Salsa > How common is bachata?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by rails, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. rails

    rails New Member

    I'm all for personal creativity out there and I wasn't for a strict set of formalized moves from a ballroom-style syllabus. However, I'd like to remain open to the possibility that there's something to learn from those with a more intimate knowledge of the music and the dance. You know, someone who grew up with it or a dancer/folk scholar who learned from those who grew up with it.

    The fact that bachata is, in part, associated with unacceptable social features doesn't make it necessarily simple or primal for me. Tango originated in brothels, but it's very complex and I don't know of any dance whose followers are as passionate about its study.

    Bachata's history is different, of course. For example in this article:

    Anyway, after writing this I feel like I should become a bachata scholar or something. Not really, but I'm curious to know more--while leaving plenty of room for the spontaneous creativity that dance inspires. And for those who are really good at spontaneous creativity, I'll be stealing moves from you. :wink:
  2. looyenyeo

    looyenyeo New Member

    Bachata sideline

    Did I hear my name mentioned?

    The current trend in bachata music outside of the Dominican Republic appears to bear a common motif: a “jangly” guitar pattern (eq’ed to sound like that of South African guitar) playing: the rhythm 1, 1+, 1+a, 2, 2+, 3, 3+, 4, 4+; where 1+, 1+a, and 2 are the notes of a broken chord. I can’t make out a master rhythm (clave) direction, and it has a one bar phrase.

    This is at odds with Juan Luis Guerra’s interpretation of bachata. However it would not surprise me if the word “bachata” has come to mean different things… Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    For me, bachata is one example of a trend in the evolution of Latin American musics and dances:

    Most forms begin as a music and dance of the underclasses – something Youngsta alludes to.

    They become popular, championed by the poor, because their themes bear social relevance through the commentary in their lyrics.

    Interest in the music and dance percolates upwards through the society strata, despite initial resistance by the governing classes.

    Demand increases, generating a commercial market.

    Speed and uniformity of supply then become driving factors. The dance and music forms crystallise further, codified to aid: learning/teaching in the former; manufacturing of hits in the latter.

    They become formulaic, increasingly practiced by the mid-upper classes, simultaneously becoming less relevant to the underclasses (the very same people who power this particular engine of music).

    Another form eventually arises to fill the vacuum, at the underclass level.

    Merengue and bachata are cases in point. You can also witness the relevant changes in salsa’s history, although the cycle appears to be extending due to transnationalisation, as a result of our improved global communications.

    Back on topic, bachata is slowly gaining structure as demand increases but I don’t think it’s quite solid enough for me to give you a concrete definition. Hence the short syllabus that DanceMentor alludes to - was the syllabus an attempt to get a head-start on the competition in the marketplace?

    To answer DanceMentor’s query: I’ve mainly seen it danced on one, with small merengue-like steps; three steps to the bar, with an upward flick of the hip on beat four. The choreography very much resembles that of "standard" merengue (cibaeño).

    Deborah Pacini Hernandez writes about it in her book “Bachata: A Social History of a Dominican Popular Music”.

    (skulking back under his rock)
  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Similar to Cumbia?

    I was just in touch with a dance instructor I know and this is what he says about the Bachata when I asked him if he was familar with it and had any experience with dancing it.
  4. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Hmmmm... I've never really heard anyone refer to to them as similar. I actually think they are more dis-similar than similar. The beats, in my opinion are nothing alike. Cumbia to me sounds closer to salsa than bachata. Maybe Vallenato, but not really like cumbia.
  5. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    And he didn't say if he had ever done it.

    I know that it's a different beat so I'm wondering what other comparrison he's making.
  6. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I'm on the same boat as you... Similarities between bachata and Cumbia. wow, I can't really come up with any similarities except a few sarcastic remarks. ...maybe someone else might be able to tell us better about the comparison your instructor might be making.
  7. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Come to think of it I'm not familar with Cumbia either.
  8. Estella

    Estella New Member

    Thanks for the welcome! :wink:
    The most popular band around here at the moment is "Aventura" (had a big success with "obsession" last year), then "4ever" (this beautiful song "porque te amo"), Monchy y Alexandra.... :roll: there are really a lot of them....
    I love dancing bachata... with a right partner! :wink:
  9. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Welcome estella... :D :D

    Aventura is huge here in NY City too. They got so over played, every where you turned, went,... Aventura was playing. Los Torros band was popular too..

