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Bachata/Merengue Dominican style

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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: Bachata/Merengue Dominican style Reply with quote

Hello to all!
I just got back from a week trip at the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana. I bachata danced and learned a few tips on merengue moves that I will potentially teach in level 1 classes. Most of the merengue steps are the same, just that the dominicans tend to do the merengue steps in 4 steps. For example, eventhough they do the 1, 2, 1,2... when they are moving from side to side or in a circle with a partner, they tend to do 4 steps to the left, 4 steps to the right...or...4 steps to complete one full circle. I believe it doesn't make a difference in the movement really...just that it makes it look a little smoother and little more authentic I guess. Finally, the biggest difference was that both the bachata and merengue there, tend to use more inside turns and less turn patterns, as opposed to what we do.

For all those wanting to be authentic bachata/merengue dancers...these are my tips! I didn't get the opportunity to buy a new Bachata CD at the DR. Maybe next year! Wink

Bachata/Merengue on!
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Joined: 29 Feb 2008
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:45 am    Post subject: Merengue and Bachata Reply with quote

I bet they dance a lot closer there, don't they? especially for Bachata. They dance really close. But most of the time it doesn't mean anything. Just dancing. Not that the guy want to rub up against you, but I am sure that happens too. I remember going going there and they would do one spin not in one cycle of 1-2-3 like here, but they would do one spin and it would take up to 2 cycles of 1-2-3 (slower). you know what I mean?
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Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Bachata = Close! Reply with quote

I was taught bachata by a woman who came from the Dominican Republic.

I could salsa and do some lambada, but never heard of bachata. She got us moving in about five minutes. Yes, this woman was very close she back-led me using her the inside of her thigh as she intertwined our legs together.

Our framing was very strong and close as well, with the leader's hand either just above the woman's derriere or on the middle of the back and the follower's hand almost at the leader's left shoulder blade, not pushing away from the front of the right shoulder. We were low on our legs with the knees bent to allow the hips to move, very close at the hip while being a little further away through the chest to stay balanced. This is not for the prim or the faint of heart. It is indeed an old street dance from the barrios.

No toe tap either. I think the toe tap came in when the dance was 'sanitised' for the North Americanos. It is all hip with a little flick of the hip instead of the toe tap to change direction. That takes a little practice to get working. But once it does, a matchless rhythm gets going with the couple. Upper body was relatively still, but everything else was very busy from the hips down. Not huge movement, but small controlled sensual movement. The music was very slow compared to what is played today, so there is a lot of time to move without being rushed. Not like the racing music that sounds almost like frantic guitar driven merengue.

We moved side to side and forward and back. One left hand/reverse turn only. No salsa turn patterns, no 'styling' no nothin', just down on the legs, moving hips. Maybe, maybe a few 'meltdowns.'

Talk about dancing on one's very small tile as the Cubans say. Sort of a Latin slow dance. The lyrics of the early bachata songs tended to the erotic side as well. Get some old music and have a Spanish speaking friend listen in.... Lots of fun!
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