Bachata

Learn the language of connection with one of the biggest romantic dances from the Dominican Republic! This page shares more information about the 3 styles of Bachata we teach at Rhythms. Look at our schedule to see when the next Bachata class is!

Modern

Modern

Bringing more turn sequences while maintaining our Bachata hips is what this style is about! Modern was the beginning of commercialization for Bachata. The music for this style is typically more romantic than what was traditionally played in the Dominican Republic.

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Sensual

Sensual

This popular style developed in Spain focuses on body isolations within partnering. Appropriate when the music has slowed down or during music breaks. A lot of commercial pop songs have been remixed into Bachata for this style. Although it’s sensual, our community refrains from sexualizing the movement.

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Traditional Dominican

Traditional Dominican

Danced with hip movement that resembles other Caribbean dances, but uses a different variety of footwork. Traditional Bachata typically sounds upbeat with its musical swing, however, the lyrics are described as "bitter" by the Dominican people.

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Enjoy a free introductory Bachata class 

Originally, Bachata was referred to as an informal party in rural areas of the Dominican, accompanied by accordion and guitar-based music. Música de guitarra (Music from Guitar) was an umbrella term used for all sorts of musical genres including Bolero. While Bolero is the antecedent to Bachata in principal, Bachata has been influenced by all Música de guitarra, as well as complex social, economic, and political factors.

The Trujillo Era 1930-1961

During his dictatorship, Rafael Trujillo controlled Dominican life in almost every aspect, including what music the nation would listen to. Trujillo loved the genre of music Merengue and he generously compensated highly educated composers and lyricists to "refine" the music. Trujillo would go on to push Merengue to the Elite-class.

 

In 1943 Trujillo's brother, José Arismendi would acquire a radio station and call it La Voz Dominicana (The Dominican Voice) and make it the official station of the Dominican. Arismendi kept the best Dominican artists on contract thus controlled what was being aired. 

The Former Decades 1961-1989

After the assassination of Trujillo, opportunities for artists expanded rapidly. The Dominican people were now able to record music without censorship. The first Bachata songs to be recorded sounded like an imitation of bolero with simple rhythms and Guitar melodies. The composing and recording quality was subpar at the time but people from the country loved it, as it is what they grew up listening to. Meanwhile, Merengue was still being seen as the national music and became more commercialized while less influential music like Bachata would fight an uphill battle for attention. Bachata would eventually become synonymous with poor, black, and uneducated people.

A Modern Era 1990-Today

Prior to the 90s, many Dominican people sought life opportunities in places like Puerto Rico and the United States. With a musical revolution in the 90s, artists, groups, and labels such as Juan Luis Guerra, Aventura, and 2Strong Music helped evolved Bachata to become approved by middle-class Dominicans and accepted as a national Rhythm.

History

Bachata originates from the countryside in the Dominican Republic during a time of censorship by government and the Dominican mainstream culture

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Bachata has a variety of both Romantico (Romantic) and Amargue (Bitter) lyrical themes. While theming is broadly tied with particular styles, Bachata can be broken down into 3 main sections part of each song structure using 5 main instruments.

Derecho

The most simplistic rhythms used typically in a verse and closely resembles Bolero.

Majao

Typically used in a Chorus to enliven the energy of a song by giving a greater emphasis on the downbeat.

Mambo

The most energetic part of Bachata’s instrumental section that rhythmically shares many similarities to Merengue.

Musicality

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The Bongo is one of the distinct  instruments in Bachata and plays what is called a Martillo Rhythm

Bachata music has been influenced by other genres of music such as Son, Bolero, and Merengue.

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The Güira as part of the Bachata is emblematic of Dominican heritage. hi-hat or shakers like maracas are employed.

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The Tropical Bachata Bass typically plays a I-V

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Requinto Guitar.png

A requinto guitarra is a smaller version of an acoustic guitar that will loosely compliment the vocalists melody. 

The Segunda guitarra is the secondary acoustic guitar that keeps rhythm through-out the song,

Steps

Recognized Bachata timing is having weight transfers on counts 1-2-3 5-6-7 with additional ball taps on counts 4 & 8. During basic movement every odd count (1-3-5-7) feet are separated while every even count (2-4-6-8) heels are together.

Hips

Tilting laterally on the syncopated counts between each step. The hip movement is different from Salsa, as Bachata hips emphasize an upward motion.

Arms

Intended to compliment both steps and hips without overshadowing either element. Feminine arm movement will create more curved movements with a soft bend in the wrist while masculine arm movement uses more straight movements without the bend in the wrists.

Movement

Partnering Connection

Connection is the kinaesthetic communication between a lead and a follow. Are partners truly connected or are they merely executing choreography while holding hands?

Syncopated Footwork

The goal is to match traditional musical elements by putting more emphasis on the downbeat, whether through additional steps or taps on the music's syncopation.

There are many options to Bachata there are a few common attributes Regardless what style of is being danced.

Turns & Spins

Both are rotational, however a turn is a rotation while in traverse movement while a spin is a rotation while not in traverse movement. knees keep a soft bend while maintaining a technique of balance.

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Isolations

Equally important to create emphasis on the movement being created while maintaining stillness everywhere else in the body that is not intended to to emphasize