Bachata Dancing

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Bachata is a social dance from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. The basic dance sequence is performed in a full 8-count moving within a square, consisting of three steps and then a tap or various forms of step syncopations (such as the “double step”). The tap is done on the opposite foot of the last step, while the next step is taken on the same foot as the tap. The dance direction may change after the tap or fourth step. Bachata can be danced on any beat of the musical phrase as long as the basic dance sequence (three steps and then a tap \ syncopation) is maintained (for example, one may start on the 1st beat of the musical phrase, with the tap landing on the 4th beat).

Western Traditional At some point in the late 1990s, dancers and dance-schools in the Western world began using a side to side pattern instead of the box-steps. The basic steps of this pattern move side to side, changing direction after every tap. Characteristics of this “early” dance school dance is the close connection between partners, soft hip movements, tap with a small “pop” of the hip on the 4th step (1, 2, 3, tap/hip) and does not include many turns/figures. Most of the styling in this dance is from ballroom dance and show moves like dips are commonly used. This was the first novel dance to bachata music that was popularized by dance schools outside the Dominican Republic.

Bachatango Another dance was developed shortly after the western “traditional” and was called Bachatango. This is a fusion dance from the West, consisting of short sequences taken from western “traditional” steps combined with different Tango steps and danced like tango. The “pop” count is used to add elaborated sensuality and varied Latin ballroom dance styles and also includes the characteristic kicks from tango. The turns are like in the “western traditional” dance. Although in the past this dance was danced exclusively to bachata music, it has recently been danced to tango music as well. Even though bachatango is unheard of in the Dominican Republic, bachata’s country of origin, the dance enjoyed a period of popularity among foreign dance instructors outside the Caribbean. Still, nowadays the dance is not often seen on the social dance floors.

Modern or Moderna was developed probably from around 2005 on the “western traditional” basic elements. The basics are the same as the “western traditional” dance, but with added dance elements and styling from Salsatango and Ballroom. In this dance, couples typically move their torsos more and greatly exaggerate the hip pop (especially the ladies). The most direct influence on the modern/moderna dance comes from the adoption of salsa turn patterns; these, together with dips became the core of the dance.

Sensual dance style was created in CádizAndalusiaSpain, by Korke Escalona and Judith Cordero.

Korke learned the basics of western “traditional” in 1998, but with no more information than the basic step (four steps to the side) and inspired by bachata music, he started developing his own dance style inspired by contemporary and Brazilian zouk dances by understanding how the leader (traditionally a man) could lead the body of the follower (traditionally a lady) to interpret the music. The result is a novel, independent dance form with strict principles of leading and following, with mostly circular movements and body waves, but also body isolations and dips when the dancers feel the music calls for it.

 

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