Ambiori&Yonlenis from Santo Domingo dancing Bachata. This is the way how Dominicans dance bachata in Santo Domingo, relaxed and natural. It looks simple, but contains a lot of styling issues. The structures used are square and stationary. The result is beautiful, because LESS IS MORE. The simplicity has brought award winning 537 000 visitors.
DR11 organizer Bachata Ambassador® Vesa explains
Authentic Bachata (=the way Dominicans dance bachata) is a dance genre of it's own and shouldn't be confused with International Bachata (=the way non-dominicans dance Bachata Moderna, Fusion Bachata, Bachata Sensual, Urban Bachata or in general International Bachata). International dancers cannot necessarily dance successfully with Dominicans, because the international bachata brands are not directly compatible with authentic. The Authentic Bachata has a different structure, patterns and practices. The structural rules of authentic bachata are commonly known among Dominicans and therefore they can dance well together. If the authentic bachata wouldn't have well-known structure and common practices Dominicans wouldn't be able to dance with each others.
Dominicans call it BACHATA
The word BACHATA means internationally too many things and needs qualifier to identify the exact dance genre. DR11 calls "the way Dominicans dance bachata" outside DomRep as Authentic Bachata®. In DomRep we call it simply Bachata, because most of the Dominicans don't know other bachata brands to exist. However they know that tourists "cannot dance" bachata or they dance "funny bachata". In our DR festivals, Dominicans are really surprised when they see our international participants to dance like Dominicans and we constantly hear them saying "look look, they dance like us (=like Dominicans), just better". Some people call authentic bachata as traditional bachata, real bachata, Dominican Bachata or DR Bachata.
Calm basic level Bachata&Merengue dancing in Home Run, Santo Domingo.
The basics are simple to learn
It's relatively easy to learn the Authentic Bachata basics, evenup to the level to dance with Dominicans. The full theory and philosophy is really complicated and just a few people in the world do serious research on it. To become an advanced authentic dancer involves years of practice in DomRep. The Dominican instructors are priviledged because they have Bachata in their blood. They just need to learn the philosophy, theories and logical teaching.
There are very few international instructors who can teach authentic bachata structure, musicality and practices. Unfortunately there are huge amount of international instructors claiming to know how to teach authentic, but in reality they teach too limited or exaggerated set, even tricks that Dominicans don't do and omitting the most important skills. You shouldn't espect an international instructor to be able to teach authentic if he or she hasn't been enough long time in DomRep doing an extensive study on how Dominicans dance.
Pipo&Carolina: These people are driven by the music. Their advanced footwork and body language has a musical flow.
Authentic is Fun
Authentic Bachata is surrounded by debates and opinions. Instead of getting confused, it's better to visit Dominican Republic, learn authentic bachata and dance it with Dominicans. Being able to dance successfully with Dominicans means you have self certified yourself being able to dance at least the basics of authentic. All the beginners and adventurers have easily learned to dance in previous DR festivals. DR11 instructors have in total hundreds of years experience in authentic bachata dancing, which means they have the highest possible knowledge to teach the advanced dancers and instructors around the world.
Dominicans know the structure
Wouldn't it be nice to see a formal, unambiguous and detailed definition of the Authentic Bachata (=the way Dominicans dance)? Imagine! If it would exist, how on earth the millions of Dominicans would have read, understood and learned to dance according to the formal definition paper? As you can easily imagine, the exact definition does not exist, because bachata is evolution based nationwide dance. The written definitions are meant for competition dances, not for Authentic Bachata. Although the written exact definition does not exit, Dominicans widely know the structure, elements, patterns and practices. Widely known is based on the fact that bachata is part of the Dominican everyday life and they must learn the rules (from the other Dominicans) in order to have bachata dance fun together.
Yocasti&Yonathan: Bbachata swing
The structure, elements and styling
Authentic Bachata is an architecture and set of structures with a limited set of elements, patterns and commonly used practices. The styling and decorating varies and therefore it looks like every Dominican is dancing differently.
