Transition from Salsa to Bachata

Question by User jonsmif9797

I find it really difficult to transition from Salsa to Bachata, despite what the popular opinion is.

I have learned Salsa for about 9 months, and currently on the intermediate level. Very very comfortable with the Salsa basics. (Comboing still requires mental power but I am learning).

When I dance the Bachata, I always missed the accented part (4 and 8). My weight shifting is not quite on point (especially the 3 and 7, my weight will be at the center). The timing to turn the lady and the direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) seem to always confuse me.

What exercises can I do to smoothen the transition? Any mental heuristics for beginners to get rid of the confusions?

I am starting to learn Bachata now. Only know the basics side steps and some turns.


User MariusDA


My advice, as professional dance artist and teacher, is to not think like “transitioning” from on dance style to another… rather learning it from scratch, if that makes sense.

It is like learning tennis and the ping-pong… they have similarities but totally different techniques.

With practice you will discern one from the other with no problem.

Take things slow.

Learn your basic right, and your basic signals. Practice them until you know them very well.

Only afterwards go into mode difficult stuff.

Practice slow (solo or with a partner, they both help)

It takes a few tens of hours of practice to get the basics out of the way (not mastering them, just knowing them a bit)

Hope this helps.

I leave you a bachata playlist to complement the learning. There is no catch… Just sharing our knowledge for free with anybody that wishes to learn (because I paid thousands of dollars for shitty information in my career and decided to do this free tutorials for others like me… )

P.S. Here is our bachata FREE tutorials playlist ->

we have many other playlist tutorials for free (over 150+ videos) on salsa, bachata, footwork, body movement, etc…

User AngryGrowlithe

You’re used to prepping the 5 during the pause on your salsa 4. Have you tried exaggerating your salsa 4? I’m talking a deliberate stop for that count, before stepping into your 5. As an intermediate dancer I’d wager you blast past the 4 mid-dance because you’re maneuvering and the count is second-nature to you now. Since you’re thinking ahead, your body is anticipating your weight distribution for whatever you’re prepping.

Also, remember that bachata is reversible. Anything you can do in one direction, you can do in the opposite direction. I prefer it for this reason; no need to wait a whole 8-count if you miss your cue.

User TijoWasik

This is because you know the basics and that’s it. Believe me, it’s a struggle until you get it.

What you’ll also find happening is that you’ll come out of a turn and because it’s so ingrained in your mind, you’ll drop in to your salsa basic too!

One of the big differentiators between salsa and Bachata is the speed, though. Listen to slow Bachata songs and dance them. Listen to Bachata songs with a really pronounced beat. Count every number, don’t miss the 4 and 8 like you do with salsa, and do it out loud. Make sure you put emphasis on the 4 and 8 when you count on terms of your voice, it’ll train your feet to emphasise them as well.

In terms of turning and stuff, I actually don’t think you’re doing a lot wrong, just late. You have to remember though – this is exactly what happens when you’re learning salsa at first, you signal everything late because you’re so focussed on yourself.

My best advice is to listen to mixes of salsa and Bachata music. Get the difference in to your mind as soon as you can and eventually, you’ll naturally dance the basic Bachata step as soon as you hear it without thinking.

Good luck, Bachatero!

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