Bachate is a unique dance that I have the privileged to learn in my PE-154 international ballroom dance class taught by professor Jane Edwards. This dance originated from the Dominican Republic. It can be difficult to identify the precise style of the Bachata due to the fact that are so many variations throughout the world.
However, in all of these different styles throughout the world there are the same basic steps with a tap with hip movement on the 4th beat. The original style of Bachata was developed with the music in the 1950s and 1960s.
This dance was well known in the countryside and rural neighborhoods. The creation of the Bachata is given credit to the servants of large households who were the first ones to use the movements and steps. Musicians would use everyday items like trash cans and fences to create music. The term Bachata is said to mean trash, however, other believe it is actually a word for party. For a time the Bachate was only affiliated with the poorer parts of Dominican society forcing these styles of dance only to be performed in the rougher parts of town like brothels and bars, which only further tarnished its name.
Nevertheless, the increased popularity of the music eventually caused Bachata to be accepted by the upper classes of Dominican society. There also are some skeptics that believe that the dance was brought over from Italy from an Italian Ballata. Bachata is known to be connect the emotions of romance and heart ache. There are five main styles of Bachata, the Original, Traditional, Modern, Bachatango, and Ballroom. The original is the basic style that can alternate between an open and closed position.
The traditional is a simpler style that was developed in the late 1990s with a basic steps side to side changing direction after every tap. The modern style began around 2005 and is an abbreviation of the “traditional” style. This still is believed to originate from Spain. The modern has the basic Bachata steps with the integration of salsa, tango, zouk-lambada, and ballroom. The bachatango it true to its name and is a mixture of Baracha and Tango. The Ballroom is a style used in various formal dance competitions and there is an extreme use of the hips all throughout the music.