Question by User Friendlymustachee
Beginner bachata dancer here. Before the quarantine, I took several months of bachata and really enjoyed; it gave me a creative outlet and I could finally dance whenever I traveled to my home country. I’ve been watching a lot of videos at home to try and practice and found that I prefer this sort of dancing:
Example 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPSx5n26BeI
Example 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRWU2-djFPQ
I don’t see a lot of crazy footwork resembling Ataca’s style and that is where my concern lies, I feel like there isn’t a lot to learn here and the cap for learning would be lower.
Ataca has great footwork, such as this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGWjL7YUuuM
but it doesn’t appeal to me as much as those other examples.
I am a beginner so my results might be unfounded and would appreciate any commentary on this. Thanks
So you like traditional bachata. Nothing wrong with that.
But the interesting thing is what Ataca and Alemana did with it. The reason you don’t see fancy footwork like his is that they were the first to do it that way and the more traditional folks just dance for the love of the music as they grew up with it and it’s in the blood.
Ataca can be a real jerk with this footwork (I was on a coed touch team for 4 years and the video you linked is the first choreo I learned). He’s going for musicality with the guitar which is scripted just for that song and otherwise very very hard to pull off in a social dance setting, or even for the casual dancer who only grew up with this music.
What you should keep in mind when learning this stuff is that you will forget the choreo and steps for sure if you don’t keep it up, but you build up a catalogue in your head which you can then paste together in new songs for improvisation.
I’d suggest you create a foundation in the style you prefer…learn the techniques and concepts behind the movements, start incorporating those ideas into your dancing. Then once you have that strong base, you can really build your own style without straying too far from the source. I think over time you’ll also be better able to distinguish details that make each dancer unique, and that may help you be both unique and authentic.
One thing about bachata is it isn’t so technically strict like ballet or ballroom (both of which I love) which means there’s space for exploration and building personal style. Not so much saying that as a pro or a con, but an observation.
Most important is just do what you love, and have fun with it. If you’re enjoying, you’ll develop and improve your dancing without it really feeling like work.
I think you’re still very new. You like the traditional style which is fine. So keep learning what you like. Eventually you will want to try other styles and types dance. It’s fairly common for bachata dancers to be somewhat adepth with salsa, merengue, and chacha. They are somewhat similar and the techniques transfer… So, you do you have fun. Feel free to try other things when you want.
First of all, great question. Second, great style choice lol. I think traditional bachata like what you posted is amazing. I also like modern bachata like Ataca y Alemana. Anything else is a hard no. That being said, you can get VERY creative with more traditional moves. If you watch Alex and Desiree social dance, you can see all types of turn patterns and footwork being used. If you watch dancers like Sueco y Johanna, Samy y Carolina, Anthony y Carla, Ace and Ciara, etc you can see high level dancers that are still working on their craft and being musical.
Also, Ataca has great footwork, but the reason traditional dancers don’t use it is because they are trying to stick to the true essence of bachata. Ataca’s footwork comes from salsa. He basically does salsa shines to bachata timing.