BACHATA THE REAL CARIBBEAN DANCE



THIS BACHATA SITE IS BORN TO BRING AWARENESS TO WHAT THE DANCE BACHATA IS BY DEFINITION BECAUSE MANY WESTERN DANCE SCHOOLS ABUSE THE NAME BACHATA
 DANCES MADE FROM AMERICAN SALSA (X-BODY) AND BRAZILIAN ZOUK DANCE MOVES THEY CALL BACHATA FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN TO PROFIT ON THE NAME BACHATA.
 The Site is born 27.3.2012 based on Frank E's first written definition in danish published in 2008 @ www.hifisalsa.dk Since this international publication we have had a average of 10 new visitors every day.


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 (the Bolero is a Cuban invention) with influence from the Cuban Son and the Dominican Merengue and this also applies to the real dance Bachata.

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 and 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 as described very unique evolved structures basically not similar to the inspirational dances.

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 body movements together with the natural styling 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 by using the common evolved and now fundamental dance structures in a stylish way.

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) Video: 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. 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) Video: 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. Can be done over one to two bars (over two bars I call it a Slow Vuelta).
Enchufla (Couple Changing Positions) Video: 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. This turn/position change is also evolved unique to Bachata from the structure of the Bachata basic steps.
Zapato/a (Footwork) Video: 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.
Movimiento (Movements and Styling) Video1Video2: 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.
Figuras (Figures) Video: More dynamic ways to use the combinations of vueltas and enchuflas combined with variations of the basic steps or/and footwork.
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 name: To any dance it's the basic dance structures which define the dance and this means it's the above mentioned structures which define the dance Bachata and noting else but those because the name Bachata was given to this dance. If anyone make a new dance with a different dance structure they should of course also give the dance a different name NOT including the name Bachata which as mentioned already define this unique Caribbean dance.

The European dances: In the zeros X-body (American) Salsa dance teachers in Spain started to dance with a basic dance structure they thought was how Bachata was danced in The Dominican Republic. This Spanish way of dancing to the music Bachata had/has a side to side basic dance structure and on this side to side structure other and later X-body Salsa dance teachers have made up a serie of "new" dances from where the remaining of today are: Bachata Modern, Bachata Sensual and Bachata Cabaret. The basic idea from the beginning with these dances was to sell dance courses in "Bachata" to expand their business and profit from the increasingly popular music Bachata. But please notice the side to side basic dance structure has never been the Dominican way of dancing Bachata as you can see from the description of the authentic dance structures above.

The first European dance occurred as mentioned in Spain around 2002 with this side to side basic dance structure 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) then 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 is based on the real basic steps which is danced in a small square where the Vuelta then also should stay within without interrupting the flow of those basic steps when making the turn. Furthermore the Position Change we see in the the European dances became a variation of the Vuelta walking forward instead of sideways to change position, where the Position Change in the real dance which like the real Vuelta also has its foundational structure in the basic steps and therefore ISN'T a variation of the Vuelta but are a unique traveling variation of the basic steps. The result of this is that in the real 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 at all semilar to the authentic Bachata footwork which are made to fit the specific musical dynamics in Bachata.

This European dances have then on this non authentic side to side basic dance structures been added dance elements and styling from several other dances: The first dance was added elements and styling from X-body (American) Salsa and this dance has today 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. It means they are all danced with elements and styling from dances which have nothing to do with Bachata and all of them also have the same before mentioned non authentic side to side basic dance foundation.

So in this context talking about the European dances IS Bachata or EVOLUTION of Bachata is PURE nonsense because none of them are evolved from the authentic dance Bachata. My suggestion is that we use the term 'European Popchata' as the MAIN LABEL for these "new" dances and then one could use the already EXISTING LABELS of today for the SUB-dances but of cause WITHOUT including the name Bachata because it isn't Bachata. The transition is then easy because everyone is already familiar with these marketing SUB-labels: Modern, Sensual & Cabaret. With this we then have a main label 'European Popchata' to all the European dances and we then also have the names for the sub dances, Modern (mainly American Salsa/X-Body), BachaTango (mainly Tango), Sensual (mainly Brazilian Zouk), Cabaret (Competition/Show dance mainly consisting of Acrobatics and Gymnastics). Pop' then simply indicate it's popular dance forms in Europe including the rest of 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 real definition to what all the dances are, and would also be respectful to the Dominican people and their unique cultural dance. Furthermore with these labels everyone would then also know what actually IS Bachata and what is European Dances danced to the music Bachata.


Bachata: The authentic dance defined by it's unique and specific dance structures invented by the social dancers in The Dominican Republic which means the NAME Bachata is the authentic social dance and nothing else.
European Popchata: Umbrella term for western dances without the authentic Bachata dance structures but with dance moves taken from American Salsa, Tango and Brazilian Zouk, danced to Pop 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 fot 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 what is taught at their courses.

European Popchata is the main label and it covers different dances "invented" by Western Dance Studios and also taught by those. The Sub genres to European Popchata you most frequently encountered are Modern and Sensual. A clear detailed description of what the labels cover should be included by the instructors themselves so people will have a clear idea of what it is they can expect of the teaching.

These dances are however all danced with the side to side steps, back and forth steps, side walking turns and forward walking turns as basic which are NOT the authentic structures. This include more or less X-body, Tango, Dance Sport, Brazilian Zouk, Pole and Contemporary dance elements.

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: Bachata Urbana (Bachata merged with R'n'B and Pop music is the sound from USA started in New York City, thereof the name 'Urban')

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 DR and Wordwide - Frank E teach authentic Dominican Bachata, Dominican & Cuban Bolero, Dominican Merengue, Cuban Son and Cuban Casino ("Salsa") in DK - Frank E together with Helle Venters also organize Dance Holidays to The Dominican Republic.

https://sites.google.com/site/bachataholiday/