Bachata was born in the early part of the 20th century in the Dominican Republic (DR) in the Caribbean. Bachata’s predecessor was the Cuban Bolero, which the people from the DR adapted to their own instruments and every day life. The main change they did was to substitute the maracas by the guira. You can hear many early songs and they still sound a lot like Boleros. The first bachata song was recorded by Jose Manuel Calderon in 1962.
However, not much was known about Bachata outside the DR until the group Aventura which originated in the USA started to record a “bachata-hybrid”.
The artists in the DR compose Bachata songs to reflect all aspects of their life, they can be happy, sad, romantic etc. and they dance it anywhere and anytime. They have also developed different basic styles depending on the region they are from.
Bachata music follows the basic 4×4 pattern of Bolero, with four characteristic instruments, lead guitar, bass, bongos & guira (but many more can be added), and three sections to most songs derecho, majao & mambo. In the DR ladies start the timing of any song based on their feeling of the music and the gentlemen lead. In classes, we will usually start on the first beat to keep everyone the same and to check on technique but on the social dance floor you are free to interpret the music and there is no dacing on 1, or 2, you can dance on 1, on 2, on 3 or on 4 if you like!.
Footwork is characterized by the instrument you are dancing to at any particular moment and not by fixed patterns you have been taught. For example, you can dance to the bongos in one section and to the lead guitar on another & so on. We teach you the patterns and the music sections it fits into and we recommend that you visit this wonderful part of the World and experience it for your self.