Written by Lee Murdock – Lee is a Bachatero from London, UK. Lee is a devoted student of Inaki Fernandez from Bachata UK. One can truly say that Lee is a Bachatero by heart!

Seeing as we’ve all been dancing Bachata socially for a while now, I’ve always been curious if other dancers have come across the problem of “How Close is too Close…. in Bachata??, I mean, when dancing in the “Closed Position” socially, especially with the Traditional/Moderna styles, how close is “too close”?

This is probably a question, that I’d be very interested to the viewpoints of our Bachatera’s (and also the Bachateros). Is there a general accepted common ground, when dancing in the closed position with our partner??… as I’ve asked various women regarding this, their opinions vary from:

  • A close and confident (very important) lead is a must! A guy holding a girl in a close position as if it was the ‘most natural thing in the world’ signals to the woman that we are both in this dance together, that he shares the woman’s understanding of how Bachata should be danced, and that this is an intrinsic element of the dance.
  • On the other hand, a timid or hesitant approach is immediately sensed by the woman, and can cause a woman to have her guard up.
  • The guy should begin with (unless it’s someone he has danced with previously) a slightly open-position, allowing for a little bit of distance. As the dance progresses, implement a few moves that close the distance a little…and if the girl responds favourably to this, allow the dance to progress in this manner, until you have a closed position that suits the both of you…

But the issue with giving the partner the correct amount of space, is hard to pinpoint.  I personally allow the women to dictate, how close she’d like to dance…and I still sometimes get it wrong.

When I dance with someone I don’t usually dance with, I’ll start in the open position. I would initiate a turn pattern-into a closed hold, which brings the woman closer, and from there I let the woman decide if she is comfortable with this, and let her adjust her comfort level accordingly.

My partners have frequently told me that I’m a very good/confident lead… I guess it is because I’ve found that women feel this confidence when I’m leading, and become comfortable dancing on a closed position with me quite quickly. This is a real blessing when making a woman feel comfortable dancing in a closed position!  But as I’ve found…it doesn’t always mean that the women will always feel that way with every dance.  I’ve been told: I’m not dancing close enough; I’ve been told: I’m dancing too close; I’ve been told off for not looking enough into my partner’s eyes. I’ve given space to girls I’ve known, that don’t like being too close…only to have them step in very close to me, and hold me very close. Therefore, it doesn’t appear that there is a general and consistent way of approaching dancing in the closed position with a partner, and each dance seems to be needed to dance on its own merits.

Therefore, us – as guys – sometime wrongly (and sometime rightly) try to interpret how a women may/may not be feeling on the particular dance.  I have to say that It’s not easy!!….and there certainly needs to be a bit of understanding from both parties, to make the best dance possible.  But when it comes together (and I’ve had my fair share), with two people dancing as one…it can be one of the most breathtaking dances I’ve ever danced! (in a way, I don’t get from Salsa/Cha Cha, Merengue).

So, can some of the Bachatera’s shed some light on their thoughts on the subject??….and whilst I’m at it….I’ll flip the question towards the guys (Bachateros)…”Is there a comfort/Closeness zone, that you prefer girls not to overstep”…..I mean for me personally, If I’m going to dance Bachata with a girl, then I have already accepted that this can be a very close dance, and I don’t mind if the girl gets very close (as, it actually makes leading a lot easier for me), but there are a couple of girls that I dance with that insist on having their face pressed against mine……and because I know them and they are friends, and I’ve danced Bachata many times with them before, I don’t mind….but I wouldn’t want every girl I danced Bachata with to do this…. What do you think?

Written by Lee Murdock – Lee is a Bachatero from London, UK. Lee is a devoted student of Inaki Fernandez from Bachata UK. One can truly say that Lee is a Bachatero by heart!