How is Bachata different from salsa?

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Bachata vs Salsa: like 2 sisters?

Salsa and Bachata are the most popular Latin dance in the world. If we can consider salsa as the queen, bachata has become more and more popular since the 2000’s. Some prefer salsa, some prefer bachata, some are open-minded and get the benefits of both dances, type of music and emotions. In this article, you are going to discover:

    • How is Bachata different from salsa?
    • Salsa and bachata: comparisons
    • Which is easier bachata or salsa?
    • Which is better salsa or bachata?

For all of you preferred video learners out there, here is a quick video on this topic from my youtube channel.

1/ How is Bachata different from salsa?

Salsa and bachata are different right?

What is Salsa

Origin: Many believe that Salsa dancing began in New York in the mid-1970s. It has its roots in the earlier Latin dance styles, such as Mambo and Cha-Cha and was also influenced by other swing dance styles. Salsa dance stands for a mix of different dance styles, just like the sauce, “salsa,” which is a nice mixture of various ingredients. Salsa is considered to be the queen of Latin dances and is being danced throughout the world.

Music: Salsa is in 4/4 time and sounds more intricate than Merengue and Bachata because of its syncopated rhythm, known as what we call the “Clave” rhythm.

Marc Anthony – Vivir Mi Vida

Steps: Salsa basic consists of 3 steps (2 quicks and 1 slow or a pause). You can dance the Salsa “On1” (LA style) or “On2” (NY style). It means, you can begin your first step (breaking step) on the first beat (the strong beat) or the second beat. Footwork in both styles are generally similar but the emotions are quite different. Dancing “On1” appears to be more exciting and flashier while dancing “On2” feels more relaxed and smooth.  This is focused on dancing on the line (except some forms of Salsa like Cuban), stepping on each beat (apart from 4 and 8 which are silent). You should keep the posture straight and a bit of tension in your hands to keep some distance between yourself and your partner, and feel the lead.

Beats: The beats of Salsa go as “1..2..3……5..6..7……”, so there is a pause after the third and seventh beat. The fourth and eighth beats are covered in those pauses.

Features: Intricate music, fast-paced, sharp and exciting turns

Salsa Dancing Miami Beach

Amazing Salsa Dance!

What is Bachata

Origin: Bachata originated in the rural neighborhoods of Dominican Republic. It has become one of the most popular Latin dances in recent years.

Music: Bachata is also in 4/4 time but has its own distinctive sound. In the early days, it was a guitar music played by peasants and were often slow, sad and romantic. These days, Bachata has got more upbeat and incorporated electronic sounds. Some contemporary Bachata Artists and groups include El Torito, Aventura, Prince Royce, Romeo Santos, and Xtreme.

Xtreme – Te Extraño (Bachata)

Steps: Bachata basics consist of 3 steps and a tap. The chasse basic goes “side-together-side-tap” and can be spiced up with a hip motion or a lift of the leg at the “tap” step. Dancers keep their knees bent throughout to promote hip motion. Bachata can be danced in two-hand hold, open embrace but is often danced in the close embrace at nightclubs. Bachata is a sensual dance and it is a much closer dance than salsa so you should let it go even more and listen to your partner, your hands should be relaxed so that the partner can move them freely.

Beats: The beats of Bachata go as “1..2..3..tap..5..6..7..tap..”. So there are 3 beats and a tap, followed by 3 more beats and a tap.

Features: Sensual, intimate, relaxed, hip motion

Daniel Santacruz – No Me Sueltes – (Official Video HD)

Ataca y La Alemana (USA) Te Extrano | DWF SINGAPORE

Romeo Santos – Eres Mía (hot clip)

2/ Salsa and bachata: comparisons.

To complete your Latin culture here the comparisons between salsa and bachata:

  • The base step-patterns: Salsa is more front-back, Bachata is more side-side
  • Partner closeness: Salsa will often be with a bit more ‘frame’ or space between partners, allowing for a bit flashier and fancier arm/footwork. Bachata tends to be very close almost “hugging” at times. Who is against hugs nowadays? 😀 Kidding…
  • Dances in a couple: Both are generally performed with a male and female partner, in ‘typical’ men-leading. While both dances will have larger flashiness for moves, Salsa’s tend to be more solo-flashy, with larger moves being partially or more fully separated. Bachata’s will be closer with the two doing them more in-sync and still in contact.
  • Intimacy: While both  are couple dances, Bachata is more intimate than Salsa. While the steps matter a lot in Salsa, the chemistry between the couple matters much more in Bachata. The couple is closer to each other in Bachata, “hugging” each other almost all the time.
  • Pace: Salsa is generally faster than Bachata. There are slow Salsa songs as well, but those would be exceptions. As a result, Bachata is also considered slightly easier than Salsa.
  • Popularity: Salsa is more popular than Bachata, and is generally more well known across the world. However, most pubs also play Bachata songs along with Salsa songs during the Salsa nights.

