They don't play many bachatas, and by the time they do, I need a break anyway. I hadn't bothered learning much about it but I see a tipping point happening. Bachata is replacing cha-cha-cha as the number two Latin dance in many clubs.
I'll go on record as saying bachata will share equal time with cha-cha-cha, and probably take the number two spot in many scenes over the next year.
Many salsa dancers look down on bachata. Just like some jazz dancers look down on salsa dancers, believing it's easy and a street dance. The music is simpler, the bachata basic is not as complicated, and the hip/leg-kick stuff can look downright feminine if a lead is not careful. Not a look most guys want.
I have a salsero friend who hates bachata, mocks the little leg kick thing, and starts swearing about the DJ if they play more than one bachata ever hour or so. When they play two in row, he'll go swear directly to the DJ, asking them when the salsa is restarting.
He just hates it. But I think he's missing the point and swimming against the tide.
The ladies really like it overall (unless an unknown guy gets too close), and they can be lead through an interesting dance by any decent bachata lead. Most guys can be "decent" in far less time than salsa, and like it or not, it's becoming more popular each day.
Edie the Salsa Freak and Jorge Dancing Bachata
Rather than fight the trend, I'm going to work it and I recommend you do the same. At the summer Salsa Mambo Festival, the bachata classes were very popular, and when they played bachata tunes during social dancing, the floor was 70-80% as full as the salsa songs, and right up there with the cha-cha-cha tunes.
That's a big difference from just six months ago, where there was lots of open space during the bachata tunes.
By the time the New Years Salsa Mambo Festival is here, I'll have my bachata chops in order. I've started watching Edie's two bachata DVDs, and realized it's not a big deal if you already do some regular salsa social dancing.
You can dance it real close, real respectful or anyplace in between if your partner is on the same page. Guys, be sure you pay attention to your partners response, as I've seen many guys really turn ladies off by being too close for comfort.
On the other hand, if you're a very good bachata lead, (not that tough in my mind), some are happy to dance closer than I'd expect. It's a matter of making good choices and paying attention to your partners responses.
It makes sense to get your act together, take a class or two, and/or follow my lead and purchase a couple DVDs to get you started. Experienced salsa dancers will be competent in minimal time (compared to salsa), and like any dance, you want to become "above average" because partners love dancing with those people.
If you become excellent, you'll find a wide set of partner choices, because while many are doing it, only the minority are doing it really well. That will change over time, but today is your chance to get ahead of the curve.
It may not have been my favorite in the past, but it's time to move beyond the "it's break time" mentality. I see it as a fun dance, and the challenge is to make a great connection rather than a complex dance.
Taken to a higher level, you'll find a great connection, musicality and body motion is the essence of the dance, with a wide pattern vocabulary a distant third. In other words, it provides an excellent vehicle for improving your connection, musicality, Cuban motion, leading techniques, and timing. All those elements will carry over to improve your salsa.
Time to make it a part of my dance vocabulary and I recommend you check it out too.
Let me know your thoughts on bachata becoming more popular. Are you seeing similar trends in your scene?
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable,
but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
--George Bernard Shaw