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Yes, it’s San Francisco Bachata Festival time. This is huge – and it’s coming your way, Summer 2010! The San Francisco Bachata Festival, now in it’s second year, is an amazing piece of work put on by Rodney “Rodchata” Aquino, the grand-daddy of Bachata in the US.

This 8 day long bachata dance festival is a bachata dancer’s dream, with live bachata music (Domenic Marte), and instructors travelling from all over the world to participate. As a dancer, I can safely say, that if you dance bachata, you’ll probably be attending this festival (if not, there’d be a really good reason). Most every bachata dancer in the US attends this amazing event …

The main event, taking place at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco (central San Francisco – the best spot in the city), is from July 16-19th. This year, the event is teamed with a Salsa Festival, to make it a complete experience for the Bachatero. Tons of pre-parties means you should plan to attend this event early.

All skill levels are encouraged to attend, even (and especially) rote beginners, as the purpose of the festival is two fold: both to have an amazing event for existing bachata dancers, but also to reach out to new bachata dancers, and spread the love of the dance and the music.

There’s simply no place else in the world that the bachata dancer (and aspiring bachata dancer) needs to be. We hope to see you at this years, San Francisco Bachata Festival.

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2 Bachata Dance Steps : Bachata Dancing Body MovementBody movement in bachata dancing has a lot of hip movements. Learn more about body movement in bachata dancing with tips from a professional dance instructor in this free dance lesson video.

Expert: Erika Occhipinti
Bio: Erika Occhipinti has taught thousands of students at her own Salsa Caliente Dance Studio in Tampa, Fla.
Filmmaker: Christopher Rokosz

Duration : 0:2:2

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I have been noticing that the Bay Area Salsa performers are getting quite friendly with “the walk” entering a stage. My aim in this blog is to critique “their walk” and hopefully they’d take this criticism as constructive.

What is “the walk” and where did it come from?

The walk is just that, a walk. But it is different from the normal walk everyone does going about their own business everyday, everywhere. “The walk’ exudes confidence. It gets attention. It could be in an introduction or at the end of the routine as performers walk out of the stage.

Where does “the walk” come from?

It is my belief that it came from the ballroom dance, to be specific, ballroom standard (Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango and Quickstep). The Latin Ballroom then later adopted it (Paso doble, jive, rumba, samba & cha-cha). Culturally, Europeans practice such “walk” in their lavish parties and events (you can see the walk most of the English movies such as Beethoven, Casanova, etc).

Maybe it’s just me, but I have never seen “the walk” adopted by salsa performers ’till less than two years ago. In fact, I don’t think East Coast salsa performers practice such walk. Not even Los Angeles. I have only noticed this from Bay Area performers. With that in mind, I commend them for being creative. But here comes the critique…

“The walk” falls short. It looks funny and annoying at the same time. There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. To be honest, it doesn’t even look arrogant. If you have ever seen a geek trying to be a playa, you’d instantly notice that his gestures, actions and even words just don’t fit him – this is how I see some of the performers when they do “the walk.” I am not saying everyone does that type of walk, but I think that the dance directors should at least pay attention to their dancers and critique them if need be.

What is the proper walk?

The answer depends on what theme is in their routine. Is it an elegant routine? Walk elegantly. If you don’t know how to walk elegantly, watch movies, search the web and study everything about being elegant. It also really helps if you make some eye contact with the audience during the entrance. If your routine is sluttish, it’s the same thing, do a good amount of research.

In Ballroom, we train to develop the proper posture e.g., posture of our faces, shoulders and entire body. If you ever watch ballroom performers, you’d notice that their chin is not higher than the ceiling. There’s a big difference between being snobby and confident.

A year ago, I was talking to several Swing instructors after teaching bachata at the Chico Dance Sensation. In fact, I remember Felipe was present as well. We got into discussing “stepping out of the box” meaning being creative and innovating a dance. It was a roundtable of discussion to the point that we even went back to the history of dancing. We all agreed that the essence of any original dance shouldn’t be phased out or “throw out” altogether but that it should be respected, acknowledge and improved upon. We finished such discussion as very educational and Sarah Vann Drake, a respected Swing performer and teacher, said it so brilliantly, “there’s a difference between getting out of the box and stepping out of the box. When we step out of the box, it basically means, one of our foot is out of the box while the other foot never left the box.”

