Bachata Sensual as a social dance
I sometimes get so frustrated learning Bachata Sensual that I am wondering if it really is a genuine social dance. I wish the dance well, I am struggling hard to learn it, and have been doing so for quite some time.
If learning Bachata is to be a nice experience, it helps a lot to understand how it is different to learn compared to other social dances. The learning curves are different, and some dance styles are much more difficult to lead at a given level, or requires much more of the Follow to work.
1 Almost a rehearsed dance
There are many impressive Bachata Sensual videos around, and my instructors in class and workshops dance quite well. But the dancers are often partners, or they know one another, having been schooled for a long time in the same local dance community.
This is true for any social dance. But if we set up a scale for lead-ability, to what extent a Lead can make an average Follow on same level dance in a certain way, she doesn’t know in advance, Bachata Sensual scores in the very low end among the social dances.
A lot of what I see in workshops and masterclasses look if not as a choreographed dance, then at least as a rehearsed dance or as a dance that will not work at all if the Lead dances with the average dancer in the room before she has actually seen and rehearsed the combination.
2 Beginners and improvers
Bachata Sensual works like most other dance styles at Beginner and Improver level. Everything you learn in class as a Lead, you can use immediately in social dancing. Not only with your class Follows but with any Follow, even with beginners only knowing basic steps.
3 Intermediate level
At intermediate level there is a watershed of change and challenges. The disparity between what you learn in class and what you can use in social dancing is mind blowing. You are likely to become rather frustrated when you go social dancing, at least for a while.
Almost everything you learn at intermediate level is impossible to do with the average Follow on Beginner and Improver level. Body rolls, head rolls, dips, hand tosses, arm swings, push turns, slides, break turns, and changing direction and positions.
And it is even worse. All what I have mentioned doesn’t even work with the average Follow at intermediate level unless she has actually learned the exact same thing in class or workshop.
4 Salsa as contrast
In Cuban Salsa, a Lead should as a general rule adjust his level to the Follow to make her not just survive the dance but with grace and elegance. But a good average Lead can make most of the advanced stuff he knows well work in an acceptable manner with any Follow at any level. If he decides to do so, and the music is not too fast.
It is the opposite in Bachata Sensual. Even when I have danced with the Follow before, even when she is a class mate, even when she is an average advanced level, I must play it extremely safe and conservative to avoid disaster in social dancing.
Read my new blog post: Bachata Sensual: I have arrived!