How to start dancing bachata for beginners
I remember when i first started dancing bachata in 2016. I used to watched some videos on YouTube and one day, i said to myself : “Ok from now, i really need to learn bachata if i want to dance like these amazing dancers!” And for that, I really need to start taking bachata classes.
Let me describe you in few steps how to find the perfect bachata class for you ! 🙂
PS : This article is the first one of a series of 52 ! I’ve decided to start a new challenge, for you, for the blog and myself ! If you haven’t read this article, go and check out this Bachata challenge !
Step 1. Find a bachata teacher, a dance school
Ok, first of all, if you really want to dance bachata PROPERLY, CONSISTENTLY, you should learn it, in the right way. And the good way for that, is to find a teacher who will teach you the proper technique.
Ok, are you with me? If you think it’s your case, you’re a beginner and you want to learn bachata the best way possible, you’re in the right place! Stay here ! I’m gonna give some tips to find the right teacher 😉
Teacher on his own or teacher in a dance shcool?
Normally, you have 2 main ways to find a teacher (in person) :
- A teacher who teaches on his own in a dance hall, bars, clubs,
- Or a teacher who teaches in a dance school.
- Sometimes, they even do both
Fundamentally, there is no difference regarding the teacher’s skills. Probably, in the dance school, you will have access to more classes, more teachers, more bachata styles, more latin dances. And sometimes in both cases, the instructor teaches different latin dances too (salsa, kizomba for example).
I personally experienced both and enjoyed both of them. I think it really depends on the teacher, the class atmosphere. That’s totally up to you, that’s your own feeling 😉
If you want to have a look to my experience in my bachata school in Australia (read the end of this article, specially “my bachata journey” part).
How to find the right bachata teacher, the right dance school?
Do some researches on internet, social media
When i first started, i didn’t know anything about bachata, i remember how it wasn’t so easy to find the right teacher for yourself.
So, now i have few tips to share with you:
- Google “bachata class near me“, check reviews, comments. The search results will depend on the city you are. For example, when i first started bachata in Avignon in France, i had clearly, less choice than Barcelona,
- Subscribe to bachata Facebook groups in your city, a lot of teachers promote their classes in these groups,
- Ask people around you who dance bachata or other latin dances, ask in bachata forums.
And when you think you have found a teacher or a school who might interest you :
- Check the teacher or dance schools website, social media (Facebook pages, Instagram…),
- Check the teacher artistic career (teaching experience, competitions, shows). The last two are not essential but could be a bonus,
- Check the demo videos of the class if you can, sometimes, they are posted on social media (Facebook Pages, Facebook groups, Instagram, YouTube) to see what you feel about it.
If you have near you, a bachata couple artists, with national or international notoriety could be a good opportunity to learn from them. But be careful, an artist is not necessarily a good teacher. He could be a very good performer, and/or social dancer but not specifically a good teacher. And rather the opposite a teacher who is not an national/international artist could have a good teaching ability even if he is not famous 😉
Step 2. Choose the type of bachata class you want to attend
You have different ways to learn bachata as a beginner :
In group classes, you will have the opportunity to dance with different partners. Plus, you will possibly get the chance to socialize with the students. I personally started with group classes. It has helped me to make new friends and make me more comfortable during my first social parties, knowing already few students.
Private classes could be an option to start learning bachata IF you’re really scared about dancing with others. Furthermore, the teacher will be focus only on you. In my personal experience, I’ve done private classes, but later on, to improve my styling, connection, correct my bad habits…
At the end, Group classes/ Privates classes, totally up to you ! It really depends on your personality, your goals…
What about online classes ?
That could be an option too, if you :
- Don’t have the choice because of the health situation,
- Can’t find a teacher near you,
- Can’t attend the class for many reasons (distance, busy agenda…),
- Absolutely want to learn from a specific teacher who doesn’t teach near you, or doesn’t give classes in person.
Once again, that’s your choice. You can give it a try and see how you feel. Just make sure, you can get some feedback, answers to your questions from your instructor.
I personally use online classes regularly but more as a complement of presential classes to improve my skills as a solo bachata dancer (technique, styling, body movement…).
What about YouTube videos?
In YouTube, you can find about anything and everything. Which means good and bad things. It could be a bit risky if you’re absolute beginners because you won’t easily make the difference between a good instructor and a bad one. However, like online classes, it could be a very good complement as presential classes if you watch the good video 😉
PS : I’m referring here to bachata tutorials videos not bachata demo of dancers, which is completely another topic 😉
Step 3. Be aware of the bachata style you want to dance
Bachata is a huge world, there are few different styles. When i first started, i didn’t realise that !
The different styles in bachata
You have, for example :
- Traditional/Dominican bachata
- Modern bachata
- Sensual bachata
- Fusion bachata
In my experience, I’ve realised after my 4 first months of bachata, i wasn’t dancing exactly the style i wanted to dance. My instructor was teaching more modern bachata, like the famous international artists Ataca y La Alemana.
At that moment, the style i wanted to experience was more sensual bachata. I don’t regret at all to have started with modern bachata because at the end of the day, it has given me a good base to learn later on, sensual bachata and get more moves in my repertoire.
In my opinion, you need all of their styles to enjoy your bachata journey. Of course, you can have a preference but i think it’s important to get experience in all of them. If you’re a beginner, you will understand more why later 😉 (and i will explain that to you).
Important note :
Before your instructor teaches you a specific style, make sure, he teaches you the base, fundamental steps you should know whatever style you dance. For example : basic steps, turn patterns, connection, frame position, posture, weight transfer, musicality…
This is the base, trust me, this is so important to learn that before starting to learn a body roll for example, if you choose sensual bachata. It will make you better than the others bachata dancers !
Step 4. Try a free bachata class for beginners
In most cases, especially in dance schools, you have the opportunity to try your first class for free. That is an excellent way to see how you feel with the teachers, the students, the energy and atmosphere of the group…
And most important, an opportunity to check your teacher’s ability. How can you do that? Let me list you some teacher qualities you should expect from a good teacher:
Top qualities of a good bachata teacher
This teacher or this teachers couple should:
- First of all, make you feel good, comfortable,
- Act as a mentor, be available and accessible (you can easily talk to him, share your difficulties, fears),
- Be prepared, organized, he knows what content he’s gonna teach you each class, has a proper structure, plan. He has in mind goals for his students in terms of results at the end of the class or the year,
- Correct your bad habits, give you constructive feedback,
- Have good teaching ability, be able to explain you in a different ways the same concept and able to answer to all the questions you have, adapt himself to the different levels of his students,
- Possess solid bachata knowledge, technique, base, musicality, moves repertoire…
Few more advice
If you want to learn bachata as a partner dance, i would recommend you to learn from a dancers couple rather a solo teacher. Especially as a follower, because you will have the opportunity to learn styling too. It’s not clearly essential at the beginning. However, if you consider to take classes for a long-term and if you want to look good, be more comfortable with yourself, i can highly recommend you a teachers couple.
And if you choose a solo teacher for group classes, make sure he is able to explain both part (leading and following aspects). He should be able to dance with you as a follower or leader in order to show you the way you should feel, execute the movement whether you’re a follower or a leader.
Step 5. Finally, take your decision
If you have checked all the details, found the good teacher, or dance school, class modality, frequency, and the price ! Just enjoy your bachata journey. A whole new world is opening to you !
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you want to share your experience, few more tips to find the good class, good teacher, i would be more than happy to read you.
Thanks for reading me and stay tuned for the next article 😉