I learnt Bachata in the USA, many years ago, almost a decade ago. The Bachata I learnt was influenced by the Dominicans, Puertoricans, Mexicans and other Latinos living in Chicago, USA. As it probably happened to you as well, I felt in love with the music and I felt in love with the dance right away.

Listening to Aventura’s song “Obsession” or Monchy y Alexandra’s “Dos locos” in the nightclub made me want to grab the first available lady and start dancing close Bachata with her. I learnt the close Bachata movements, I learnt the dips, I learnt the turn combinations, I really thought that I learnt everything that there was to Bachata (Now I know I learnt what is known as Bachata Traditional).

But then it happened that all Bachata dances started to look the same, all the Bachata dances started to feel the same. Lucky me, I wasn’t alone on this, other people were experiencing the same dilemmas:

  • Bachata is very simple, I don’t need to take classes anymore (or start taking classes)
  • I know my Bachata step, therefore I don’t need to learn new things
  • Is there anything else to Bachata?

I watched the salsa dancers get crazy on the dance floor with new combinations, new set of shines, body movements, and I always wondered, why can’t I do this with my Bachata? It is then, than on my quest to improve my Bachata skills, I came across dancers/instructors that experienced the same thing that I did, and that have started pushing the boundaries of Bachata.

So I ventured on my journey to improve my Bachata skills. On my trip to the Malaysia Salsa Festival 2008, I met Inaki Fernandez, a Bachata/salsa instructor from Spain. Even though I didn’t take his workshop, I observed the way he danced. He did the Bachata traditional step, but then he started adding crosses on different counts of the Bachata beat (watch one of his videos), I knew then that there was more to Bachata traditional!

It is then that I started working on the Bachata Moderna style with my dance partner back in Sydney, Australia. We didn’t focus on styling, we focused on learning the new fundamentals – For a new style to become a style, it has to have a set of fundamentals that can be used on any turn pattern or combination and should be lead-able.

Just by adding the Bachata Moderna fundamentals on my Bachata traditional have made so much difference. Now that I know Bachata Moderna, and I know how to incorporate the Cross on1, Cross on2, Cross on3, Cross Over, the about turn, and other fundamentals, I can enjoy my Bachata dance once again. Bachata is no longer a side to side step with the same type of turn patterns; now I can lead my partner on different directions, I can surprised her with turns, and I can do new things during the song, I can move freely on the dance floor.

As people say “change is the only constant in the universe”, Bachata dancing is changing, it’s evolving, and I invite you to try new styles of Bachata, new variations. I thank all the instructors that are pushing the boundaries of Bachata (Inaki, Jorge Elizondo, Tony  Lara, Rodney Aquino, Carlos Cinta, to name a few). Thanks to them, Bachata has become a world-known dance style. Now we can enjoy Bachata Tango, Bachata Urbana and other variations, as well as the well known Bachata Traditional and Bachata Dominican style.

Now, I hope to see you dancing more Bachata in the clubs!

Written by –  Juan Ruiz. Juan is the director of Bachateros Online Magazine and a bachata instructor, pioneer of the Bachata Moderna style

Inaki Fernandez and Susana Montero – Sexy Bachata

Juan Ruiz and Camille Yanantuono – Bachata Moderna Demo