While International bachata has hundreds of elements, authentic has only 10-20 elements. Dominicans use all their life to learn the styling for a few elements. International dancers try to use hundreds of elements in a short practice time. The result looks in most of the cases awkward compared to Dominicans. International dancers try to do too much, while Dominicans concentrate on feeling good, cool and having smooth and elegant styling with a flow.
Rodolfo&Yanervis: Authentic Bachata hasn't changed much in 90's, 00's and 10's. Here is Rodolfo 2007
You will easily learn the basics of Authentic Bachata. First you have to learn the most important elements, some leading&following rules, connection, musicality and unlearn the disturbing elements of the other dance genres. The advanced level involves months or years to create your own smooth and elegant style.
Dominicans dance authentic bachata as a social dance in colmadon, car-wash, sports bar, cabaret, club, restaurant, discoteca, home, patio and everywhere in Dominican Republic. Competitions and exaggerated choregraphies are not part of their social dance parties. Exceptions apply, but the main stream is just social, having fun, feeling good, pleasing your partner and searching for a partner. Nearly all of the International bachata parties are organized by dance schools and the audience is dance school students. Dominican parties have nothing to do with dance schools and party people have newer taken any kind of dance lessons. It's mindblowing experience to see the natural authentic dancing in Dominican Republic.
Vesa in a remote village Guerra, DR. It took over 25 years to create the extensive knowledge of Authentic Bachata.
The common mistakes in dancing Authentic Bachata
• You are not supposed to bring salsa, kizomba or other dance genre elements to authentic bachata
• Authentic bachata is a social dance. Using the small dance floor as a presentation stage for an advanced choreographies is generally against the cultural expectations.
• Competing in a serious or aggressive manner is against the cultural expectations, but you can show your skills e.g. in a Colmadon.
• Use small steps, the long ones are regarded offensive, brutal and ugly.
• Dance relaxed, too rigid position and too much power distroys your authentic bachata.
• Search for a flow, piquete and soft patterns. Avoid international routines. Copy the Dominican flow and gestions.
• Concentrate on patterns you know well. Don't do the complicated patterns you don't yet master. Enjoy of what you do.
• Dance on music. Make an extensive study on the musicality of authentic bachata.
You'll quickly learn bachata in Dominican Republic
The fastest way to learn Authentic Bachata is to participate DR11 bachata festival in DomRep. DR11 has 20 workshop hours which is more than enough to learn the Authentic Bachata to dance with Dominicans. DR11 has tons of parties in the local clubs to dance with Dominicans. When you finally have chance to get to DomRep, dance with Dominicans and look carefully how they dance. I'm pretty sure that they don't dance as you expected. Dominicans don't do exaggerated footwork, they dance smoothly with small steps.
Why you should learn Authentic Bachata?
The dancers who visit DomRep report without exception "It feels good to dance with Dominicans".
Bachata instructors have responsibilities
Too many bachata instructors claim to teach Dominican style but their teaching has nothing or very little to do with authentic bachata (=the way Dominicans dance bachata). Dance instructors have legal responsibilities, because they charge the clients. Truly professionals don't hesitate to specify the dance genre they teach. Ask your instructor if he or she has learned their authentic bachata in Dominican Republic or how they justify and specify being experts in it.
Luis&Fefita: On the left basic square. On the right highly advanced authentic bachata.
Dancers just have fun
While the instructors have legal responsibilities, the dancers are free to dance as they wish. DR11 doesn't limit you to Authentic Bachata. You can mix it with international bachata if you wish, but we recommend to mix outside DomRep. We (the authentic bachata instructors) like Salsa, Kizomba, Tango and all the dance genres, but in DomRep we prefer to dance merengue, tipico, mambo, palo, dembow, bachata, salsa and son with Dominicans because these are the genres the local Clubs play. Fortunately the whole Dominican dance culture helps us to be stricktly in the Dominican track.
Rodolfo&Helen: mastering good connection
You'll get the best of your life experiences with authentic bachata just in DR. Back home in your own country you have to teach your friends to dance authentic also. We fully understand that the authentic isn't that common yet. However the skill to dance authentic will make your international bachata better. You can combine authentic and international as long as you can do it succesfully with your friends. Authentic looks great in presentations, although the show opportunities are outside DomRep.
