Bachata, is part of the Street Latin style of dancing; a captivating dance and music style from the Dominican Republic that we teach at UCan2 Dance Studio, in Auckland, New Zealand.
From its humble origins in rural landscapes to its forbidden allure, Bachata's history is rich with surprises. Let's uncover five facts about Bachata that will make you want to come along to a Street Latin class and give it a try, or if you know it already, it'll no doubt make you love this dance style even more.
1. Bachata Street Latin Dancing's origins in the fields
Bachata is often described as a sensual Latin dancing style. It is even considered a much more intimate dance than Salsa.
Bachata originally emerged from the rural countryside of the Dominican Republic in the early 20th century and was considered low-class and associated with rural poverty. It wasn't until the 1980s that Bachata gained mainstream recognition.
2. Forbidden dance
In the early days of Bachata, the dance was actually banned in many places, including some parts of the Dominican Republic. It was considered too provocative and scandalous due to its close partner dancing and sensual movements — especially since the music was often played in bars and brothels, with lyrics about romance, sex, and poverty.
Despite the ban, the dance continued to gain popularity. In 2010, the Bachata was featured in the dance movie, Step Up 3D, which shows a fun and energetic Bachata dance sequence between the leads, Luke and Natalie. The popular TV series "Love After Divorce" Season 4 Episode 3 on Netflix also uses Bachata to encourage connections among the divorcees.
3. Influenced by other genres
While Bachata is known for its unique blend of African, European, and Indigenous influences, it's fascinating to learn that even rock and roll played a role in shaping the genre. In the 1960s, Dominican musicians incorporated elements of rock and roll into Bachata music, leading to a subgenre known as "Bachata Rock".
There are also different bachata dance styles such as Dominican Bachata which is embraced across Latin America, Spain, and the USA, covering modern and bachatero styles. Modern Bachata incorporates African, Cuban rumba, and Dominican Bongo Flava with contemporary dance elements. Bachatero Bachata gained popularity in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and some parts of the USA, with a relaxed pace influenced by bolero, mambo, and tango. We teach Bachata as part of our Improver Street Latin course.
4. Astrological alignment
Some Bachata enthusiasts believe that dancing to Bachata music can have a celestial influence. There's a quirky belief that dancing Bachata during a certain alignment of the stars and planets can enhance your dancing skills and emotional connection with your partner.
In an article in Reader’s Digest, The Best Workout for You, air signs like Gemini and Libra have a social nature and enjoy companionship. For individuals under these signs, an ideal workout involves social interactions. Partner dances like ballroom, bachata, salsa, or swing are recommended as suitable options, according to Ridout. While this might not have any scientific basis, it certainly adds a touch of mystique to the dance!
5. Bachata therapy
In some places, Bachata dance classes are being used as a form of therapy. There’s even a famous line that says Bachata is cheaper than therapy.
This unconventional approach involves using the expressive movements and emotional connection of Bachata to help people build confidence, improve their self-esteem, and even work through emotional trauma. It's a unique example of how music and dance can have healing properties.
BONUS ~ NEW Latin Styling Shines ~ Bachata!
One of our super popular offerings at UCan2 is Latin Styling Shines, and each month we offer a NEW Shine style! Shines refer to solo steps often performed with the popular Latin dance styles: Salsa and Bachata. Both styles when dancing shines, emphasise use of the arms, body and feet, creating a sexy and sleek movement to different accents in the music, and what so many of our dancers love is you don't need a partner! Click here to find out more.
Latin "Shine" Class (Styling)
Our Latin Styling Shine Classes are for those who prefer/enjoy / love to dance alone!
Course: 1 month, commencing on the FIRST week of each month. Please note there is no casual rate and it is important to start on the first night.
Venue: UCan2 Albany Studio (23 Tarndale Grove, Albany, Auckland)
Day/Time: Monday @ 7.30pm - 8.25pm & Saturday @ 9am - 9.55am
Cost: $100 per person per month
Bonus: You can pay for one class, but come to both each week - at no further charge
From its unexpected origins to its therapeutic benefits, Bachata's remarkable ability to captivate and surprise is undeniable. The fusion of tradition and modernity, belief and practice, showcases how Bachata continues to evolve while remaining faithful to its core essence.
So, the next time you find yourself swaying to the rhythm of Bachata, remember the tales of its past and some of these lesser-known facts about it. And if you're ready to try the magic of Bachata firsthand, get in touch with us about our Street Latin classes for dancing with a partner, or Latin Styling Shines if you'd like to dance alone!