Salsa > Bachata Hips - Which technique is correct?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Imbrace, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

  2. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    beautiful -- this is the bachata i love. such a wonderful romantic, intimate dance...
  3. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    The stepping action in bachata makes use of Cuban motion similar to merengue, and the hip movement on the 4 and 8 are only embellishments, and not required. Most very experienced bachateros only do a tap on the 4 and 8.

    When doing the hip movement on the 4 and 8, it is *not* a result of straightening a leg. This is a common misconception. It's actually about isolating the hip and doing a sideways "crunch", so that you isolate only the muscles involved in moving the hip upward on the side toward the rib-cage. This requires practice.

    The leg straightening is only really a further effect of the hip movement during the embellishment on 4 and 8, and you should never actually do the hip motion from the leg.

    Again, this applies only to the embellishment. With bachata stepping, normal weight transfer and normal cuban motion applies, where the hips do move as a result of the bending/straightening of the knees.
    vit likes this.
  4. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    I learned the above from privates with *very* reputable bachata dancers.

    I dance almost as much bachata as I do salsa, so have a fair amount of experience and knowledge. I'm happy to explain the mechanics of the hip movement in more detail, however one thing I need to say is that the hip action is not required in bachata and is actually rarely used in the DR. I consider it fairly "old school" and only really use it when doing bachata "shines" for warm up.

    When dancing with a partner, like others I use more of a rib cage movement with the upper body, and only tap or triple-step on the 4 and 8. Sometimes I'll dance just to the bass, or different instruments, and bachata lends itself wonderfully to this. A workshop I took with Carlos Cinta a few years ago really opened my eyes (ears?) to the possibilities when honing in on different instruments, and this is indeed how DR dancers dance.
  5. ChristianKl

    ChristianKl New Member

    Strong hip movement is Bachata Moderna. If you dance to the music than you do more hip movement to a Bachata Moderna song than if you dance Dominican Footwork to a song that's more Dominican.

    As far as the Bachata Moderna hip movement during the basic step goes, I think the Jorge Elizondo's explanation is best. When Jorge is at a Bachata Congress he usually teaches the basic step for one hour and a lot of people I know like that class.

    I think the most important think of what Jorge says is that you relax on 4/8. You don't use force to straighten your leg on 4 but you release the tension in your legs.

    If you dance in close hold it's also useful to be aware of what the other person you are dancing with does with their hip. Even as the "leader" I frequently "follow" the hip movement of the lady I'm dancing with.

    If you are really close and both people try to do hip movement that isn't compatible with each other it feels bad.
    If you are a beginner Bachata lead and and dance Bachata with a lady who's more advanced it can be useful to just follow her hip movement and make it a bit smaller.
  6. stepbystepsalsa

    stepbystepsalsa New Member

    Too much talk about this topic.
    Do you want a constructive suggestion, the one which will help you be confident not only at Bachata but also at Salsa.
    Deal with syncopations. Start with cha-cha step.
    Do 1,2 cha-cha cha
    or 1,2,3 cha-cha

    this will make you feet smart and you will realize that that hip-movements basically comes from these steps. Do not forget that the original Bachata is the Dominican on, which is full of sofisticated footwork. If you learn that, your issue with the "hip movement" will vanish as well.
  7. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member

    As azzey enlightened me in the beginning, it's the Cuban motion where a hip pops up to the opposite moving leg. I've been doing it in both bachata and merengue. At the time, I did not understand what he told me about the syncopation or moving on upbeats (the &), but now I do. It feels good :)

    I am not sure when I'll figure out about the hip isolation theory ;), but thank you for letting me know about it.

    I like the bachata I see around. It's the sexy one luckily ;)

    But here is the thing ..

    I've recently found out that in Cuban salsa they make use of the same kind of Cuban motion (hip pop-up for the opposite moving leg) unlike the case with LA and NY salsa styles where a hip of the moving leg is the one which pops up. This is what I know, see and do. Correct me if that's wrong.

    Struggled with it in the beginning but can do it now.

    It looks like there are no online tutorials for Cuban salsa and its basic steps. Ironically, you find some titles in youtube about it, but the content is either LA or some ballroom stuff.
  8. vit

    vit Active Member

    First of all, forget about popping up the hips. Cuban motion is not about popping the hips. It's about weight transfer to left or right leg and letting that force propagates upwards through your body. Since this force doesn't go through your center of mass, hips slant to one side, whole spine bends to other side and shoulders slant to other side. It's usually called settling on the hip, but it is involving the whole body. It is also involving some rotation of the hips and shoulders around vertical axis, to opposite side again. Of course, you can exaggerate that natural movement by using the core muscles, but it must be there in the first place, otherwise it usually looks "manufactured". However, popping of the hips is the most visible thing and it caused some misconceptions in the past, even among dance teachers, which is even written in one latin book

    Depending on the dance, that movement looks somewhat different, as you move in different way, but principle is always the same. Also, when you run, you are doing more or less the same thing
  9. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    The "hip pop" in bachata has *nothing* to do with cuban motion. It's an embellishment, like the tap in Cuban salsa, and nothing more, and is not used all the time.

