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History of Bachata

Bachata! - Originated in the Dominican Republic in the early 1950s, it became widely popular in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. 


The typical Bachata group consists of five instruments: Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, Electric bass guitar, Bongos and Guira.

The rhythm guitar is also known as a Segunda and serves the purpose of adding syncopation to the music. 


The original term used to name the genre was Amargue ("bitterness", "bitter music", or "blues music").

While the Bachatas being recorded in the 1960s (with artist such as Jose Manuel Calderon – credited as recording the first recorded Bachata single, Luis Segura, Ramon Cordero and many more), had a distinctly Dominican flavor, they were regarded at the time as a variant of Bolero, as the term Bachata, which originally referred to an informal rustic party, had not yet come into use. 


During much of its history, during the dictator Trujillo era, Bachata music was degraded by the Dominican elite and associated with rural underdevelopment and crime. 

As recently as the 1980s, Bachata was considered too vulgar, crude and musically rustic to enter mainstream music. In the late 1980s, however, Bachata's instrumentation changed from acoustic guitar to electric steel string (Blas Duran is credited to introducing electric guitar).


By the early 1990s, the sound was further modernized and the bachata scene was dominated by two new young stars: Luis Vargas and Antony Santos. Both incorporated a large number of Bachata-Merengues in their repertoires. 


Juan Luis Guerra’s Grammy-winning 1992 release, Bachata Rosa, is routinely credited with making the genre more acceptable and helping Bachata achieve legitimacy and international recognition. 


Evolution of Bachata

By the beginning of the 21st century, the Bachata group Aventura had taken the Bachata envisioned by Juan Luis Guerra in the early 1990s to new heights. Led by lead singer Anthony “Romeo” Santos, they revolutionized the genre, adding more hip hop and R&B sounds into the genre.

As time went by, Bachata music evolved and so did the dance. In the early 50’s the Bachata (a.k.a. “Amargue”) basic steps were done in a small square (side, side, forward and side, side, back), inspired from the Bolero steps, refer to your Bachata.


Nowadays, the Authentic (a.k.a. Traditional) dance is faster in accordance with faster music. The basic steps are mainly danced in a side-to-side or back-and-forth pattern, changing direction after every tap. It is danced with soft hip movements and a tap or syncopation (1, 2, 3, tap/syncopation). Alternating between Close and Open positions, Closed for a more romantic feel or Open to be more playful adding footwork, simple turns and torso movements etc.).  


Bachata Moderna was developed around 2005-2006. The basics are still the same as Authentic style, however, it has added a fusion of dance elements and styling from other genres and dances such Salsa, Tango and Lambada.

Adding a more exaggerated hip pop (especially for the ladies), and bigger body movements. 


The most direct fusion influence comes from the adoption of Salsa, with its turn patterns and dips.

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