Bachata Styles Explained…A Whole Lotta Bachata

A Whole Lotta Bachata is everything you need to know about the different styles of one of the Dominican Republic’s signature dances. Let’s face it, everybody loves the Bachata. To begin with, it’s romantic, sexy, and gets your blood going.  Secondly, you get to let it all hang out as you dance to its provocative rhythms and unleash your flirtatious side.

Sexy Bachata Performers

Bachata styles range from friendly to super-sexy. Before we get started looking at some of the different interpretations of this dance, please check out Dance Safari’s post, “Learn to Dance Bachata – Start Today!“.

Traditional – aka, Bachata Dominicana or Authentic Bachata.

  • In the Dominican Republic, it’s the music and dance of love and heartbreak.
  • Bolero, Rumba, and Cha Cha inspired this dance.
  • The basic is a small square. As a matter of fact, it uses a box-like pattern that moves side, side /forward, side/side, back and takes 3 counts of 8 to complete.
  • Depending on the music’s tempo, a triple step can replace the tap step.
  • This is a social dance that uses small steps.
  • Less is more for beginners. However, more advanced couples will find themselves using ‘fancy footwork’.

“Western” Style Traditional Bachata

  • People around the world fell in love with Bachata and the Western style of Bachata was born.
  • A simpler side-to-side pattern evolved after it’s adoption by other countries.
  • The music has a very strong accent on the ‘1’ with a more subdued accent on the ‘5’.
  • This style uses a closer dance hold and softer hip action.

Bachata Moderna

  • Bachata Moderna developed as turns and spins from Salsa found their way into the Western style.
  • Moderna is a fusion of other dances such as Salsa, Tango, Hip Hop, Zouk, and Ballroom.
  • This is a very romantic style that uses dips and kicks from Tango. In addition to that, you’ll see some graceful turns and lines from Ballroom dancing.
  • To demonstrate, please enjoy two of America’s finest Moderna teachers and performers, Ataca and Alemana.

Bachata Sensual

  • Created by Korke and Judith in Cadiz, Spain more than ten years ago, Bachata Sensual has quickly grown in popularity. With this in mind, see them perform here.
  • It shouldn’t be a surprise that the style called “Bachata Sensual” is steamy and hot.
  • Because it’s a very theatrical style, you may see lifts, drops, dips, and isolations.
  • Also, expect the liberal use of body rolls and waves.
  • Although some other Bachata styles are danced in a slot, Sensual uses rotation, and more circular actions.

Now that you know a bit about the different styles, it’s time to find a teacher. You can, of course, start at any ballroom dance studio that’s convenient to you. In all likelihood, you’ll begin with the Western style that is popular throughout the world.

As you start going to Latin clubs, you’ll meet others with a passion for Bachata. Talk to people, find out how they learned. Some will say they picked it up by just getting out there. Others will recommend an instructor, workshops, or online courses. The important thing is, if this style of dancing and music moves you, go ahead and immerse yourself in the scene. Release that inner, sexy beast!

whole lotta bachata


  1. The videos you’ve highlighted, Barbara, scared me silly. If I ever looked ‘that’ sexy I’m sure I’d scare myself..!!!
    I don’t think, however, I ever have to worry – I’m sure my hips could never do that… lol… 🙂

    • Wild, isn’t it Carolyn. The control of the body that’s demonstrated at the higher levels of this dance is truly amazing. That doesn’t stop us from enjoying the music while dancing the Western style. By the way, it’s sometimes referred to as the International style. Feel free to get on it!

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