The Origin of Bachata as you probably know both regarding the Music and the Dance are the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean.
Bachata originated in the El Cibao region and grew fast from there to all over the country among the lower class citizens including the large poor areas of the capital Santo Domingo. The music spread through Bars, Local Musicians and Radio Stations like La Guarachita. The name Bachata was given to the music in the early seventies as an contemptuous term for the lower class music and parties. Bachata is today a highly recognized and popular music genre all over the world and the authentic social dance from the Dominican Republic is also now growing worldwide after a long period with European invented dances wrongly called for Bachata so western people believed it WAS Bachata, but as you will find out after reading this they aren't.

The Music was in the late fifties and early sixties very semilar to the Puerto Rican Bolero from the fifties and then it over the following decades evolved into the faster, more characteristic and unique Bachata sound as we know it today - The Caribbean Bolero is a Cuban invention from the last quarter of 1800s not semilar to the earlier Spanish Bolero.
Today you can find Bachata Music in many varying paces from the slow 'Bolero-pace' to the fast 'Salsa-pace': In the 60ies it was slow like a Bolero. In the 70-80ies it became faster and this sound and dynamic is what we today easily can recognize as the characteristic Bachata. In the 90ies the pace and dynamic reached its heights being very fast in general. In the 00es it became slower again and here in the 10ths we see a lot of romantic Bachata like we saw in the 60-70ies Bachata-Boleros together with mostly medio tempo paces and dynamics.

The first recording in the Dominican Republic (DR) with Bachata (Bachata-Bolero) was with Jose Manuel Calderon and the track 'Qué Será De Mi' recorded the 30 maj 1962 at the radio station "La Voz del Tropico" in Santo Domingo. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the first Bachata-Bolero played in The Dominican Republic but only the first recorded. It was a difficult time for poor musicians to get anything published anywhere without the right connections.
The first vinyl discs for promotion purpose in The Donimican Republic with "Qué Será De Mi" on one side and a waltz "Borracho De Amor" on the other side was printed in San Francisco, California and then soon after again re-printed in thousands and then sold all over the country.
It was from that period the genre was formed even though the music was slower then (Bachata-Bolero) and the music was recorded with acustic guitars.
In 1986 the genre got a new era when Blas Duran started to record with an electric guitar and almost everybody followed that 'new' sound.

Long story short: Bachata the music has evolved from the Puerto Rican Bolero witch in general was faster than the cuban Bolero who was the first to make Boleros in the Caribbean. Bachata also evolved with influence from the Cuban Son and the Dominican Merengue and all this also applies to the real social dance Bachata invented in the Dominican Republic.

The evolution of the dance Bachata:
Bachata was in the beginning of the sixties danced as the slow Dominican Bolero in a close position only (it was actually Bolero they where dancing). On this Dominican Bolero steps the dance started to Evolve to the more dynamic music coming up, the first was adding a tap as a fourth step, then later also syncopated steps (steps in between the melody beats: 1,2,3,4) and footwork basically inspired from the Cuban Son. Turns also became more generally, first the Vuelta (full turn) and then the Enchufla (half turn) which are unique to Bachata and not similar to any other of the dances which inspired the dance Bachata, or similar to any other dance for that matter. The idea with the Enchufla was to be able to change position and thereby create more dynamic to fit the new dynamics and faster paces in the music. The creation of it was based on the basic steps with the first step to the side and then the second step passing the guy and that also includes the Vuelta with a turning step to the side and then from there turned on the spot. Notice that the Bolero steps was danced without the Tap and it was danced turning slowly counter clockwise but this turning was taken out of the dance Bachata and then added these new dynamic turns Vuelta and Enchufla and also new positions to dance from e.g. the open position now having both the close, the semi close and the open dance positions. The bouncing way of dancing some dancers do while dancing is coming from the dance Merengue. Bachata was by this several decades long and still active evolutionary process carefully designed to fit the continuous evolving music and thereby is the dance Bachata the unique bodily expression of the music Bachata the same way all authentic social dances are evolved to fit any unique music genre. Notice that Bachata was as mentioned inspired by the dances Bolero, Son and Merengue but is NOT a fusion of these dances because most of the elements in Bachata are very unique evolved structures.

In Bachata there is as mentioned a unique evolved basic dance structure which is used by all the experienced dancers, but the size of the steps, the angel of the steps, the footwork, the movements can vary because the dancers, opposite in e.g. Dance Sport are working to create their own unique and personal dance style. It's in general what social dance is about, being free to express oneselves the way one want according to the mood and the character of the music but by using the common evolved and now fundamental dance structures in a stylish way. Thereby everyone can dance together and still create their own individual style. That is the basic idea of social couple dancing opposite sport dances where everyone have to do steps and turns the exact same way and also using the exact same styling making all dancers look similar on the dance floor.

