(This is the second part of a 2 part article. Part I)

Juan Ruiz bachata workshopsThe Malaysia’s Bachata Revolution starts…

Juan Ruiz, director of Bachateros in Australia and also one of the organizers of the Sydney International Bachata Festival was in Malaysia for the Bachata Revolution organized by Rhythm Identity; it was an event which started on 7th August 2009 and ended on 9th August 2009

7th August, Friday saw a full house at Paradisso the Lodge (at Jalan Raja Chulan) where many had arrived from all over to attend Juan’s first bachata workshop. The night started with some cheeky bachata moves, masterfully taught by Juan. Throughout the night, salsa and bachata music dominated the dance floor as everyone started trying out the new moves they had learnt.

The main event was on 8th August, Saturday where Juan spent 6 hours teaching Malaysia both Bachata Traditional and Bachata Moderna. The early part of the day saw a 2-hour Beginners Bootcamp where beginners to the dance was taught the techniques as well as some finer points on dancing bachata. By the end of the 2 hours, everyone was dancing the bachata!

The afternoon saw another 2 hours of workshop, this time introducing Bachata Moderna to the Malaysian community. It was an eye-opener to the Malaysian bachateros (means bachata dancers); many found it to be extremely exciting as well as new to them as the dance taught them to break away from the usual way that they have always danced. Bachata Moderna was the real ‘revolution’ to the whole event, changing the way bachata is danced and perceived yet maintaining its origins and traits of sensuality, cheekiness and fun.

The evenings saw another 2 hours of workshop, this time on the traditional style. Workshop participants were taught to shine on the dance floor as well as immerse themselves in some very sexy bachata moves. It was indeed a very hot workshop.

The night continued with more partying with the DJ playing salsa, bachata as well as some zouk music. Juan wowed the crowd with a bachata performance with 2 ladies at the same time! It was an impromptu performance but with the right skill, technique, flair and sabor (latin for flavor) the performance was unforgettable. Rhythm Identity‘s Bachata Project did a group bachata performance with 5 couples who showed the fun, exciting and cheeky part of bachata. This group had earlier debuted at the prestigious Malaysian Salsa Festival not more than 2 weeks ago.

To top up the party, a Jack & Jill style bachata competition saw the bachateros competing with each other, displaying their bachata dance skill from modern to traditional moves, from dips to sway and with each couple oozing with cheeky fun and sensuality at the same time. The winner of the night was Chau and Chris Yee; both veteran salsa dancers in the Malaysian scene. Their dance and partnerwork captured not only Juan (who was the judge) but the crowd’s approval that night. They were presented with sponsored gifts from Bachateros Australia, Rhythm Identity Malaysia, Sieui Active Dancewear Collection and also from Paradisso the Lodge.

Sunday saw a closure to the Bachata Revolution in Malaysia with 2 hours of workshop. The workshop participants were taught in depth about body movements and isolation in the bachata dance. In the afternoon, Malaysian were given a break from bachata with a final workshop on salsa. It was tactfully named as a salsa-kizom-chata workshop where Juan mixed salsa with kizomba (a dance originating from Angola) and bachata. The result was a fun filled workshop with sexiness to boot!

With the full weekend of bachata workshops now over, Malaysian bachata scene will hopefully see a change with the infusion of modern and new techniques for the dance itself. With Juan’s departure from Malaysia, Rhythm Identity is set to continue on the motion to spread the knowledge of modern style bachata to the Malaysian dance community with a synchronized syllabus, thus building a bridge between Malaysian and Australian bachateros to the bachateros of the world.

Written by Jaxen Tan. Jaxen is the director of Rhythm Identity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Jaxen is a dedicated and motivated latin instructor pushing and promoting new rhythms and styles such as Bachata Moderna and Zouk in Malaysia.