The different styles of bachata


The different styles of bachata

What are the diiferent styles of bachata?.This article is written to standardize the different styles of Bachata. This article is open for discussion as we would like to hear from you. I will probably gain more knowledge from this – and hopefully you too that’s the aim! – Mohamed The purpose is to spread knowledge about the most popular dance in the Dominican Republic. I personally love dancing Bachata and this is needed to pause and have an eye on the bachata dance style evolution. The goal is to reinforce your bachata culture.

Bachata is specific and originates from the Dominican Republic people. But, you will probably see it danced around the world and done differently from the Dominican people. It may have originated in the Dominican Republic and it has undergone so many phases. This week, if you attend a latin party, just seat for a while and have a look and link it with this article. “which kind of bachata style is she/he use right now?”

Normally, music styles generate specific dance styles. This is because people intend to interpret music with motions that fit best. Bachata music already evolved into many different music styles up to now. I will introduce different dance styles chronologically by appearance

One thing more, there are different styles of Bachata. keep in mind… still just ONE dance. Peace!  😉

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

1/ Traditional bachata/Dominican style

The first option among the styles of bachata is the traditional one. Although Dominicans only consider it as “Bachata” since it is their music and their dance, in the outer world it is known as “Bachata Dominicana”. Specific features are a decent, relaxed, calm introvert dance style which lays focus on the feet. Not particularly “footwork”. This can result in a harmonic connection between the musical instruments guira, bongo and guitar rhythms and the mobility of feet. The obvious message of this dance is that you do not need complex figures to have a really enjoyable couple dance. As long as a deep emotional connection to this kind of music is present.

Originating from Bolero, the basic step was danced in a square-like manner on 8 counts in only closed position. With the evolution over time, people also started to dance in half-open and open positions. Playing with the dance, people also incorporated dance variations such as turns and footwork.

The Bachata Basic Steps moving within a small square (side, side, forward and side, side, back) are inspired from the Bolero. What’s more, it is danced slightly different in Bachata and danced with syncopations (steps in between the beats). It depends on the dancer’s mood and the character of the music. The hand placement will vary with the dancer‘s position which can be very close to semi-close to open.

That is worth mentioning that the Original Dominican Bachata is today danced all over the Caribbean. Now, also faster in accordance to faster music, adding more footwork, turns/figures and rhythmic free style moves and with alternate between romantic close and open position. Furthermore, this style is danced with soft hip movements and a tap with a small “pop” with the hip on the 4th beat (1, 2, 3, Tab/Hip).

Here my recommendations to fully enjoy:

  • learn how to feel Dominican bachata songs with your soul and body
  • learn how to let music interpret through your feet as a single person

Please also note, that Dominican Bachata is the only kind of Bachata “style”  that (by its culture and nature) is danced between all kinds of people of all ages and no matter where or when. As long as there is music somewhere…

BACHATA! ASI SE BAILA! Bailando en La República Dominicana

Gaby & Estefy con Alex & Desire, Improv, The Host Salsea, Julio 2015 (Europe-Spain)

2/ Bachata Moderna

The second option among the styles of bachata is the Modern one. A newer Fusion Style probably from around 2005. This style is widely considered to have originated in Spain, but as with all evolutions of dance style, this itself is widely debated. The basics are the same as Traditional Style Bachata, but with added dance elements and styling from Salsa, Tango, Zouk-lambada, Ballroom, elements from hip-hop, dancehall, contemporary as well. With modern style, there is more slides, styling, accentuated movements, and more intricate footwork. The big chance, however, is that Bachata can be extended to even other moods and techniques of totally different music if adapted properly. Therefore, Bachata Fusion, Urbana and Moderna are very demanding Bachata Dance styles. For example, there are very few Urban Bachata teachers and even fewer good ones due to that reason.

Korke y Judith [Bachata Sensual] @ Dancin Fusion 2015

Daniel & Desirée Sensual Bachata Fusion

Ronald y Alba [Just As I Am] @ Bachata Day 2017

3/ Bachatango

The third option among the styles of bachata is bachatango. Such a pleasure to attend a class of bachatango. You are in another world…This is also known as Bachata Tango and it is a substyle of the modern Bachata except with this, tango is added. There are embellished dips and kicks, elegant turns and long pauses which is particular from tango. It is a romantic style since there has to be a close connection between you and your partner. This style of Bachata puts more focus on passion and not so much on foot works. Bachata and Tango Argentino have a similar historical as well as technical background but differ in the dance mood. Both stem from poverty and bitterness in their own countries and originate from African and Latin influences. I can say both follow a leading-following principle with free music interpretation and have a similar timing.

