Origin of Dominican Bachata
Dominican Bachata music is influenced by a mix of African and Spanish beats and first emerged in the 1960’s. It originated in The Dominican Republic and has become internationally known through popular artists such as Romeo Santos, Prince Royce, and Anthony Santos, among others.
Along with Dominican Bachata music, Dominicans created a style of social dance with various steps that can be creatively combined depending on the music and rhythm of the instruments. Bachata is danced with a partner; the lead can decide to perform in an open, semi-closed, or closed position to lead their follow through various steps in a full 8-count rhythm.
Since its early origins in the Dominican Republic, Bachata has spread internationally and continues to evolve. Dancers in the Western world made up a basic step going from side to side, consisting of 3 steps and a tap or ‘pop’ of the hips. They also added other dance techniques from Latin and non-Latin dance styles, creating a fusion dance.
Dominican Bachata Styles
There are different styles of bachata danced in the various regions of the Dominican, and individuals also develop their own unique styles. Some lean into their partner more, while others are straight up; some dance more to the left or right.
Dominican Bachata is often taught by parents and families, who pass their unique Bachata styles from generation to generation. Some say they learned it while watching others dance as a kid.
If you ask a Dominican ‘What is Dominican Bachata?’ they will say it is:
- The Dominican language
- A feeling
- Our daily life
- A rhythm that sticks to you
- A part of us
- The ‘rice and beans’ of the music
- In our blood, in our bodies
- Joy or sorrow; happiness or heartache
- Lots of men crying
- A rhythm you can use to express yourself to your loved one
- Some songs are about sadness like when someone abandons a lover, or when a family member dies
- Music that speaks to you
- About having a drink with friends
- The feeling of being human
- Laughter and love; bitterness and blues
Bachata in the Dominican Republic
The original Dominican Bachata was danced in a slow style, closed embrace position, inspired by the bolero. This version is still danced today in the Caribbean and all over the world, but other styles have also evolved to keep pace with faster music. These styles use more footwork, simple turns, and can be done in a closed position (more romantic) or open position.
In the West the dance is known as Dominican Bachata but in the Dominican Republic it is simply called Bachata.
Check out Travelshore Center for current information on Dominican Bachata dance festivals and workshops, and to discover this beautiful dance in your next Dominican Republic vacation.