Salsa is a street and social dance. Yes it has evolved and we owe a great deal to many dance innovators out there, but let’s not forget where it came from and what it was all about. A street dance is never snobby or arrogant. It’s non-intimidating and fun.

Rodney Rodchata Aquino

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i really want to learn how to dance this type of music. im mexican so i got the cumbia and ranchera and all that other types of mexican dances down, i just cant dance merenge and bachata or salsa. please help

I found this great website…
it’s got a search section on the top right corner of the screen, you can type in all sorts of things and videos will pop up on how to steps. good luck!

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2 Bachata danceDancing bachata is great

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Juan Ruiz bachata danceMy name is Juan Ruiz. I learnt Bachata in the USA, many years ago, almost a decade ago. The Bachata I learnt was influenced by the Dominicans, Puertoricans, Mexicans and other Latinos living in Chicago, USA. As it probably happened to you as well, I felt in love with the music and I felt in love with the dance right away.

Listening to Aventura’s song “Obsession” or Monchy y Alexandra’s “Dos locos” in the nightclub made me want to grab the first available lady and start dancing close Bachata with her. I learnt the close Bachata movements, I learnt the dips, I learnt the turn combinations, I really thought that I learnt everything that there was to Bachata (Now I know I learnt what is known as Bachata Traditional).

But then it happened that all Bachata dances started to look the same, all the Bachata dances started to feel the same. Lucky me, I wasn’t alone on this, other people were experiencing the same dilemmas:

  • Bachata is very simple, I don’t need to take classes anymore (or start taking classes)
  • I know my Bachata step, therefore I don’t need to learn new things
  • Is there anything else to Bachata?

I watched the salsa dancers get crazy on the dance floor with new combinations, new set of shines, body movements, and I always wondered, why can’t I do this with my Bachata? It is then, than on my quest to improve my Bachata skills, I came across dancers/instructors that experienced the same thing that I did, and that have started pushing the boundaries of Bachata.

Bachata danceSo I ventured on my journey to improve my Bachata skills. On my trip to the Malaysia Salsa Festival 2008, I met Inaki Fernandez, a Bachata/salsa instructor from Spain. Even though I didn’t take his workshop, I observed the way he danced. He did the Bachata traditional step, but then he started adding crosses on different counts of the Bachata beat, I knew then that there was more to Bachata traditional!

It is then that I started working on the Bachata Moderna style with my dance partner back in Sydney, Australia. We didn’t focus on styling, we focused on learning the new fundamentals – For a new style to become a style, it has to have a set of fundamentals that can be used on any turn pattern or combination and should be lead-able.

Just by adding the Bachata Moderna fundamentals on my Bachata traditional have made so much difference. Now that I know Bachata Moderna, and I know how to incorporate the Cross on1, Cross on2, Cross on3, Cross Over, the about turn, and other fundamentals, I can enjoy my Bachata dance once again. Bachata is no longer a side to side step with the same type of turn patterns; now I can lead my partner on different directions, I can surprised her with turns, and I can do new things during the song, I can move freely on the dance floor.

As people say “change is the only constant in the universe”, Bachata dancing is changing, it’s evolving, and I invite you to try new styles of Bachata, new variations. I thank all the instructors that are pushing the boundaries of Bachata (Inaki, Jorge Elizondo, Tony  Lara, Rodney Aquino, Carlos Cinta, to name a few). Thanks to them, Bachata has become a world-known dance style. Now we can enjoy Bachata Tango, Bachata Urbana and other variations, as well as the well known Bachata Traditional and Bachata Dominican style.

Now, I hope to see you dancing more Bachata in the clubs!

Bachata Moderna Dance Video 1

Bachata Moderna Dance Video 2

Juan Ruiz

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i live in wack ass north carolina and i cant find any studios that teach people how to dance bachata

You need lessons for bachata?
If you can dance American rhythm or International Latin ballroom dances, you can pick up bachata in about thirty seconds of watching it.

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2 Xtreme Te Extrano ~  Original versionPerforming Xtreme “Te Extraño” Bachata version
This is original choreography and performance by Ataca Jorgie y La Alemana.


Duration : 0:3:48

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