What Is Bachata Dance?

Learn about bachata dance from the Latin Dance company Joel Salsa in this Howcast dance video.

Edwin: What is bachata? Well, a beautiful dance from the Dominican Republic. Bachata is dated back to the early 20th century. It derived from the bolero, which is from Cuba, imported into the Dominican Republic. Very similar instrumentation, but the only difference then is instead of maracas, they have the güira. The music is very similar. It was known as bolero campesino, which is like peasant bolero. And then, little by little, more people started to play it in the rural towns, and it started to grow. And it became musica amargue. The music itself is just very straightforward. The words are always more about bitterness and heartbreaks, and women needing the guys, and pain, someone losing someone, or someone cheating. It’s always very sad. But the way that we dance it, we reflects kind of like how we let out the steam. How do we cope with it? And we cope with it through dancing. Bachata has traveled a lot around the world now, and it’s pretty much a popular dance style now, and a lot of people are starting to learn more and more about it. And the way that we dance it is just amazing. Very interactive.

Daniela: The way that we dance bachata is with a four-step timing. We go: one, two, three, tap. Five, six, seven, tap. We’re always tapping on the four and the eight. Bachata at the beginning was very traditional, of course. Traditional bachata used to be danced just in the center, going forward and back. Very basic steps. Now it has fused into different salsa bachata and tango bachata, and different styles put into bachata, which is very nice to see, like modern and urban bachata, and stuff like that.

Edwin: Right. I guess with the different additions into bachata, the evolution of it is pretty much what has kept it around for so long. People in Europe took on bachata, and they mastered it and started to fuse it with things that they know. I would say it’s very interesting to see where bachata’s going to go, with everyone all over the world learning more and more about it. I guess it’s always good to appreciate the traditional, but also to keep an open mind and try out different things. I’m very curious to see where bachata goes in the future, but I would like everyone to actually read more about bachata and learn about it. It’s a very beautiful dance.