was first developed with a heavy guitar emphasis and heartrending love stories as its basis. However, it grew primarily within bars and brothels, and this led to Bachata being held back for literally decades.

The Dominican Republic was being led by a dictator by the name of Trujillo during the time that Bachata was born. He absolutely embraced and set Meringue on a pedestal. However, he abhorred Bachata. Not only did he find it personally offensive, claiming that it was a lower art form, he actually banned both the music and the dance completely. Therefore during his reign, Bachata was only enjoyed in the brothels. Naturally, this did not help its credibility and kept it from evolving as the other dance styles born in the Domincan did during that time. Even after the Trujillo reign ended, the Bachata was still frowned upon by society.

Although the Bachata dance itself is a spinoff of the music, in recent years the music has grown more slowly than the dance. Bachata dance continues to grow and thrive all over the world, and has finally reached a place where it is widely accepted.

Bachata's Basic Steps

Originally, the basic step of the Bachata was danced from front to back. Now, however, it is more commonly danced from side to side. It is counted one, two, three, hip. The hip action of the Bachata, specifically the female partner’s hip action, is the most notable characteristic of this dance.

The Three Most Popular Bachata Styles

There are several different styles of Bachata dance, some of which closely resemble the original one and others being more stylized. Bachata, however, is still growing and evolving.

  • The Dominican Bachata is the truest form in that it is danced according to the original style. Typically, the traditional Bachata does not require a lot of turn patterns, and incorporates many free style movements that are not seen in the more structured Bachata styles. Also, Dominican Bachata has a good deal of footwork, and a bouncy feel to it.
  • Bachata Moderna, otherwise known as Modern Style, is the newest form of Bachata. It retains some of the traditional Bachata elements, but it is also heavily influenced by Tango and Bolero, among other Latin dance forms. The Modern Style relies heavily on crosses, but it does keep the typical Bachata hip movement on each four count.
  • The Traditional Style is the type of Bachata that has spread across the globe. While the original Bachata is similarly romantic, it does not have such a strong emphasis on turn patterns. Dips are also heavily used in the Traditional Bachata Style, but that eternal hip movement on the fourth beat is consistent even here.

The Music that led to Bachata Dance

Bachata music has experienced the same ups and downs that the dance has since the 1960’s. It has had to fight for survival just as the dance has. Aside from the fact that Trujillo was not a fan of Bachata, the Dominican Republic was in love with Salsa and Meringue music during its birth as well. That love combined with Trujillo’s hate led to a dead end street for Bachata music and dance for many years. However, this guitar based music has indeed survived, and continues to grow and thrive in popularity all over the world.

In 1992, Juan Luis Guerra solidified Bachata’s place in the music industry when he was awarded a Grammy for “Bachata Rosa.” Later, Aventura stayed at the top of the food chain in Latino markets globally with their single “Obsession,” which is another Bachata tune. There are many other notable artists still creating Bachata music, such as Zacarias Ferrera and Anthony Santos.

Bachata Social Dancing

Social Bachata can be enjoyed and danced in various settings depending on your location and preferences. Here are some common places and venues where you can immerse yourself in the world of social Bachata:

  • Dance Studios and Schools: Many dance studios offer Bachata classes followed by social dancing events where students and instructors come together to practice and enjoy the dance in a friendly environment.
  • Latin Nightclubs and Bars: Numerous Latin nightclubs and bars host Bachata nights or Latin dance nights where DJs play Bachata music or, mostly on the weekends, there are live bands playing the instruments used in bachata dance, creating a vibrant atmosphere for social dancing.
  • Dance Socials and Meetups: Joining local dance socials, meetups, or dance communities dedicated to Bachata can provide opportunities to connect with fellow enthusiasts, attend organized events, and participate in social dancing gatherings.
  • Cultural Centers and Community Events: Check out cultural centers, community centers, or local events that celebrate Latin culture, music, and dance as they may organize Bachata dance nights or social gatherings where you can dance and connect with like-minded individuals.

By exploring these avenues and staying connected with your local dance community, you can discover various opportunities to dance social Bachata, improve your skills, and immerse yourself in the vibrant and passionate world of Bachata dancing.

Bachata Competitions, Congresses & Festivals

As Bachata dance’s popularity continues to grow, so does professional competitions which endorse it. Several Bachata competitions and events were regularly held around the world. While the specific competitions may vary from year to year, here are some well-known Bachata competitions that have been popular in recent years:

  • World Latin Dance Cup (WLDC): The World Latin Dance Cup is one of the largest and most prestigious Latin dance competitions in the world. It typically includes divisions for Bachata, Salsa, and other Latin dance styles. Bachata competitors from around the globe showcase their skills in various categories, including traditional, sensual, and fusion Bachata.
  • Bachata Championships: Various regional and national Bachata championships are held in countries around the world, offering dancers the opportunity to compete and showcase their talents on a local or national stage. These championships often feature multiple categories and divisions to accommodate dancers of different skill levels and styles.
  • Bachata Congress Competitions: Many Bachata congresses and festivals include competitions as part of their event programming. These competitions may feature categories such as Bachata couple's showcase, Bachata teams, and Bachata choreography, allowing dancers to compete in different formats and styles.
  • Online Competitions: With the rise of virtual events and online platforms, there has been an increase in online Bachata competitions where dancers can submit video entries for judging and evaluation. These competitions provide opportunities for dancers from around the world to participate without the need for travel.

It's essential to check our Latin & Salsa & Bachata Dancing Festivals Worldwide calendar for latest updates and announcements about Bachata competitions, congresses and festivals around the world.

