General Info > The Dances
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Bachata is a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and rural marginal neighborhoods of Dominican Republic. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original term used to name the genre was "amargue" ("bitterness," or "bitter music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. The origins of the term bachata are still unknown. However, in some rural areas of the Dominican Republic, bachata means trash, but most citizens agree that it means a party. Others say that bachata is derived from the Italian Ballata, which was a popular form of music in Italy centuries ago.
Bachata grew out of - and is still closely related to - the pan Latin-American romantic style called bolero. Over time, it has been influenced by merengue - a fast paced danceable music also native to the Dominican Republic - and by a variety of Latin American guitar styles.
The music itself is played in 4/4. The most recognizable aspect of bachata instrumentation is the use of an amplified guitar (either electric or acoustic) whose sound has been doctored with a flanger, reverb, echo, or a combination of the three. The use of arpeggiated chords as the basis for the melody is almost standard. An additional guitar, called the 'segunda' or rhythm guitar is usually mixed at a lower volume, and provides syncopation. An electric bass guitar and güira help anchor the rhythm - with the güira sounding a bit like a high-hat (in pre 1990s bachata, maracas were played instead of güira). The use of the bongo drum further solidifies the basic beat, and provides and percussive accents in transition points - for instance right before a chorus.
The bachata played today uses electric guitar and has phrasing which is more rhythmic and groove-like than in earlier styles. The evolution to electric has perhaps helped make bachata more accessible.
At present 2006, the Dominican group Aventura is probably the best known bachata group worldwide with its single "Obsesion" having dominated for a long time radio play both in Latin America, US Latino markets, and countries as distant as Italy and Sweden. While he is superseded in the international audience by Aventura, for the Dominican audience, the most popular of the modern bachateros has undeniably been Antony Santos. Other artists of note include Luis Vargas, Raulin Rodriguez, Zacarias Ferreira, Frank Reyes, Monchy y Alexandra, Domenic Marte, Andy Andy, Leonardo Paniagua, Los Toros Band, and Joe Veras.
The basic footwork is a series of simple steps that produce a back and forth or sideways motion. A schematic footwork would be as follows: starting with the right foot make a chasse to the right on counts 1,2,3. On 4, touch the left toe beside your right foot (alternatively, tapping the left toe in place, i.e., apart from the right foot, make an upwards jerk with the left hip). Then do the same from your left foot. The character of the dance is achieved through sensual hip and body movements.
Why and where did this form of Bachata dancing come from?
It is not exactly sure who was the genius behind this but it is definately true to say that Italy and Spain are the pioneers of this style of Bachata dancing, but I must add it is not only a style of dancing, it is also a style of music too!
Here is a list of some good Bachata Tango tracks:
- Mi Estrella Mi Lucero by Pablo Alejando
- Suave by Yensi
- Passion by Julio Marano
- Strange (Libertango) Remix by Grace Jones
- Chanson D’ Amour by Castle feat. Denise (DJ Marco Ferretti Rmx)
So why did they decide to fuse these too completely different type of dancing and music together?
Well musicality it is very simple to add the Melody of Tango to the Rhythm of Bachata, the sound produced is very interesting to listen too and exciting to dance too, as you have a nice tempo to follow and a great melody to interpretate.
A common thing these two dances share is that they are both began in the street and they wasn’t always socially accepted and were reduced to being only danced in Brothels.
Fusing these two dances together is very natural due to the fact that both of them are danced very close and connected. The great thing about fusing them is that you get the best of their body movements (twisting and swaying) and its result is a way of dancing which is very sexy, passionate, stylish and graceful.
I guess one of the most important questions is should I now learn Tango to be good at it?
Well, the simple answer is Yes and No. You definitely need to take classes from someone who will teach you the techniques of Bachata Tango but you do not necessarily have to go to Tango Classes (But I would advised taking some classes from a good Tango instructor).
So now you know a little bit about it, it is time to learn it and let your passion flow on the dancefloor
Above & below are three short sample tracks. Please use the controls to pause and play each track individually to get a feel for this type of music.