Right hand turn, left hand turn, step, hands up, then down, turn again, double turns, front to back then back to front, front to front, turn, back to back, syncopated step, hesitation, turn, turn, turn… don’t you get tired even reading it? Imagine the girl dancing it!
As in all things in life, the middle path is the path to illumination: yes we love different steps, girls admire a guy that knows how to lead and has the perfect leading strength, that thinks quickly and takes you for a ride. But it is so good when he throws a couple of basics in his dancing and that is valid for any style. The guy has to remember that he doesn’t turn half as much as the girl so if he leads her for a whole music of turns she is bound to be tired of it, or dizzy, or sick.
Check your partner’s colour, if she is turning a bit green you better go to “one, two, three, five, six, seven” for a few bars. It did happen to me and I rudely refused to turn when the guy lead me to turn. He tried again, and again, and one last time. He had turned me so many times, so quickly, for so long, I was getting dizzy. Then I think he got it. It was a salsa and I got some nice cross body leads and basics and in a few seconds I was ready for more. That is all the girls will require, a brief respite, three bars for a quick breath and then you can show off again.
Honestly, especially with bachata and zouk, basics are the best, you can feel the music, feel the rhythm, your partner, your movement. Never underestimate the power of a good basic step. I can dance a whole music of basic bachata without getting anywhere near bored. Sometimes I ask some guys to dance and they say that they don’t know many steps. Difficult steps are great but not essential. Wearing your heart out is.
Using the basics to understand the structure of the music is also great. My favourite dances are not the ones full of glitter, they are the ones where the leader respects the breaks, and follows the flow of the song, using hard “thumps” and soft “Yiimmmmss” to choose our steps. Choreographies that are like that also give me goose bumps and a sense of euphoria that is indescribable.
My recipe to the perfect bachata is that: basic steps + other steps + feeling the music + feeling the delight of dancing. So relax, breathe and enjoy your basics and your dancing, your partner will too.