Bachata Evolution and Current Trends 

Today, Bachata continues to thrive as a vibrant dance form with various styles and influences. Here are some aspects of Bachata dance and current trends:

  • Styles: Bachata has several styles, including Traditional Bachata, Modern Bachata, Sensual Bachata, and Dominican Bachata. Each style has its unique characteristics in terms of music interpretation, footwork, and body movement.
  • Sensual Bachata: Sensual Bachata has gained significant popularity in recent years, especially in Europe and the United States. This style emphasizes close connection between partners, intricate body movement, dips, and sensual styling. It often incorporates elements of other dance styles like Tango and Zouk.
  • Fusion with Other Styles: Bachata continues to evolve through fusion with other dance styles, such as Hip Hop, Salsa, and Contemporary. This fusion brings new creativity and diversity to Bachata dance performances and social dancing.
  • Influence of Social Media: Social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have played a significant role in spreading Bachata worldwide. Dancers share videos of performances, tutorials, and challenges, contributing to its global reach and popularity.
  • International Festivals and Congresses: Bachata festivals and congresses are held around the world, attracting dancers of all levels to workshops, performances, and social dancing events. These gatherings provide opportunities for dancers to learn from renowned instructors, connect with other dancers, and immerse themselves in the Bachata community.
  • Innovation in Choreography: Choreographers are constantly pushing the boundaries of Bachata choreography, incorporating storytelling, theatrical elements, and innovative partnering techniques. This creativity adds depth and excitement to Bachata performances on stage and in competitions.
  • Accessibility: Bachata has become more accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds through classes offered at dance studios, community centers, and online platforms. Beginners can easily learn the basics of Bachata and progress to more advanced levels with dedicated practice and instruction.

Overall, Bachata dance continues to evolve and thrive, driven by its passionate community of dancers, musicians, and choreographers. Its diverse styles, fusion with other genres, and accessibility contribute to its enduring popularity in the global dance scene.


Frequently Asked Questions About Bachata Dance

What is Bachata dance style?

Bachata is a style of social dance that originated in the Dominican Republic. It features sensual movements, close partner connection, and rhythmic footwork, typically danced to music with heartfelt lyrics and guitar-driven melodies.

What does Bachata stand for?

The term "Bachata" originally referred to an informal gathering or party. Over time, it came to represent both the music and dance style that originated in the Dominican Republic. The word "Bachata" is believed to have African roots, possibly derived from the word "bachar," meaning to beat or strike, reflecting the percussive nature of the music.

Is Bachata dance easy to learn?

Bachata can be relatively easy to learn for beginners due to its simple basic steps and repetitive patterns. However, mastering styling, body movement, and musical interpretation may require more time and practice.

Do I need a partner to learn Bachata?

While having a partner can enhance the learning experience, it's not necessary to have one to learn Bachata. Many dance studios offer group classes where individuals can rotate partners. Additionally, solo dancers can practice footwork and styling exercises independently.

What should I wear to a Bachata dance class?

Wear comfortable clothing that allows freedom of movement. Women typically wear skirts, dresses, or leggings, while men often wear trousers or jeans. Choose shoes with smooth soles that allow for easy pivoting and sliding on the dance floor.

Are there different styles of Bachata dance?

Yes, there are several styles of Bachata dance, including traditional, modern, sensual, and Dominican. Each style has its unique characteristics, techniques, and musical interpretation.

How can I improve my Bachata dancing skills?

Practice regularly, attend classes, workshops, and social dance events, and seek feedback from instructors or more experienced dancers. Focus on refining your technique, musicality, and connection with your partner to enhance your overall dancing skills.

Is Bachata dance suitable for all ages and fitness levels?

Yes, Bachata dance can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Beginners can start with basic steps and gradually progress to more advanced movements as they gain confidence and skill. Many dance classes offer options for dancers of different experience levels, ensuring an inclusive and enjoyable learning environment.

Is Bachata sexier than Salsa?

The perceived level of "sexiness" in Bachata versus Salsa is subjective and may vary depending on personal preferences and cultural interpretations. Both dances can be sensual and evoke emotions, but they have distinct styles and movements that appeal to different individuals.

Why is Bachata so sensual?

Bachata's sensuality can be attributed to its music, movements, and cultural roots. The music often features romantic lyrics and melodies, creating a passionate atmosphere. The dance itself emphasizes close partner connection, intimate body movements, and sensual interactions between dancers.

Is Bachata harder than Salsa?

The difficulty of Bachata versus Salsa can vary depending on individual preferences, background, and experience. Some may find Bachata easier to learn due to its slower tempo and simpler basic steps, while others may find Salsa easier due to its more structured patterns and faster pace.

Why was Bachata illegal?

In the past, Bachata music and dance were associated with the lower socioeconomic classes in the Dominican Republic and were often marginalized by the elite society. Due to its themes of love, heartbreak, and social issues, Bachata was considered provocative and indecent by some sectors of society. As a result, it faced censorship and was banned from radio and television broadcasts in the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo dictatorship (1930s to 1960s). However, despite the censorship, Bachata persisted and eventually gained widespread popularity both within the Dominican Republic and internationally. is the leading portal for dance professionals, learners and enthusiasts featuring editorials on different dance styles and events calendars. Discover latin dances, tap dance, ballroom, social and other events in your city at our most popular Salsa dancing calendars in USA: NYC Salsa, Los Angeles Salsa, Chicago Salsa, San Diego Salsa, Houston Salsa, Las Vegas Salsa, Portland Salsa, Seattle Salsa, Austin Salsa, in United Kingdom: London Salsa, in Canada: Toronto Salsa, Vancouver Salsa, in France: Paris Salsa, in Ireland: Dublin Salsa, in Spain: Barcelona Salsa, Madrid Salsa, in Germany: Berlin Salsa, Frankfurt Salsa; Tango Dancing calendars in USA: New York Tango, Seattle Tango and Swing Dance Events in USA: NYC Swing Dance and more!



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