Bachata Sensual: I have arrived!

Finally! I am blooming as a social Bachata Sensual dancer. I did it! Suddenly I have that fantastic feeling of being able to cater for any Follow at beginner, intermediate and advanced level. That I can give almost anyone a good, solid dance above average, and that bad dances are mostly history.

So what has happened? I have described my frustrations about Bachata Sensual in the blog posts, Bachata Sensual as a social dance and in Bachata Sensual: Why so difficult as a social dance? The learning process from beginner to a decent social dancer has been a long walk on broken glass. A painful experience.

In a partly artificial social dance like Bachata Sensual, where a lot of formal dance training is needed, the potential for missteps, misunderstandings and failure on the dance floor is endless. Especially when you dance with a new Follow or with a Follow you don’t know that well. This is in stark contrast to a social dance like Cuban Salsa, today learned mostly at dance schools outside of Cuba, but originally learned just by dancing it and watching family and friends.

In other words: For each thing an advanced level Follow needs to know and to have trained in Cuban Salsa, we have 20 in Bachata Sensual. This is why it is so frustrating for most Leads coming from Cuban Salsa and similar social dances, not to learn Bachata Sensual, but to implement it at socials.

In Bachata Sensual, the Lead can lead almost nothing unless the Follow has actually learned what she is supposed to do. This is true for any social dance, but in Bachata Sensual there is much more to learn, much more a Follow must know and must have trained and practiced than in most other social dances.

For that simple reason Bachata Sensual first works for a Lead when he is experienced enough to sense exactly what moves and variations to use and especially not to use with a particular Follow. And the Lead can’t rely on instinct alone, he must also test and probe the Follow’s abilities on the fly and constantly modify his choreography.

Of cause a Lead must sometimes take chances and serve a Follow stuff that might turn out to be way over her head, but if he does, he must have a plan B to recover from the resulting mess gracefully. How to recover with style, is an important skill to learn and must be integrated into anything that might turn out to be too difficult for a Follow.

For a Bachata Lead to be successful he must of cause also be good at all the more obvious stuff that is the same for any social dance, and most of all, he must be good at connecting.

In any social dance, and especially in a dance like Bachata Sensual, it also helps for the Lead to develop quite a repertoire in order to give each Follow special treatment according to her level. Unlike e.g. Cuban Salsa, a Bachata Sensual Lead must be able to completely alter the choreography from one Follow to the next, if the Lead dances with any Follow, known as well as unknown, at any level.

A Lead becomes a good social dancer in Bachata Sensual not the day he can lead the more complicated waves and body rolls using the full range of isolations, but the day he is music driven with a good flow, matching and leading any Follow into moves and variations, she can not just survive but actually do to her own perfection.


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