    I look at Bachata like I look at Bolero. It's a slow sensual dance, most of the time I rather see the dance done with minimal turn patterns and more of a close up connection gliding the floor. When done properly it can be quite an intense/fun filled dance.
  10. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Just dance!! :lol:
  11. Soñador

    Soñador New Member

    I had my salsa course and asked my teacher to give me some private bachata courses... And so he did... So, some of you remember when I told you that I didn't like it that much and etc!? Well, I was completely wrong! I knew only the basic steps and moves of bachata so that's why it wasn't that great... But I learned only a few more it's it's really great! It's nice and smooth, soooooooo sensual, it's a great danse once you have some basics! Anyways, just wanted to say that 'cause I'm amazed by it! :p :wink: :D
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Cool!! :D Another bachata lover!! :)
  13. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Hmm.... Bachata here in Portugal is starting to become very popular. :D There aren´t really regular classes, but you do have the ocasional workshop. Even though at the salsa clubs they only play 2-3 songs per night, the dance foor usually gets quite full.
  14. Suaveson

    Suaveson New Member

    I love bachata! I think it's a very passionate, romantic dance. Its not that hard to learn but be advised... It's nice to dance with your lady - kind of like a slow dance but a little bit faster. I know a lot of people who enjoy the music but don't know how to dance it - I don't think very many people teach it.

  15. beppe59bs

    beppe59bs New Member

    Bachata right now is quite popular in Italy.

    There are a lot of dance schools/stages where it is possible to learn it from basic to advanced levels. You can also buy a couple of Italian DVDs/Videos that will teach you how to dance it.
    This excitement for bachata started about one year ago (due the huge success of Aventura "Obsession"). Now it is danced in many different ways (in my opinion with too many patterns coming from salsa and tango too - I preferred the old more sensual way!).
    Here there are also some dance instructors that will teach you "Bachata on 2"....
    Anyway as said here it is almost as popular as salsa: in many clubs (and latin radio programs) you'll hear 6/7 salsa songs, 4/5 bachatas, 1 merengue and so on (almost no cumbia or vallenato except in some places with many latino dancers - mainly Cubans, Dominicans and Colombians dancers).

    In the last months some of the most popular bachatas were:
    Carta de Verano - Joe Veras
    Si te vas - Daniel Moncion
    Te extraño - Extreme

  16. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    welcome to df beppe59bps. Glad to have you with us. :D Interesting to know that in Italy bachata seems to be almost as popular as salsa. Actually where I am most people just go side to side. Actually drives me crazy!! I don't do that, but I don't cram it full of moves either.
  17. pelao

    pelao New Member

    bachata uses the same rhythm in the bongo that salsa and boleros use. its called the martillo rhythm. The bongo and guira mainly carry the tempo, and its also what people are following when they dance. The two guitars and the bass are what bring out the rhythm mostly - when playin these though, the guitars are pretty much right on the beat; its the bass that has a lot of swing.

    Cumbia and bachata really don't have much in common at all. If anything, it has more in common with vallenato - that might also be the reason why so many bachateros borrow a lot of vallenatos and turn them into bachatas (which to me is an honor and a compliment - because they think enough of our music to remix it their style). But, the closest would be boleros and bachatas. They have the most in common when it comes to rhythm. But, in melody and the style of singing (or the emotion in the singing) - vallenatos have more in common with bachatas.


    when you talk about the trend in bachata outside d.r.; what do you mean? Are there any songs you could make an example of?

    also, if any of you know this:
    i like merengue tipico. but i have this one song from this group, la mafia tipica, o de jose el calvo. this song talks about a gal who doesnt dance 'merengue de acordeon' the right way. So, I started thinkin - how do they really dance it overthere en el cibao? I've seen most people dance it like merengue de orquesta here in the u.s., but to me it feels like it needs more 'meneó'. merengue tipico has so much rhythm and sabor to it, it just doesn't seem to do it justice to dance it so simple the way merengue de orquesta is done.

    Its kinda like how cumbia and vallenato is danced a lot, but the real way of dancin it is pretty different.
  18. ino

    ino New Member

    So right...there's nothing like dancing bachata with that special someone. Thats actually how I've met a girl I currently seeing :lol: it's hard to find people who you dance bachata well with and who will follow you right and we just clicked.
  19. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Benvenuto, Beppe! Un poco di tardi! Mi dispiace!

  20. bontyal

    bontyal New Member


    bachata is easy to dance i tell you the basic then you can get better from that ok now no music ok try this first step one two three times to left on the fourth lift your hip now go the right same way do it another time now the same move to the front and then back
    thats it now tell someone to play a bachata song for you keep doin it thats it once you get better then you can slide with it

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