Like all social dances Bachata also have had certain time periods for how the dance was danced: In the early years as mentioned Bachata was in general danced romantic with less turns, syncopated steps and footwork to that time period slower Bachata-Bolero music style. Then slowly there were evolved faster and more dynamic music including the replacement of the acoustic guitars to electric guitars in the second half of the eighties and on that the dance evolved further according to these changes becoming more dynamic adding more turns, syncopated steps and footwork. Today Bachata music are to be found in many paces, moods and dynamics. As a social dancer one has to adapt the dance to the track being played by using more or less of the elements to the dance which you in details can find described below. By learning all the dance elements you will be able to dance to any kind of the music Bachata.
The purpose with any social dance is to create the best physical connection while dancing to be able to have the optimal lead/follow interaction and thereby also obtain the best possible dance flow together. I call it the functionality of the dance. The longer a dance has been around the more the social dancers have been working on making all the basic dance elements the best possible and by this also obtain the best possible dance flow. Please don't underestimate all that work, it takes many years and without this common and well evolved dance structures we wont be able to feel the dance as intensely as the purpose is with this work (see also Musicality).

The authentic dance structures to Bachata:
Paso Basico (Basic Steps): Danced in a "box"-structure side, side, forward, tap and side, side, backward, tap etc. and can include twisting feet and syncopations (taps and steps between the beats), evolved from the Dominican Bolero steps, Video. Bolero also include walking/traveling steps (Pasealas) going back in several measures or fourth in several measures. Bolero also has a right turn where the couple are turning together on the spot (Giro) also used in Bachata. There are no individual turns (Vueltas) in Bolero.
The Bolero steps are also used when Dominicans dance Son and the steps are originally a variation of the Cuban Danzón steps, a very popular music and dance genre all over the Caribbean many years ago also including The Dominican Republic before the popularity of Bolero and Son displaced Danzón. Dominicans dance Son in an old school Cuban fashion way, very charming and original.
Giro (Couple Half or Full Turn or More): A turn coming from the Bolero where the couple turn together on the spot from a half turn to a full turn or more by using from one to several bars.
Vuelta (Individual Full Turn): A unique evolved full turn to Bachata for one person starting with a step to the side and turning the body in the same direction at the same time and from there turned on the spot, Video. Can be done over one to two bars (over two bars I call it a Slow Vuelta).
Enchufla (Couple Changing Positions): A Lady inside turn moving forward on the 2nd step and then turn facing the dance partner from the 2nd to the 3rd step, the 1st step is to the side, Video. This turn/position change is also evolved unique to Bachata from the structure of the Bachata basic steps.
Zapato/a (Footwork): A part of the styling and playing with the syncopated rhythms in the music, some Cuban Son inspired and some newer made for the dance in accordance to the many syncopated rhythms in the music Bachata, Video.
Movimiento (Movements and Styling): Natural soft African moves which can be danced with or without Bounce which is moving the body down in between the beats and up again on the beats by spring the legs a little, coming from the Dominican dance Merengue. Danced with homogeneous soft Arms, Hands, Hip and Torso movements with curved lines, women with a feminine attitude and men with a masculine attitude, NO straight lines in Arms and Fingers as in Dance Sport, Video 1, Video 2.
Figuras (Figures): More dynamic ways to use the combinations of vueltas and enchuflas combined with variations of the basic steps or/and footwork, Video.
Nueva Evolución (New evolutionary elements of today by expanding on the original basic elements above):
Vuelta Cubana: Individual Full Turn the way cubans do in Son.
Vuelta Opposite: An Individual Turn done the opposite way than usually starting e.g. on the right leg on the 1st step but then turned to the left (opposite as usual) on the 2nd step and finished on the 3rd step. There are different ways of doing the opposite turn, it can be done as a half turn (180 degrees) or as a full turn (360 degrees).
About Syncopations which are are steps in between the melody beats made to fit the many dynamic syncopations in the Bachata Music:
Ordinary Syncopations are as mentioned steps coming between the beats and they are normally coming between the 1st and 2nd beat and the 2nd and 3th beat dancing the Basic Steps as mentioned above by twisting the feet between the beats or tapping between the beats moving your legs inward. There is also a Kicking variation where the steps can be done between all the beats and in those you are moving the legs outward between the beats (kicking).
Significant Syncopations are steps between the beats also but where they are marked by an accent in the body also.
They appears as an extension of the tap between the tap and the following step e.g. if the tap is on the 4th beat the significant syncopation is coming between the 4th and 1st beat in the following Bar. Those are the one you also can se as "cha cha" steps going back and forth in the basic steps to the more dynamic music (not semilar to the cha cha chá steps in the dance ChaChaChá). Some call what I call Significant Syncopations for double steps or triple steps.
About Footwork which here is defined as combinations with varied kind of steps, slides, kicks etc. also including syncopations. Footwork can be performed from one to several bars in the music and from relatively simple to very advanced.

