Description of the Bachata
Bachata dance styles originated in the Dominican Republic in the late 1950’s. This dance genre is danced as a three step ending in a tap on the 4th beat with Cuban hip motions. It uses different dance positions.
Originally, it was similar to a bolero with slow music and mostly closed position. However, eventually it expanded to faster music and many different dance positions. It does not use as many fast turns as Salsa. There are a large number of movements for bachata dancing that can be executed in either a smooth style or with a slight hop.
Characteristics of the Bachata
The Bachata has very basic and simple footwork that moves in a side to side or forward to back motion. The romantic character of the Bachata is achieved from the sensual hop and body actions. Good use of the knees helps produce the desired hip movement.
Time signature – 4/4
Tempo – 30 measures per minute
Timing – 123(4)
Beat value is 1-1-2
Bachata is a genre of Latin American music that originated in the Dominican Republic in the first half of the 20th century with European, Indigenous and African musical elements. The original term used to name the genre was amargue ("bitterness", "bitter music", or "blues music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. The dance known as Bachata, developed with the music in these over 50 years.
A bachata band is composed of at least 5 instruments:
Requinto (lead guitar), Segunda (rhythm guitar), bass guitar, bongos and güira; often supported by electric guitar, guitar.
Guitar music has always been a part of the Dominican musical landscape, but the first bachata recognized as such was recorded in 1961 by José Manuel Calderón. The bachata of Calderón and his contemporaries was virtually identical to the bolero of other Latin American countries like Puerto Rico and Ecuador. In fact many of the songs which these bachateros recorded were covers of earlier boleros, and the music was viewed by society at large in the same way that bolero was viewed throughout Latin America - a romantic music popular with lovers and serenaders.
In time, however, bachata began to be associated with another world, that of prostitution, poverty and delinquency. Relegated to the brothel and the barrio, bachata began to tell the stories of that world, the experiences of the lover and the prostitute, the poor country boy who gets to the city and gets ripped off, with slang and sexual double meanings. From about 1970 to about 1990, bachata was thoroughly unique among Latin American musical genres in its free expression of the underground life of a nation. This free expression naturally provoked the contempt of the Dominican mainstream. Ironically, it was the most despised of these cabaret bachateros, Blas Durán, the master of sexual double meanings, whose music marked the end of the bachata isolation when he began to record with an electric guitar in 1987.
As Durán's innovative popularity of bachata began to soar, Antony Santos and other bachateros used the new style to record more acceptable, romantic songs. The influence of merengue became marked in the rhythm and the guitar lines of the music, and in fact modern bachata was first made popular by the bachateros who played also merengue. Musicians who were popular among Dominican elites, notably Juan Luis Guerra, with his soft and poetic music made the bachata to be accepted by all sectors of society.
The 1980s and 90s saw a wave of emigration from the Dominican Republic to the Unites States. The emigrants carried music with them, establishing bachata in the major cities of Eastern USA, especially in New York.
By the late 1990s, bachata had became hugely popular across Latinos in the US North East, and these new fans in turn brought the music back to their countries of origin. Large record labels took interest, and invested in slick new bachata productions. Monchy y Alexandra scored a big international success in the date 1999 with the release "Hoja en Blanco", which owes some of its popularity to its combining of bachata with vallenato, a style already hugely popular across Latin America.
Meanwhile, young Dominican-Americans formed bachata bands began to incorporate local musical styles, like R&B, into their music: it`s in this moment that the band Aventura with song "Obsesion" in 2002, catapulted bachata to the top of global pop charts, and in France and Italy even reached the first position.
In 2008 thanks an advertised video in Youtube showing, not impossible moves, but an amazing couple dancing together, the attention to the dance increased exponentially: at the actual moment the video of Ataka y Alemana dancing on the song Te Extrano, Xtreme, is the most viewed bachata dance video of the history.