How to Bachata 101: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners to Learn Bachata Dance
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You are very lucky to have come to know that there is a dance form called Bachata. We, at Dance Incubation, know many people who, for some reason or the other, have chosen to learn to dance Bachata. Some want to increase their self-confidence, some want to remain fit with exciting dance steps, and some couples go for it to reignite the spark in their dull relationships. And for all of those reasons and then some more, Bachata seems to be the best option nowadays. So let’s know the dance before learning how to perform the basic steps.

What is Bachata dance known for? 

Bachata is known to be a sensuous form of dance. It is known for its nature of increasing intimacy among couples and making their non-verbal proximity a piece of cake. To any couple that is struggling through rough patches in their relationships, when a couple therapist suggests dance therapy as one important part of your therapy, Bachata seems to do the job the perfect way. 

It’s mostly because this dance, unlike Salsa or other ballroom dances, demands more intimacy, is frisky and yet doesn’t demand as much intricacy as other dance forms. It is not to say that Bachata is easier though. It is a dance with its own distinguished techniques and movements, which we will discuss later so it becomes easier to understand the basic bachata steps for beginners too. 

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A little bit history of Bachata dance

It’s easy to say where Bachata originates from, unlike many other forms of dances. Bachata originated in the rural neighbourhoods of Dominican Republic. The most social dance of 2020, Bachata, has undoubtedly become one of the most popular Latin dances in recent years. 

According to Wikipedia, 

It is often referred to in the West as ‘authentic’ or ‘Dominican’ bachata. The original social dance, as mentioned earlier, was created in the Dominican Republic during the 1960s. The dance was performed only in a closed position or say in a close embrace like the bolero. At present, Bachata is still danced today in the Caribbean and all over the world and has been evolving for several decades.  

Why Bachata over any other dance form? 

As discussed earlier, Bachata comes across like sensual dance and it is a much more intimate dance than any other dance forms like Salsa or ballroom dances. It gives you the freedom to let it go and listen to your partner. 

It is danced all over the world. It’s a fun and exciting dance experience for all skill levels. It’s a great choice for beginners because it’s a slow rhythm and so it is far easier to get the hang of it. Not only that, but it is also a highly enjoyable social dance and a great way to bring not only couples but also groups closer to each other. 

Unlike other dances, there is no one person dominating the dance and rather both get to reply to each other’s non-verbal cues. Sexy, Latin dance moves for the ladies, and easy-to-learn footwork for men, that’s Bachata along with a lot of fun for all levels of experience. 

Dances like Bachata have more additional benefits than just the ones mentioned earlier though. For instance, it helps you and your partner learn to communicate non-verbally. The chemistry translates into understanding each other in life in general. Both the partners are taking the lead and thus no one feels dominated or undervalued in the process. It teaches teamwork. 

Because it is a dance that demands closed embrace, it is an opportunity to whiff pheromones, also release oxytocin – the love hormone, and endorphins – the happiness hormone. Dances like these also teach you to flirt. As beginners who are trying to learn the skill, it will also make you laugh together and also help you be self-confident and contribute to individual growth too. 

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The Ultimate Guide for Beginners to Learn Bachata Dance

Always remember why you want to learn Bachata dance  

On Dance Incubation’s Blog, we have already talked about the link between Happiness, Music and Dance. And we also have emphasized the fact that dancing is a human right and we all should dance like nobody’s watching again. 

There are several reasons attached to dancing like nobody’s watching — we no longer worry about what will people think, we understand that life is too short to be reluctant to have a good time, we discover dancing as a great form of exercise, we get to communicate and express ourselves in a non-verbal way, and above all, we realize it helps with an overall mood upliftment. 

So many reasons and yet we can sum it up all in one sentence that explains it all — we dance to get happiness. We dance to experience positive emotions, don’t we? 

Here is how we can relate 10 most common positive emotions with learning how to dance Bachata: 

Joy: The joy of beginning to learn something together.

Gratitude: The gratitude for the freedom to move your body as you want and feel like. 

Serenity: The serenity of being lost in the moment that almost feels like meditation.

Interest: The interest we and the other person shows in us as we dance together, giving each other non-verbal cues and showing devotion to accepting whatever comes at us. 

Hope: The hope we hold on to mastering the skill and develop stronger bonds with our loved ones. 

Pride: The pride of being able to dance without the fear of judgement. 

Amusement: The amusement of the mere fact that two individuals are trying their best to learn to dance Bachata and they’re doing so in all their goofiness, laughing through it. 

Inspiration: The sheer inspiration your dance is to others as you express your story openly. 

