What a fun class last week as we began the first of our two-week bachata workshops. For many students – especially those who are less experienced dancers – bachata is considerably easier to learn than salsa. The basic steps, for instance, are pretty basic. If you can count to four, you can dance bachata. This provides you – the lead or follow – opportunity to try out more complicated patterns at a slower speed, and perhaps more important, the opportunity to really focus on your partner connection.
Because bachata is a more “intimate” dance than, say, salsa, the partner connection must be stronger. As I’ve written in a previous article, a “stronger” connection does not mean more forceful. Rather, it means being more supportive, with all the upper body and arm muscles engaged. It means feeling as if you and your partner are moving as one integral unit together. It means every movement has purpose and communicates an idea to the other person.
How would you know if you’re doing it correctly? As today’s masthead quote reminds us, “bachata is danced with the soul and heart.” If you’re making the right sort of connection with your bachata partner, you will feel it both in your soul and in your heart – at least for the duration of the dance! Ideally, the two partners will feel so perfectly in sync that the communication between them is flawless and energizing. Little wonder that bachata continues to grow in popularity among almost all venues.