3/ Which is easier bachata or salsa?

Both can be learnt of course. But, do you need both? Which strategy can you follow? Here some debut of answer.

If you’ve ever found yourself watching two partners dancing salsa on dancing with the stars or gazing at the dance floor at your favorite Latin club and thinking, “I could never do that!”, you’re not alone. Salsa is an impressive dance style, but its quick and fluid movements can definitely be intimidating to the uninitiated. Don’t misunderstand the point—you certainly can learn salsa  if you really put your mind to it, even if you’ve never danced before. For example, i personally started with salsa and that was a great experience. That being said, maybe you’ve caught yourself wishing that there was a better place to start—some kind of dance style that could prepare you for the rhythms of salsa without forcing you to dive into the deep end of the pool right away. If this sounds like you, have you looked into bachata? Bachata is globally danced to slightly slower beats than salsa. The music is romantic and full of the rich sounds of Dominican guitar. Most importantly for beginners, the basics of bachata dancing are much simpler than those of salsa. This doesn’t mean that experts don’t take things to the next level, but it does mean that you can feel perfectly comfortable on the bachata dance floor very quickly! Besides being an excellent dance in its own rite, another great thing about bachata is that it can help you set the foundation to become a proficient salsa dancer. Bachata dancing will help you get used to that Latin rhythm that runs underneath each salsa track and you can incorporate the moves you’ve learned dancing the bachata right into your salsa arsenal.

4/ Which is better salsa or bachata?

Romeo Santos – Yo También (Official Video) ft. Marc Anthony


First a question: why should we have to choose between salsa or bachata? To my mind, we are an indivisible community. Bachata and salsa offer you too many opportunities for happiness to choose or see them as rivals. You can choose according to your personality, your capabilities, the type of emotions you want to get the most. Adrenaline or feeling? Do not choose, you can get both in salsa and bachata.

I would like to underline, Bachata is not just “a simpler salsa”. It is a different dance. Most Latin clubs play a mix of both. So if you learn to dance Salsa and go to a social, and if you do not know Bachata, you would be standing around doing nothing for half the night. And like others said, if you have tuned your ears to count the Salsa beat, hearing the Bachata beat is easier, and it would be easier to pick it up by just practicing at socials (even if you don’t take classes for Bachata).

Get a happy dance like salsa and sensual dance like bachata and you will experience an amazing journey. I think that each dance expresses different emotions and different parts of your personality. Salsa allows you to dig into your fun and cheerful self, bachata helps you release the sensual part of you. Of course, all these dances are different not only because of the different emotions that they allow us to express, but also because they require different techniques and have different rules. One common rule for all Latin dances though, and a golden rule for us ladies is: follow the leader. And for the males: make the value on the lady’s feminity by respecting her and making her shine. Yes boys, be altruist not selfish…

So, get the benefits of Latin dances. Bachata and salsa offer you too many opportunities for happiness to separate them. Considered as an art, a physical activity, or a sport, dancing as a couple has many benefits. Practicing with two, it allows first of all meetings and the good news is that most courses are accessible even if you do not have a partner. Evenings are also a way to meet new people. If you’re looking for a new physical activity, Latin dances like both dances let you workout while having fun! As an example, one hour of bachata can allow you to burn up to 700 calories. Latin dances are also very beneficial for your legs, your buttocks, and your waist! By letting you go to the beat of the music and focusing on your partner’s movements, bachata and salsa dances also allow you to release the stress accumulated during the day. Through all of these different types of Latin dance, there’s the possibility to feel a whole gamma of emotions, getting into your deepest sides without using words. Do not talk, dance is your language on the dancefloor. The language of your mind, freedom, soul, body.

Listen to the wise words from Johnny Vasquez, please 😉

I started with salsa and I am so grateful salsa has introduced me to the world of Latin community. I have got some great adrenaline and I discovered I could move my “frozen’ body 😀 Then I had the chance to discover bachata (here my bachata story) and I have chosen bachata for it beautiful melody, the easier learning, and the sensual connection and feeling you can get.  I consider Salsa like a “marathon” by moment and I prefer the bachata journey because it gives me more in term of happiness. An enduring happiness for less effort. I respect both types of dance, dancers, and music. Sometimes I take salsa courses, listen to salsa music, am amazed to watch people in salsa congresses perform at social parties. But as everyone, I have a preference 😉  And you? what is your preference, your current mood? Salsa or bachata? Salsa and BachataWhy should we choose between 2 beautiful sisters… ? Spread love,gratitude and amusement with your dancers all over the world . 😉

Bachata regards,

-Mohamed

 

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