Dance Connection: Open where the turns and footwork are done with 1 or 2 hand connection. Semi Close with the classic connection with the mans left hand and the women's right hand connected including the mans right hand behind the women's back and women's left hand on the mans shoulder, no torso contact. Close is the same as Semi Close or embracing with torso contact.

Musicality is about dancing to and with the music, it's about two very important issues: The first one is how the dance has evolved to and with the character of the music Bachata by the generations of social dancers in DR from it's start in the early sixties until today which have been a long evolutionary journey based on the Bolero and with the social dances Son and Merengue (which music genre also have affected the evolution of the music) as inspiration for the creation and the evolution of the dance elements, I call this for the evolutionary musicality (the unique corporal expression created on the specific musical genre). The second one is how you as a leader or follower in the dance Bachata interpret the specific track you are dancing to here and now regarding the mood, dynamic, pace, rhythms etc. using these elements evolved for the specific dance (the evolutionary musicality) which I then call the current musicality (the unique corporal expression of the specific mood and dynamics of the music track being played). Both are very important and both takes lots of experience in social dancing in general, first of all to be able to evolve on a dance together with and to the nature of the music and it's evolution and second to be able to dance Bachata of today using more or less of these evolved dance elements according to the specific track beeing played and how this track include syncopated rhythms, a specific mood, pace and instrumental dynamics etc.

Bachata the dance and its given name: To any dance it's the basic dance structures together with how the body is used in the dance (styling) which define the dance. And accordingly the dance is given a name. To Bachata it's the above described dance structures made and evolved by its inventors and evolutionists of Bachata together with the use of the body which define the dance Bachata. The dance Bachata got its name in the seventies in its country of origin the Dominican Republic after it has changed from Bolero into a new more dynamic dance and therefor given a new name.

So why is it that dance teachers in the west insist on calling dances with dance structures and styling from American Salsa (X-Body) and Brazlian Zouk for Bachata? If they were using the Bachata structures they could with a good conscience call i Bachata Fusion because it would then actually be a fusion of Bachata and Salsa or Bachata and Brazilian Zouk. But they don't use the structures of real Bachata and that's why it can't be called anything including the name Bachata because that is a regular lie using the name Bachata to what they dance and teach.

The question abowe is an old question but it isn't yet answered: So why do teachers in the west call what they do for Bachata when it has NO Bachata dance structures? My guess is it's all about money turned into yet another western cultural exploitation and marketing fraud to be able to profit from the real dance and the use of the exotic name Bachata from the Caribean.

More facts about the European dances called Bachata: In the zeros X-body (American Salsa) dance teachers in Spain started to dance with a very wide side to side basic dance structure very semilar to how turist entertainment was done at Dominican Turist Resorts. From this simplified way to make it easier for turists to participate in the resort entertainment these Spanish dance teachers in general made up a serie of "new" dances during time where the remaining of them today are: Bachata Modern, Bachata Sensual and Bachata Cabaret. The basic idea with these dances was to sell dance courses with "Bachata" to expand their business and to profit from the increasingly more popular Bachata music worldwide. But please notice that the turist side to side basic dance structure has never been the real Dominican way of dancing Bachata as you can see from the description of the authentic dance structures above and from the many videos with Dominican dancers on this Site.

The european teachers have then on this side to side basic dance structure added dance elements and styling form several other dances as American Salsa, Tango, Brazilian Zouk and Dance Sport.

The first European dance occurred as mentioned in Spain around 2002 with this wide side to side basic dance steps and a very exaggerated hip movement as a fourth "step" at a time where the music was growing in popularity worldwide. From those side to side steps everything else they added thereafter then also became a motion from side to side. First the Vuelta (the full turn) became a sideways walking turn because it should fit with the side to side walking steps. But as most people know today the authentic Bachata Vuelta is turned on the spot because it's made to fit the authentic basic steps which is danced in a small square where the Vuelta then also should stay within without interrupting the flow of those steps when making the turn. Furthermore the Position Change we see in the the European dances just became a variation of the Vuelta walking forward instead of sideways to change position, where the Position Change in the authentic dance which like the authentic Vuelta has its foundational structure in the basic steps and therefore ISN'T a variation of the Vuelta but are a unique traveling variation based on the basic steps. The result of this is that in the authentic dance the lady is turning FACING the man during the position change and in the Western dances she is turning with her BACK to him and this gives different connection-related dynamics compared with one another. I call this Position Change in the authentic dance for the Enchufla. Additional to this the Footwork they use in all the Western dances are either taken directly from X-body Salsa or Tango or are a mix of those and are therefore not semilar to the authentic Bachata footwork which are made to fit the specific musical dynamics in the music Bachata, not Tango or Salsa music.

