Bachata

Learn the smoking, sizzling Bachata dance from Basic to Advanced classes in Actfa Dance School Singapore.  Bachata lessons are taught from open to close embrace, including the unique body isolations and footwork that defines Bachata as a much beloved dance. 

Bachata, a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original term used to name the genre was amargue ("bitterness," or "bitter music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. It has been compared to the blues, although in modern times it bears similarities to R&B.

Bachata was created primarily by servants, who played it after their work days ended. They made the music out of ordinary objects like those commonly found in a backyard such as trash cans and fences. In some rural areas of the Dominican Republic, bachata means trash, but most citizens also agree that it means a party. Others say that bachata is derived from the Italian ballata, which was a popular form of music in Italy centuries ago.[citation needed] Bachata did not begin as the popular dance music that it is today and it was not acceptable among higher society. Guitar (either electric or acoustic) whose sound has been doctored with a flanger, reverb, echo, or a combination of the three, is featured. The use of arpeggiated chords as the basis for the melody is almost standard. An additional guitar, called the segunda (rhythm guitar), is usually mixed at a lower volume and provides syncopation. An electric bass guitar and güira help anchor the rhythm, with the güira sounding a bit like a high-hat (in pre 1990s bachata, maracas were played instead of güira). The use of the bongo drum further solidifies the basic beat and provides percussive accents in transition points; for instance right before a chorus.

Bachata is a popular guitar music from the Dominican Republic. Now successful among Latinos in the United States, bachata took shape over a period of about 40 years in the bars and brothels of Santo Domingo, not gaining acceptance in its native land until the late 1990s. Young groups like Bronx-based Aventura have a similar relationship to original bachata as rock and rollers do to the blues, which has languished in the shadow of its more commercially viable descendant. In fact, the parallel between bachata and the blues is marked. Although bachata developed out of, and bachateros play, a variety of different rhythms, notably including merengue, the music which is specifically called bachata is a variant of the bolero. The bolero in Latin culture has traditionally been a romantic music, dealing with themes like deception and lost love. The bachatero, like the bluesman, sings about pain and trouble; one difference, though, is that while the bluesman hops on a southbound freight and keeps moving, the bachatero gets as far as the neighborhood bar and looks for solace in a bottle of rum in a dark corner!

The genre has passed through several phases since José Manuel Calderón recorded what is generally recognized as the first bachata single (“Borracho de amor” and “Que será de mi (Condena)”) in 1961. Indeed, long before Calderón, guitar music was the music of choice in the places of ill repute which became home to bachata. The guitar and guitar music like bolero and son were also the staples of the campo, the countryside, and with the death of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961 a number of musicians left the campo to record in the capital. The dictator’s family had virtually monopolized the music industry in the country, and when he was killed entrepreneurs began recording the first generation of bachateros. At this point the music was not yet referred to as bachata, but rather as “bolero campesino”. The word bachata originally denoted an informal party where guitar music was generally played; only later did it come to signify the music itself, and then in a denigrating manner.

When Calderón recorded, bachata was essentially a type of bolero, very little different from the Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Peruvian music that inspired it. In subsequent years, the music began to define itself as a genre which, while still based principally on the bolero rhythm, is easily distinguishable from it. In order to understand these changes it is useful to divide the genre into the following categories, each of which roughly corresponds to a time period:
Bachata-bolero, Cabaret Bachata, Sexual Double Entendre Bachata, Tecno-bachata, Frontier Bachata, Romantic Bachata, Vallenato and Bachata, The New York School.

The bachata played today uses electric guitar and has phrasing which is more rhythmic and groove-like than in earlier styles. The evolution to electric has perhaps helped make bachata more accessible.  Some associate Juan Luis Guerra's Grammy winning 1992 release, Bachata Rosa, with bachata's rise in legitimacy and international recognition. Others argue that Guerra had very little to do with bachata's rise, and that, although he used the word bachata in an album title, he never actually even recorded a song in a typical bachata style.
In 2006, the Dominican group Aventura, based in New York City, was probably the best known bachata group worldwide, with its single "Obsesión" having dominated for a long time radio play both in Latin America, US Latino markets, and countries as distant as Italy and Sweden. While they are superseded at the international level by Aventura, for the Dominican audience, the most popular of the modern bachateros have been Antony Santos and Luis Vargas. Other artists of note include Raulin Rodriguez, Zacarias Ferreira, Frank Reyes, Monchy y Alexandra, Domenic Marte, Xtreme, Andy Andy, Elvis Martinez, Leonardo Paniagua, Los Toros Band, and Joe Veras.

