Salsa > Which is the Real Bachata?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Ron AKA, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Ron AKA

    Ron AKA New Member

    We are off to Dominican Republic this winter, and expect we will try the resort dance classes. Not wanting to look like a total fool, I thought we would try and learn the basic steps before we go. A little research on the net, and the forum here now has me more confused. First I found this video which you can find with Google using the following search key words:

    Learn to Dance Bachata - YouTube

    This is another of many Joe Baker productions. The instruction is very clear, but not much emphasis on style. But, seems quite doable. It is just 1, 2, 3, touch, 5, 6, 7, touch, using a standard ballroom hold. The lady seems to do a very awkward looking hip lift on the touch, but perhaps that is an exaggeration for the video. I hope so, as it does not look attractive to me. I've seen other videos which teach a similar method, but use a "lift" instead of the touch.

    But, then the confusing part. I find reference to Dominican Style Bachata. About the only similarity is the music. There are few turns, and all the emphasis seems to be on the footwork. And, even the footwork seems to be improvised free style. Or, at least I'm having trouble finding any consistency at all between different sources which claim to be Dominican Bachata. Here is one that is clearly explained, but it is one of many variations:

    Learn How to Dance Bachata Dominican Style (Basic Step) with SalsaKnox II - YouTube

    It uses the same 8 count, but seems to be touch, touch, squat, touch, touch, touch, squat, touch.

    The squat is what I call the feet together knee bend. In all it seems totally different to me, than method #1, which might be called the American dance studio style.

    So what is the real deal? I thought the Bachata originated in the Dominican?
  2. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca Member

    This subject has been discussed on Salsa Forums, where you will find a number of bachata fans. I suggest you visit and use the search function, and possibly repost your query if you are unable to find the info you seek.

    Enjoy your holiday btw, and don't forget merengue is massive over there too. (I think salsa is also popular.)
  3. Ron AKA

    Ron AKA New Member

    Thanks for the response. I've been doing some more looking. Found another video which you can find with:

    Bachata Dancers Show Off in the Dominican Republic - YouTube

    The first guy looks like he may have a little too much Brugal. But, at least to my ear and eye, the second older guy with a baseball cap (0:34-1:13), just nails it. His shoulders remain dead level, the rib cage moves smoothly, and he gets lots of knee bend and hip action. Surprisingly, he basically seems to be doing the "American" style step, step, step, touch in the forward and back direction. He even looks like he would use a ballroom hold if he had a partner.

    So I still wonder if this is the Dominican "real deal", but at least I found a style I like. Also my initial tries at the style 2 in my first post did not go well. The way I make it there are 6 touches or weight changes in 4 beats, and it is not nearly as easy as it looks, especially the &1, &2 part.

    Yes, I believe Bachata and Merengue are the big two in DR. Merengue seems fairly simple with a march step on every beat. So I think I will just wing that one, and hope the tempo is slow enough for me to keep up.

    Still looking for opinions on what is the "real deal"...
  4. Andresito

    Andresito Member

  5. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

  6. Ron AKA

    Ron AKA New Member

    Andresito, thanks for the link. I did look at quite a few of the videos in the series. Very good stuff, but I think well beyond the basic beginner level. Opendoor, I believe that link is to one of the videos in the series Andresito gave. At, least I'm sure I recognize the two dancers. I tap out that particular number to be about 148 bpm, which is quite a bit faster than the more typical 120-125 for Bachata. Perhaps that is part of the competition game, to crank up the tempo.

    In any case I would categorize that particular style as the Dominican box type, with lots of freestyle in it. I gather they are not shy about mixing in some salsa and cha cha steps.

    I will be happy to try and figure out what the basic steps are, and not worry about the fancy stuff for now. Perhaps I can learn more in DR.
  7. Ron AKA

    Ron AKA New Member

    We did our DR vacation and probably am no better informed at to what the real DR Bachata is like. If we had gone to an off resort real bar, we would have learned more. The resort dance scene is pretty basic with only women showing much interest in "lessons". They essentially teach a line dance with the women learning the lead moves. And, magically after the lesson you are supposed to be able to couple dance, by interchanging all your left and rights and forwards and back. In particular if you are an older single woman going to one of these resorts I would suggest Googling "Sanky Panky". It will give you a lot of insight into what you should be aware of before you go.

    In any case back to the dance, the teach one, two, three, clap, with lots of hip movement. And really not much more than that. With our self taught lessons, we were miles ahead of any of the other resort guests, and not out of place with the animation "professionals". We got the thumbs up from the Dominican DJ. It would have been helpful in taking some more time to learn Merengue and Salsa, as they both seem more popular than Bachata. But, in the end we got enough dance time with Bachata, Cha Cha, and some basic waltz.
  8. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    That is actually what I was thinking as I started reading the thread. I was going to venture to guess that what you would find at the resort would be pretty basic, and not too strict in how people dance.

    I would regard the bachata as very dynamic right now in terms of definition. It isn't always easy to generalize, and people are sharing with each other, so there is an every spreading message.
  9. FrankE

    FrankE New Member

    New Site about Real (Dominican) Bachata with Definition, Videos etc: realbachata(dot)com
  10. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Welcome Frank! And have you also got your own studio?
  11. FrankE

    FrankE New Member

    Thanks opendoor:) Yes I'm having CphSalsa(dot)dk in Copenhagen teaching Casino (Cuban Salsa), Son and ChaChaCh√° (also from Cuba), Merengue, Fusion Bachata and Original Bachata.

  12. FrankE

    FrankE New Member

    Thanks opendoor :) Yes I have a studio in Copenhagen: CphSalsa(dot)dk teaching Casino (Cuban Salsa), Son and ChaChaCh√° (the originals from Cuba to), Merengue, Fusion Bachata and original Dominican Bachata.


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