In the vibrant and diverse world of partner dancing, different styles often emerge and evolve over time. One such style that has gained significant popularity is "Bachata Sensual." However, as a teacher in dance and someone who holds deep respect for the cultural origins of Bachata, I am writing this article to respectfully appeal to the powers-that-be and the broader community for a reconsideration of the name "Bachata Sensual." I believe that renaming this style to something more appropriate, without the word "bachata" in it, would help prevent confusion and further honor the rich tradition and heritage of Bachata.
Before delving into the reasons behind this plea for renaming, it is crucial to recognize the undeniable beauty and fluidity of Bachata Sensual. The founders and pioneers of this style have created an art form that has captivated dancers all over the world. However, a similar situation arose in the Kizomba dance community when "French Kizomba" emerged as a popular style. The powers-that-be in the Angolan Kizomba community pointed out that the French version deviated significantly from the original structure and authenticity of Kizomba. In order to resolve the confusion, both parties agreed to designate the style as "UrbanKiz." This example shows that it is possible to find a more suitable name for a dance style in order to maintain clarity and respect for its origins.
The Need for a New Name:
The Distinction of Sensuality: The term "sensual" is evident in partner dancing across various genres worldwide, making it unnecessary to associate it specifically with Bachata. Similarly, the term "bachata" already carries its own connotations of sensuality. Therefore, using the term "sensual bachata" perpetuates redundancy. It is imperative to distinguish between the original Bachata and the sensual interpretation.
Dance Movements and Structure: The movements in Bachata Sensual bear little resemblance to the style of Bachata as danced in the Dominican Republic or in other regions that honor its culture and traditions. When comparing the two dance forms side by side, the differences are stark and striking. Even the fundamental aspects of Bachata cannot be traced in Bachata Sensual.
Musical Influence: Dance experts universally acknowledge that music shapes our movements, styles, and flow. The music used in most sensual-style dances differs significantly from traditional Bachata music. Even remixes, which often incorporate popular contemporary pop songs, lack the essential elements of authentic Bachata music.
The Duck Test: Applying the classic "duck test" analogy, if it "walks like a duck, talks like a duck, moves like a duck," then it should be called a duck. This principle holds true for Bachata Sensual when compared to Bachata. Dancers proficient in Bachata often question the identity of Bachata Sensual due to its stark differences in appearance and sound.
The Word "Sensual": It is worth considering why the term "sensual" was included in the name of this dance style. In traditional dance styles, such as tango, foxtrot, salsa, mambo, casino, zouk, kizomba, and merengue, the addition of an adjective is unnecessary. It seems unfair to single out Bachata Sensual with an adjective and interweave it with the term "bachata" when it deviates significantly from the original style.
Bolero Influence: Some argue that Bachata Sensual derives from the influence of bolero, which has its roots in the Dominican Republic. However, the type of bolero practiced by Sensualists differs from the authentic Dominican style. These dancers often incorporate ballroom bolero and what they refer to as "Spanish bolero." Thus, it is inaccurate to claim that Bachata Sensual accurately represents the bolero influence on Bachata.
In conclusion, I believe that the term "Bachata Sensual" is misleading and fails to accurately represent the dance style. By changing the name to something more appropriate, we can prevent confusion and uphold the integrity of Bachata as a distinct cultural expression. The powers-that-be in the Bachata Sensual community, including the founders, pioneers, DJs, and promoters, hold the power to effect this change. As witnessed in the case of UrbanKiz, a simple adjustment in the name helped resolve confusion and preserve the essence of the original style. It is my hope that this plea will be heard and that the community will consider renaming Bachata Sensual to ensure a harmonious and respectful coexistence of dance styles within the broader Bachata community. Together, we can honor the art and support the longevity of Bachata, its community, culture, and traditions.
P.S. The rise of "Bachata Sensual" on social media platforms has led to a decline in the appreciation and understanding of the authentic Bachata dance. With the majority of online content promoting the sensual interpretation, many beginner students are misled into thinking they're learning Bachata when they're actually participating in a completely different dance. It's our responsibility to address this issue and do the right thing by promoting and preserving the true essence of Bachata. Only then can we ensure that this cultural treasure remains alive and celebrated worldwide. We must and should do the right and honorable thing.