A friend of mine from latin america recently found himself taking bachata classes. In his culture, dancing is a part of everyday life, something that is social yet rarely formally learned. This friend always considered that he could dance bachata to some degree, yet was pleasantly surprised to realise that being ‘formally’ taught the counts, techniques, variations and options for movement opened so many doors for him in terms of how, what and with whom he can dance.

I believe it is a matter of respect, not only to the dance but to those with whom we will dance, that we all know those basic subtleties that make a close dance like bachata (or any dance we intend on dancing with others, for that matter) at the very least comfortable. This doesn’t take a huge time or financial commitment. There are so many ways to get basic bachata instruction!

  1. Try out the (often free) classes that are provided at the start of many events or social nights… while they may not delve into technique, they will set you on the right path!
  2. Explore classes at a range of dance schools. Every instructor will have a different take on the dance, history, style, and the more you are exposed to, the more of those ‘subtleties’ you will pick up, eventually able to pick and chose what to include in your style.
  3. Don’t rush your learning… taking 5 classes in a week may not be the most beneficial way to learn, as your body won’t have time to get used to new types of movement.
  4. Privates! After you’ve been learning for a little while, take a private or two so you can fix those little aspects of the dance that you find challenging, or learn how you can make your own dancing that little bit more elegant/gentle/fun/sexy!
  5. Perform! Bachata performance teams are popping up everywhere and are an amazing way to learn the subtleties of the dance… but so much more than this, performance teams – from beginners to professionals – open up so many opportunities to form new friendships, to become a more confident and stylish dancer and to travel and explore festivals and events around the country and the world!

For the majority of those who will dance bachata in their lives, it will be to fulfill a socialising, fun-having function. And that is a wonderful reason to dance. But remember that even if just dancing socially, it is respectful to know how to make the dance comfortable and enjoyable for those you dance with. And for those who want to go further with their bachata, there are so many instructors and styles of bachata emerging across the globe that the opportunities for dance development through the style are many, varied and exciting!

We would love to hear how you feel about learning bachata, to hear your stories and opinions about this dance we so love!

Written By Kari Bowling. Kari is a latin dance instructor at Latin Dance Nation, in Adelaide, South Australia. Kari is an avid and passionated Bachatera. You can find Kari at the studio, night clubs in Adelaide and Latin events in Australia