What is Bachata?

BASIC DEFINITION, ORIGINS AND MEANING

Originating in the 1960s in Dominican Republic, Bachata is a genre of Latin American Music that was born as a fusion between Merengue, Bolero and Son Cubano. Bachata, in the beginning didn’t mean anything other than “party” or “celebration”, and became a style of music. Over time new skills and complexities were added to its original form and from this the dance “Bachata” was born. This is one of the most popular styles of Latin American music and dance in the world and has become a massive trend in the UK.

What is Bachata?

Bachata music was born as a way for singers from the countryside in the Dominican Republic to “cry for their love misfortunes”. This is why Bachata was known as “La música del amargue”, bitter or sad music. These deep feelings would be played in 4/4 timing by a band formed of a main guitar or “requinto”, a rhythmic guitar, an electric bass guitar and for percussion, bongos and güira. These five instruments are the framework to play any Bachata song, from which other instruments can then be added.

EXAMPLES OF BACHATA MUSIC EVOLUTION

Bachata music has evolved greatly since it’s beginnings. Bachata music firstly started out sounding akin to Bolero music. With it’s rhythm and beats it can be seen in songs such as “que será de mi” by Jose Manuel Calderón or “Pena” by Luis Segura. After the genre was established, patterns can be seen again in many songs. Examples of these are “Con los crespos hechos” by Luis Vargas, “Me enamoré” by Anthony Santos or even great game changers like “Bachata Rosa” by Juan Luis Guerra. Mixed with Bolero, a complete new flow/ romantic Bachata was established. For instance, this can be seen in “A dónde va el amor” by the song writer and singer Daniel Santacruz. 

Nowadays we can find new sounds and rhythms and all kinds of different music influences in tunes from some of the great current idols of Bachata. Prince Royce featuring the Salsa King Marc Anthony’s “Adicto”, “Propuesta Indecente” by the King of Bachata, Romeo Santos (and former leader of the band Aventura) and even “Quitémonos la ropa” by one of the latest promises of a new style of Bachata, “Bachata Pop”, Dani J from Seville, Andalusia, Spain.

STYLES OF BACHATA DANCE

The heart of Bachata music was developed solely by musicians who loved creating and playing their instruments but who had limited musical training. In this same way the Sensual Bachata, the Bachata dance style most commonly known around the world also came into being. It’s roots starting out in Andalusia.

To explain this, we need to go further back in time. Around the beginning of the 2000s, Bachata music started to evolve into an electronic and modern era by the influence of groups like Aventura, Monchy y Alexandra, Toke d Keda, Toby Love, Domenic Marte and more. These artists started to become known in a more international crowd from its Mother Island, the Dominican Republic and a different way of dancing Bachata was formed, “Bachata Moderna” (Modern Bachata). 

While Traditional and Dominican Bachata mostly followed a basic “box (or square)” movement with mainly footwork and turns on the spot for the lady, all of which were inherited from Bolero dance (with Troy and Jorget as the first International Dominican Style Bachata Instrurctors), Bachata Moderna involved more structure as a way for Latin Dance teachers to explain people how to dance. Bachata Moderna was different because it involved side basics, with side turns for the lady and the development of plenty of new footwork and specifically partnerwork (some of these patterns taken straight away from Salsa).

Sensual Bachata was born at the end of the 2000s using strands of Bachata Moderna. Well known as the creators of this dance movement, Korke y Judith, from Cadiz, (Andalusia, Spain) started to develop a new style which was focused mostly on upper body “wave feeling” movements. Daniel and Desiree, from Seville, are pioneers in this dance style, originally becoming first Champions BachataStars and World Bachata Masters Champions. This couple has probably become the most famous Bachata couple in the world alongside the Modern Bachata dancers, Ataca & La Alemana, USA. But we mention Daniel & Desiree as they developed their own style of Sensual Bachata and have been instrumental in spreading this style around the world.

BACHATA IN THE UK

The UK, was base where some of the first International Bachateros Frank Santos (Pioneer of Dominican-Sensual Bachata Fusion), Tony Lara (one of the first International Bachata instructors around all over the world alongside Jorge Elizondo) and Iñaki Fernández (Famous Dominican Style Bachata Dancer) departed to travel around the world to spread their passion. Unfortunately, they left the country before Bachata music and dance got the accepted by the general Latin dance crowd, leaving the job to later generations of bachateros. It was not before 2011 that Bachata started to make real noise in the UK. And in 2012 Bachata started to become trendy and has grown to the point where it has for the most part taken over the Latin Dance Scene in the UK.

A BIT OF OUR INFLUENCE

The Latin Passion can proudly say that their director, Peynao er Bachatero, is the first Sensual Bachata instructor in the UK. He spent years in Spain learning Bachata and studied with Korke & Judith becoming their biggest reference before moving to the UK. Since the moment Peynao arrived in the UK, he started a journey to develop his own style of Sensual, Modern and Dominican Bachata, leaving his indelible mark in the UK style of Bachata dance. Nowadays Bachata is very rich in the UK, with plenty of dance schools and dancers of all the existing styles of Bachata and a big and constantly growing crowd. We also count with great team of trained instructors in all styles that pass transfer their love for Bachata and Peynao’s School Dance values in every single class. We also have a great team of Bachata and Latin DJs, highlighting DJ Ooo, who is one of the UK and European most prestigious DJs and co-founder of The Latin Passion.

THERE IS A LOT MORE

There are many more things to talk about Bachata music and dance like the great existing variety of Bachata remixes and a growing amount of Bachata Covers that have influenced the international Bachata scene. Dominican Bachata has also become an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2019. But we will talk about this and many other subjects in more articles to follow.

WHERE CAN I LEARN BACHATA?

If you are interested in Bachata classes or events you can check:

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