The basic footwork is a series of simple steps that produce a back and forth or sideways motion. A schematic footwork would be as follows: starting with the right foot make a chasse to the right on counts 1,2. On 3, touch the left toe beside your right foot (alternatively, tapping the left toe in place, i.e., apart from the right foot, make an upwards jerk with the left hip). Then do the same from your left foot. The character of the dance is achieved through sensual hip and body movements. You can also add turns to spice it up a little or dance closer together or far apart depending on how comfortable you are with your dance partner. The more you dance with someone the more likely you will be able to lead them or be led. Usually the male leads and the female follows.

Related Classes: Salsa, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Starlinn Actfa DanceSTARLINN CHOO YANQING joined the SFDF program in 2004 while studying in NUS, training 12 hours a day; she completed her SFDF, Diploma & IHDC courses in 3 years, using her teaching income to finance her classes in Diploma & IHDC. In 2008 she pursued her IMDC Dance Business & is now doing her 3 years IPHDC Dance Product Research. While pursuing her IHDC she was already traveling around the world for assignments. more


Bianca Actfa DanceBIANCA enrolled in the SFDF course after A-levels. Within 6 months she was dancing as a backup dancer for MTV. She has also traveled to many countries like Germany, UK, Taiwan & Hong Kong to teach & perform, & was offered a position to dance in a few Musical plays. 


 Libin Actfa DanceLB, a masters degree holder working for a MNC, decided to do a career switch after he completed his SFDF. He then worked as an International Sales Manager in dance products, an international artist & dance instructor. He is the Singapore Bachata Champion 2008 and the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship behind Serge and Polina from Russia in 2010. more


manfred Actfa DanceMANGGOH was one of the elite few selected for the Mediacorp Dance Academy in 2000. He graduated from NTU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and used to work as a Project Manager in the IT Industry. He passed his examination & evaluation for SFDF and is currently doing his Diploma & IHDC. more


maricel Actfa DanceMARICEL, a professional dancer from the Philippines, joined SFDF in 2009. In less than a year, she has performed at the Esplanade Da:ns Festival 2009, Salsa Cruise Asia 2009, & has also been to China to teach & perform. In 2010 she was offered a full time dance instructor job in Singapore. She has since gone on to set up a dance studio in the Philippines and comes back periodically to upgrade her skills.


rachel Actfa DanceRACHEL an undergraduate in NTU joined the SFDF in 2010 and was offered to open a dance studio in China.  She has taught and performed in Guang Zhou, Shen Zhen, Hong Kong, Singapore.


 derrick actfa danceDERRICK has over 20 years of dance instructor experience with more than 30 types of dance. He was granted an exemption from SFDF after taking an examination & evaluation and signed up for the diploma & IHDC simultaneously.


tamil actfa danceTAMIL, a professional dancer & teacher actively involved in competitions & performances for Hip Hop, Bollywood, Indian Dance. He was teaching dance in secondary school and choreographing for SYF. He joined the IHDC program to further his training as a dancer & teacher in 2009.  Since joining the IHDC, he has taught, performed & competed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan.


brenda actfa danceBRENDA joined the SFDF when she was 13 years old and was hired to teach and perform both locally and overseas after 6 months. She was also financing her own dance study while teaching private dance classes.  Under the SFDF, she was the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship 2010 and Singapore Bachata Champion 2009.  She was given opportunities to teach in Malaysia, Hong Kong, China.

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Actfa School of Dance & Performing Arts
Tel:  +65 6225 0150                        Location:  Map
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47A Chander Road, Singapore 219546
(3min from Little India MRT, exit E
Parking at Grand Imperial Hotel)