Admiration: The admiration we show to our partner’s moves, acknowledging them, and moving on to the next steps, getting the same response. 

Love: The love we feel between each other as we dance, basking in the shared glow of happiness. 

Bachata dance for beginners, or pros, is a happiness factory. Even if you are originally shy and reserved, you can learn how to dance and bear the fruits of the happiness factory. Dancing may not be part of your capacities, aspirations or vocabulary. But learning to dance Bachata; the exploration, failures, and successes, will make you realize one thing — no one is born a dancer, so everyone can become a dancer as long as they understand the rhythm of the music. 

Always remember that the goal should not be to be the best dance couple and rather it could be to be the happiest dance couple. It takes a dream, a lot of hard work, and a curious mind to learn how to dance Bachata but above all, your goal should be to be happy and not stressed about the process. 

woman, lovely, young

Imagine being the Bachata dancer that you want to be 

We mean it quite literally. As per what Paulo Coehlo writes in one of his books, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Not to forget how The Secret, a book by Rhonda Byrne, suggests the notion that like attracts the like, which means if you emit positive energy, it will be very beneficial because you will attract positive things to you.

You might not be focusing on which kind of dancer you want to become right now. But it’s time for you to do so. You have to focus. And if you dream, imagine, and end up visualizing the dancer you always wanted to be, you have more chances to become this dancer. 

All you have to do is begin to imagine yourself as an amazing and brilliant dancer. It’ll be hard for you to learn in the beginning but you always have to remember that this is normal and you should take this time with a smile, goofing around, laughing at it. 

One great tip that will work for your imagination is to play your favourite Bachata songs and close your eyes. You can then imagine yourself to be the dancer you want to be without the fear of judgement and dance freely in your imagination. Try this and you can sure tell the difference after some days. 

You can also watch videos, observe the moves of pro dancers, and imagine yourself dancing that way. You will certainly feel the motivation to get up on your feet and imitate the steps to have the fun that those dancers seem to have in the videos. When you watch videos, talk to people about your experience watching it, share tips, and also share experiences as a beginner who is learning Bachata, you will see yourself growing in no time. And also you will explore the dance’s different styles on stage, creativity, musicality, connection, technique, and many more things that sometimes we subconsciously learn by mere engagement. 

Dance Incubation is offering a free videos series, where you will learn how to move your body in 3 everyday situations. It’s both fun, and a very different take on how you can actually incorporate dancing in your everyday life without taking classes, spend an extreme amount of time OR even leave your house. This can contribute to your Bachata lessons as beginners in ways you cannot imagine. You can also join our Bachata course right away and learn how to bachata from the comfort of your home.

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Learning the Bachata steps as a beginner 

According to Wikipedia, the Bachata basic steps are performed by moving within a small square — side, side, forward, and then tap with your toes, then side, side, back and tap. They say these steps were inspired by the bolero basic step but have evolved over time to include a tap and steps in between the beats. This helped dancers express the more dynamic music that is being commonly played. 

Here is how Passion4dancing has made it very simple to understand with a summary of Bachata steps for beginners: 

Men:

Forward with left foot

Forward with right foot (small step)

Forward with left foot

Tap right foot to left foot (Partial weight)

Back with right foot

Back with left foot (small step)

Back with right foot

Tap left foot to right foot (Partial weight)

Women:

Back with right foot

Back with left foot (small step)

Back with right foot

Tap left foot to right foot (Partial weight)

Forward with left foot

Forward with right foot (small step)

Forward with left foot

Tap right foot to left foot (Partial weight)

Further, in Bachata both partners have to bend their knees, and step from foot to foot and at the same time create body and hip movement. It is clear from the summary of steps that we mentioned above that Bachata is a dance that has a unique movement at the end of every 4 steps. Instead of switching weight, you tap the foot in place without weight.

Simply put, there are a total of 6 weight changes and 2 tapping steps within an 8 count of Bachata. Further, it’s important to know the Bachata music is very sensual and dramatic. Artists like Prince Royce have made a name for themselves by producing many top Bachata hits. Don’t forget to listen to them. 

girl, hair, blowing

Over to you! 

We hope we bestowed you with enough motivation to learn Bachata dance as a beginner. You should just start alone with practising your part of the steps, feeling the music, and also noticing your hip movements. Then, try incorporating a partner. As you will move forward from being a noob to a pro, you can add more complex footwork and spice things up. 

All the best! 

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Caroline Kjeldgaard

Fulltime dancer and creator

Caroline is giving her all to share knowledge around sensuality and movement as a female dancer. She is based in Hong Kong and provides weekly guidance to her followers.

Caroline Kjeldgaard

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