This European dances have then on this non authentic dance structures added dance elements and styling from several other dances: The first dance was added elements and styling from American Salsa and this dance has the label Bachata Modern. The second dance was based on Tango elements and styling and given the label BachaTango but this dance is basically not danced anymore. The third dance in the order is called Bachata Sensual and this dance is danced with elements and styling from the Brazilian Zouk, a dance studio dance from Brazil. This means that they are all danced with elements and styling from dances which have nothing to do with Bachata and all of them also use the same before mentioned non authentic wide side to side basic dance foundation.

So as anyone can see in this context, talking about the european dances IS Bachata or EVOLUTION of Bachata is PURE nonsense because none of them use the real Bachata structures or are evolved from the real Bachata structures. Therefore to keep it all cultural real and respectful to the Dominican Republic history my suggestion is that we exclude the name Bachata from these dances and use the term "Popchata" instead for these "new" dances and then one could use the already EXISTING LABELS of today in the western world for the SUB-dances but of cause without including the name Bachata because it isn't Bachata. Everyone is already familiar with these western marketing SUB-labels: Modern, Sensual & Cabaret. And as they all are based on the same wide side to side foundation the main label 'Popchata' suits perfect. The difference between the sub genres are that Modern mainly consists of American Salsa/X-Body moves and styling. BachaTango consists mainly of Tango moves and styling. Sensual consists mainly of Brazilian Zouk moves and styling and Cabaret is competition/show dance mainly consisting of Acrobatic/Gymnastic moves and then styling from dance sport). 'Pop' then simply indicate it's popular dance forms in the Western World and the following "chata" gives it the link to the music Bachata which they mostly are danced to. This would be a fair and respectful gesture to the Dominican people and their unique cultural dance Bachata.

Bachata: The authentic dance defined by it's unique dance structures and body moves invented by the social dancers in the Dominican Republic which means the name Bachata is the authentic social dance.
Popchata: Umbrella term for western dances without the authentic Bachata dance structures but with dance moves and styling taken from other dances and then danced to the new Pop/RaB Bachata music.

Whatever you are dancing romantic to a slow "Bolero" or to a medium or fast tempo alternating between close and open position dancing with more or less combinations of authentic turns and footwork the label is then Bachata because this is the accepted and used label of today by the population of The Dominican Republic who evolved the dance Bachata to fit the music Bachata.

However instructors teaching this authentic dance in the western world find it necessary with adjectives as "Authentic" or "Dominican" to make people and students understand that what is taught at their courses is the authentic dance.

Popchata is a main label and it covers different dances "invented" by Western Dance Studios and also taught by those.

The Sub genres to Popchata most frequently encountered today are Modern, Sensual and Cabaret.

These dances are however all danced with side to side steps, back and forth steps, side walking turns and forward walking turns as basic which are NOT the authentic Bachata structures and to this there are added more or less American Salsa, Dance Sport and Brazilian Zouk dance elements and styling.

The Music: Bachata Bolero (the older slow genre) and Bachata Moderna (the sucesor with the electric guitar and in gererally faster and more dynamic, the sound from The Dominican Republic most common of today). The Music: Urban Bachata (Bachata merged with RnB and Pop music from USA started in New York City, thereof the name 'Urban'. It's a fusion music genre and it doesn't sound quite semilar to real Bachata).

About the Author: Frank E has danced and analysed authentic Bachata and western dances called Bachata since 2003 - He has been equipped with video footage from the Dominican Republic dating back to 2000 and continuous forward - He has followed Bachata on YouTube from it's inception in 2005 and thereby reviewed thousands of dance videos with the authentic dance Bachata and the Western studio dances together with watching social dancers at many socials in The Dominican Republic and Wordwide - Frank E teach authentic Dominican Bachata, Dominican & Cuban Bolero, Dominican Merengue, Cuban Son and Cuban Casino ("Salsa") in Copenhagen, Denmark - Frank E together with Helle Venters also organize dance holidays to The Dominican Republic including all the major couple dances danced there which are Bachata, Merengue, Son, Bolero and Salsa, read more at Bachata Holiday