This article is written to find out more about something that we all love in an effort to standardize the different styles in Bachata. This article is open for discussion as we would like to hear from you.
I will certainly gain more knowledge from this – and hopefully you too! – Peter
For some time I’ve (together with my wife Christine) been organizing events, teaching and watching the evolution of the Bachata dance which we learned to love for so many different reasons.
Personally I love the variety on HOW to dance ANY dance, but I’m starting to be worried when students are asking about styles which for me never would count as a STYLE of (in this case) Bachata. Why? Well… Most of the “styles” encountered today, are just one of the main styles (if you could call them that) that is somewhat expressed differently than another teacher somewhere else in the world teaching the same style – leading to inconsistence; which in turn will lead to the teacher calling the style something of his own – so that you cannot claim the style to be false in any way.
Well… That is ONE way to solve the issue.
What I learned for a couple of years ago, was that there are three different styles of Bachata. Keep in mind… still just ONE dance. The three styles (which I learned about) are:
DOMINICAN BACHATA – The origin! This style IS the dance, but having said that – this is not the ONLY way to express the dance.
Dominicans are so good with their musicality, and it really doesn’t matter how much we would train ourselves to do the same thing – we wouldn’t really be able to do it. But we try – and that is a way to spread the love for the country, the culture, the music and the origin. If you haven’t read about the oppression the music lived through during the Trujillo era – then please do. It tells you so much about how the music evolved during the early years, and how the music started to spread over the world in the 90s. (Compare that with the salsa that spread around the world many years before Bachata music started to be available to us in North America, Europe, Asia, etc.)
The style makes you listen to the music, finding the beats and the changes of the music, not only the percussion, but the so important bass as well. And let’s not forget; the guitar. You’ll do some crazy footwork to these instruments and you will use all the “in betweens” of the music. That – and to be really grounded – is what Dominican Bachata is all about.
BACHATA STANDARD (or Traditional)
I don’t know for certain how this style started – but I would really like to know. What I do know, is that most of the evolution of this style comes from Salsa teachers expanding their latin dance schools, and salsa dancers trying to find other things to do in the dance. This style is great for expressing yourself with turn patterns, dips and tricks, and many more things that never existed in the Dominican Bachata to start with. It’s an evolution of the dance – and personally I think this style appeals the Salsa dancers the most.
Many of the new groups Aventura, Xtreme, 4ever and groups alike – actually misses the bass in the way you can hear it in the “old school” bachata music. That is (in my opinion) probably one of the reasons to why Bachata Standard evolved with THIS music rather than Kiko Rodriguez, Raulin Rodriguez, Antony Santos, Frank Reyes and so forth..
BACHATA MODERNA – Evolution of the dance in Spain, Italy and Australia – still growing there!
I would really like to know the true origins for this style as well – but the main issue is the difference that makes the style. In Bachata Moderna your “bachata basics” differ from walking the regular bachata basics most of us learned from the beginning. Instead you will change directions, and you will also cross over. This is really what distinguishes the style.
The music for the style does not matter as much as it might do for the Dominican Bachata – and I’m not an expert on the style – but the feeling of the song FOR THE DANCER(S) is/are more important than the actual style of the music and whether the bass beat is strong or not present at all.
The above-mentioned styles are the ones I learned to live with for some years now. And – as times flies new names are popping up everywhere. It’s not that I don’t like the “styles”, it’s more a feeling of not understanding what actually makes the new founded style “A style” of Bachata. Recently I’ve come to realize that the differences don’t make them “a style OF Bachata” but rather a sub-style of the above-mentioned styles.
As an organizer of Bachata events (Swedish Bachata Festival) – I would love to find common names to use for the styles.
I really love to see the variety of Bachata dancers, and I love to see new ways of doing the same things. I hope to see a growth of Bachata in 2010 – and I’m sure I will. I’m really looking forward to it!
With this note – I would just like to get some input from around the world!
- What is a “style” of this dance? How did it come to be a style? What makes it a style?
- Is it a good thing to have few or many styles? And why?
- In the ideal world – which are the “MAIN” styles according to You?
If you give some input – please tell if this is what YOU think (personally) or if it is facts! :o)
Peter @ Bachata Sweden
Written By Peter Dottax. Peter with his wife Christine Dottax are a popular Bachata instructors in Sweden and Europe and owner of Bachata Sweden. Peter is also the organizer of the Swedish Bachata Festival
All photos courtesy of Swedish Bachata Festival 2009