Dance, all kinds, always fun, challenging and curious. Where did it all come from? All the dances have history, but I was curious recently, when I was asked if I knew the Bachata. I asked, “What is that?” It’s a rhythm dance. Born in the Dominican Republic, where the music also was born, it has a history that’s rich and stretches back to the beginning of the 20th century. Upper-class Dominicans looked down upon Bachata as a style that was considered too backwoods and low class, holding back its popularity.
In the Dominican Republic, censorship was rampant under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Bachata music remained in the closet. In 1961, after Trujillo was assassinated, music loosened up but Bachata remained in the Dominican society until the 1980s when it began to move into other countries as a beautiful, sensual rhythm dance. It has become popular in ballroom dancing. I began embracing ballroom dancing in the last year, where, last week, I learned about Bachata. There are many more dances to learn, dances that I didn’t even dream existed, like the Salsa and the Hustle.
It was in the 1980s when Bachata really began to take off as a popular dance and music style. The music began to appear on the radio and eventually even on television, and parts of the upper class that had looked down on Bachata began to accept it as a positive aspect of Dominican culture.
Bachata continued its growth into the 1990s and 2000s, and today is one of the most popular and still fastest growing Latin styles. Bachata has emerged successfully! What fun to dance to its music.