Learning from Facebook and Youtube
Elearning sounds easy and the net is full of bachata videos. Unfortunately most of the videos represent international bachata and it's tricky to know which ones have been filmed in DR and including Dominican dancers and clean Authentic Bachata. All the videos in this page have been filmed by Bachata Ambassador® Vesa in Dominican Republic. You'll see most of these Dominican dancers in DR11 festival. Some Facebook groups have good collections of authentic, but some groups confuse accepting just peculiar or highly talented specialities.
Yeri&Yocasti: Super talented Yeri showing his peculiar way to dance bachata. Yeri has over 2 million YouTube visitors.
By definition Authentic Bachata (the way Dominicans dance) includes regular, talented, peculiar and also bad dancers. All categories are important and in DR you'll see all kind of dancers.
The key features of Authentic Bachata
The international left-right-left line stepping 1-2-3-TAP (and especially the hip raising) is strongly discouraged although Dominicans might do the line in some special occations. The square (=box) is the fundamental element and you'll see Dominicans doing it all the time. You will see many Dominicans doing just the square.
The stepping rhythm is marked by tap. Dominicans do tapping, but they frequently mark with double-step. More advanced dancers shange the steppind to triple (either chachacha 1-2-Cha-Cha-Cha or syncopated). Simple tap feels soft, double acccented and triple advanced special dancing. Choose the marking according to the music and partner skills. Dominicans prefer Bachata On2, which means tapping on the first beat. Many Dominicans will get confused if you dance On1, which means first step on the first beat.
Vesa&Yocasti explaining the various stepping technics and correcting the misunderstanding "Dominican bachata is just advanced footwork"
The posture should be upright with constant distance between the dancers chests. Strong leading with both hands in a connected position is preferred. It makes leading easy and accurate. Maintain at least one hand connected.
Dance relaxed. Avoid forced hip or shoulder movements. The body movemets should come naturally if you do the correct stepping path, body rotation and kneel down routines. Your path is not correct if you have to do forced hip and shoulder movements. Search for the flow that looks like swing and sway.
Carlito&Andina: Footwork enhanced square, look at the connection leading and following
Some international bachata instructors claim that you cannot master bachata if you don't even know the names of the musical instruments used in bachata. Uff...millions of Dominicans don't know the names of the instruments and musical sections called Derecho and Majao but they still dance Authentic Bachata much better than the rest of the world. Due to the fact that Dominicans have newer been in a dance school, their learning process is totally different -> NATURAL. You should come to DR11 to learn the Dominican Musicality. We can already reveale that it's related on dance to music, melody and energy levels.
Bachata Ambassador Vesa was years ahead in presenting the musician view of the Bachata Musicality already 2011. DR11 will reveale the Dominican dancers view to musicality.
Listen, learn and practice
Listen to bachata as much as you can in order to hear the rhythm and the energy changes in the music. Try to understand the mood, meaning and message of the music. Learn extended musicality to become an advanced dancer: Practice to hear the instruments (bongo, guira, guitar, bass and singer), identify the music part changes, translate the lyrics and learn the cultural rules.
Yonathan&Virginia: The fancy triple step style
DR11 offers a solid foundation to learn Authentic Bachata
Bachata Ambassador Vesa and Yocasti Autentica have a solid series of the Authentic Bachata workshops including "Magical Box", "Leading&Following", "Dominican Musicality", "Secrets Revealed", "Triple Natural" and "Energy, Adapt". They are all must to see for beginners and instructors and help in absorbing the rest of the workshops.
Vesa&Yocasti have created an extensive introduction to Authentic Bachata
Bachata dancing changes all the time also in DR. The dancing is driven by the music and when the music changes dramatically, people slowly change their style also in DR. In addition to music, the changes in everyday life and economy has big influence on how Dominicans dance. Here is a sample done by Rodolfo&Yocasti of the different bachata styles in 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's.