The authentic Bachata, from the Dominican Republic, is a box-step dance with a sequence of 8 counts. Western influence kept the same 8 counts but altered the basic step with a side-to-side motion. The fusion-style of Bachata developed in the United States, Europe and Australia combines any or all of the Traditional, Modern, Urban, Bachatango, and Bachaballroom styles.
Steps one through three are a step-together-step, followed by a tap on count four. Changing direction, dancers repeat the step-together-step for counts five thru seven, and tap on the eight count. The tap on the four and eight count can include a slight or exaggerated “pop” movement with the hips, depending on the dancer’s style. With each Bachata step, the dancer’s hips mimic a figure-eight design. It is important to keep knees slightly bent to ease the sway of the hips. When you dance the Bachata, the music follows the same 8-count pattern and the rhythm accents every fourth count, which is a good indication of when to “pop.” The tap and pop indicate which direction the next steps will go.
As a partner dance, the leader decides whether to perform in an open, semi-closed or closed position. The leader communicates with “pushing and pulling” hand gestures. The performance variations depend on the music, venue, mood, and interpretation.
History of the Bachata
Bachata dance developed with its accompanying music genre, also called Bachata. The first Bachata music recordings were created immediately after the 1961 assassination of Dominican Republic’s 31-year dictator, Rafael Trujillo, who had repressed Bachata because its social stigma was that of poor, rural and uneducated citizens. In the wake of his death, national pride gave birth to the Dominican music and dance industry that would eventually dominate the island. Like the period it came from, Bachata music and dance often tell a tale of heartbreak and sadness. The authentic Bachata was danced only closed, like the bolero, in a close embrace.