By merging them, one creates a Bachata dance that goes more in an artistic direction with decorated elegant movements from Tango. With a more serious and focused setting of Tango and a corresponding style, Tango also basically contradicts the natural simplicity of Bachata. Maybe this, as well as a lack of good technical teaching, is the reason why Bachatango never really made it far in social dancing. People love single workshops but I have, so far,  never met a couple that dances Bachatango exclusively. Imagine the power you can combine dancing bachatango: sensuality and passion.


4/ Bachata Sensual:

The 4th option among the styles of bachata is the sensual one. Who has not yet heard about “bachata sensual”? This is not a marketing concept, bachata sensual is a real bachata style. The – by far – most popular Bachata dance style nowadays in Europe is Bachata Sensual, also strictly spoken belonging to Bachata Moderna. The majority of Bachata dance teachers around Europe teach this style either primarily or exclusively. Originating from Cadiz in Spain (Korke and Judith), dancers mix Bachata basics with basic body movement elements. This is similar to Zouk, Contemporary Dance, Salsa, and Hip Hop and make them danceable and directly leadable in a couple. The dance is an interpretation of the music with mostly circular movements and body waves, except when the music has stronger beats when the dance uses isolations and dips.

All of me – Daniel y Desiree || BachataOpen 31/05/2014

This style is especially popular with younger couples in European countries that enjoy a dance where you can closely feel your partner and at the same time play with music in an aesthetic way. That is also the reason why Bachata Sensual is an important pillar of Bachata styles to get young people into couple dancing. Which is not as popular as it could and should be.

Korke y Judith – Bachata Workshop Demo at the 2016 LA BKS

There are countless disputes if Bachata Sensual is only a bad copy of Zouk or can be considered as Bachata dance at all.

Emotionally, with Bachata Sensual, the setting matches very well a romantic, introvert dance style like in Dominican Bachata. You get a clear connection between the three actors: leader, follower, and music. Daniel y Desiree Bachata Improvisation – April 2015

5/ What type of bachata dancer are you?

As you see there are many kind of styles of bachata. Which is yours? All of them? Depending on individual dancers of bachata you are, your heritage and your perception of music, there are different reasons to dance a dance style.

The best way to understand what is important to dance bachata and what is not is to think about what is necessary to execute a move which will make most sense according to the music, your personality and the partner in front of you.

  • The “practical-local” one: On dance parties, everybody dances it like this standardized system and you have to adapt to this system. This system is the most presented in your local community, city, region, therefore, you follow it. The “positive” social trend encourages you to follow this bachata influence.
  • The “bling bling” one: “That moves look sexy, elegant, meaningful, it can give me superpowers…. I want to dance like that.” This is more a dance-esthetic motivation. “Bling bling” steps from some categories of bachata styles attract your eye. Therefore you have this need to be the superman or superwoman on the dancefloor. Sometimes, this is not connected to music at all but bachata has its part of dream and desire of transformation, self-importance, and motivation to impress yourself and people around you. This feeling you wanna get the lights on you is natural…
  • The “complete” one: As a complete dancer, music-feeling-technique are strongly connected and people love to connect these three elements. You can choose from all the bachata styles and pick up the best from it. Passion from bachatango, body moves, feelings from bachata sensual, beauty and romanticism from bachata moderna, adrenaline and joy from Dominican bachata. Musicality remains important for you whatever the style and you have the capacity to adapt it according to your partner.

Daniel and Desiree Sensual Bachata at Ferocity Dance Company


Go further in your bachata style:

I have a good news for you, there are many styles of bachata but the authentic one will be existing forever. This is the heart of bachata, the dominican bachata.Then you have the option to choose among variations.Dance the style you prefer and in the most cases, your style will evolve according to your personality, wishes, and bachata development along your bachata journey. Bachata is a life journey, whatever your influences and styles. If I can dare recommend you just to keep the essence of bachata. The most basic element in Bachata is still a couple dance in a romantic setting, an interaction between two people and the need to follow the basic rhythm. That is why there still needs to be an harmony in the couple:  bachata is a romance first whatever the style.







Why Bachata


Hey this is Mohamed. I help you to Dance Bachata & Be a Mindful Dancer. My desire is to energize the person and the dancer you are with concrete tips. You are awesome by nature and i will help you to manifest it here... -Mohamed


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