    To stepbystepsalsa - sorry but traditional Dominican style bachata was never about fancy footwork. It was more about dancing in a close embrace and simply doing the step-step-step-tap. It's the origin of bachata and did not start with fancy syncopations. In fact - showy syncopations are the hallmark of performance bachata in the DR, not in social bachata.

    Also, the cuban motion present in bachata during the step-step-step action is *identical* to that used in merengue as well as NY and LA style salsa. I can't speak for Cuban style salsa because I'm not that knowledgeable about it.
    samina likes this.
  10. vit

    vit Active Member

    Yes, most people do that tap or hip triplet in bachata without weight transfer, so body action on & 4 it's not caused by weight transfer. However, it's partially caused by previous weight transfer, because core has elasticity, so after the last weight transfer, it flexes to other side and back again and there is no need to add much energy with a core muscles (that would be "pure isolation" as you said) for that body movement to happen. And yes, it's a similar to how it is done in merengue or tiempo espana steps in cuban salsa. But in every dance it looks slightly different, depending on direction of movement, length of the step, speed etc and also in all cases it is, besides weight transfer, caused also by action of the core muscles (otherwise it would look just like pure walking)
  11. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    There are varying opinions on where, when and how it should be danced/used.
    Cuban Son for e.g. has a very subtle style of motion, and also lateral, as well as traditional figure 8.
    The mans "action " as seen by many, should not be as overt as the ladies style.
    Casino from my experience ,again, is very "quiet ".

    Open forms of Rumba however, are very overt in their usage .
  12. stepbystepsalsa

    stepbystepsalsa New Member

    Well I was not necessarily speaking about the stone age :)
    It is already enough to expect that people know that there is actually a misconception of the term "Dominican Bachata"; many dancers/instructors themselves in EU do not know the Dominican Style but they call Bachata automatically "Dominican Bachata" only because Bachata originated in DR, BUT what they are dancing/teaching is a european adaptation and invention of a new style (Sensual/Moderna)
    So, that is why, It would be really much expected that people should know that even the Domincan Stlye known by only some in Europe in reality was not like that at the very beginning in DR.
    This is even logic that all this footwork and syncopations are a further development of the very original Bachata :) but nevertheless it took part in DR

    Anyway guys, too much talk about this hip movement. Somebody is even trying to explain it in very depth. Here we do not need any mathematical or geometrical formula to explaint this hip movement. Like @vit said, yes it is more about weight transferring.

    Guys, believe me, cha-cha steps. train with lots of cha-cha steps. Feel the music, toy with the rhythm. As soon as your feetbecome more "elastic", not only will you have solved that question of "how is it this hip-movement to perform?" but you will also have taugh and trained your lazy feet and learnt a lot.
    vit likes this.
  13. vit

    vit Active Member

    The fact is that movement is actually quite complex, as human body is very complex. It's nice to have short explanation about it (that it's based on weight transfer and consists of lateral and rotational movement projecting upwards, like dance teachers usually explain it), but in reality that simple definition tell us close to nothing (it is valid for ordinary walking as well). Trying to make it more complex won't help anybody to learn it, like we don't need doctor dissertation to learn how to walk. We need someone to show as and someone to try with and correct us

    As about Dominican bachata, there is number of youtube clips from DR. Yes, it's mostly about playing with footwork, but some are dancing it in close contact similar to bachata moderna for the part of the dance as well, so I'm not sure it's just european invention
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    But surely, is that not ,what a good teacher does ? .. break it down and show it ( and even lead or follow it if needed ) .If the structure of movement ,in a given step is clear and concisely explained, then the information can be re-inforced, with practiced guidance .

    Large class settings, are not always the ideal format for in depth explanations ( many dont want it, even tho they need it ! ) .

    Technique, as a general rule , needs to be "spoon " fed, in class work.
    Imbrace, stepbystepsalsa and vit like this.
  15. vit

    vit Active Member

    I mean, reading our explanation here won't help OP much to check what is the right technique ...
  16. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    You are wrong. The teachers from the DR quickly threw their style over board.
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    True......many teachers are not sure. Even in standardised techn. for B/Room, there are dis-agreements, as you know . .
  18. stepbystepsalsa

    stepbystepsalsa New Member

    Well come to EU and have a look yourself :)

    It is true that Dominican Style is now slowly slowly appearing in EU; Video of Domincan Bachata dancing posted on youtube help a lot.
    BUT you cannot tell me that in EU Dominican Style is as much widespread and known as other styles, such as Modern or Sensual.

    And, it is also true that dance studios/schools throughout EU which offer Bachata lesson, they often arbitrarily use the term "dominican" just to describe their classes ONLY because, THANK GOD, at least they know that Bachata originated in the DR. But they do not know what Dominican Style is.
  19. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Sorry for being not so clear, stepbystep: I´ve meant it just the other way round:
    european (or as I call it us-american) style has found it´s way to the DR and the teachers there freely adapt to the expectations of the tourists.
  20. stepbystepsalsa

    stepbystepsalsa New Member

    I completely agree with you

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