Dance Workshop – Bachata
Sunday, 28th November, 2010
Someone rightly said, “There’s no greater fun than being able to take time out from your busy schedule, and spend some time with your favorite hobby”. 17 of our lucky souls got to live this fact this Sunday, 28th November, a date to remember for most of us. It was a time and a place to learn some basics about the popular latin American dance form, Bachata.
For someone like me, who has had experience in Salsa and Jive, Bachata was an unheard dance-form. it took me a few minutes to realize the difference between a Salsa and a Jive, since the posture, the movement are relatively identical. it was only when I asked that I realized, that Bachata is a bit more sensual form of Salsa.
I think its safe for me after this workshop to define Bachata as a style dance which originated in the Dominican Republic and is widely danced all around the world. The basic to Bachata are three steps with a Cuban hip motion, ended by a tap on the fourth, just like Salsa or any other Latin Dance form.
Mr. Nikhil, who is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer by profession, and who teaches Bachata as a hobby, also well equipped in dance forms like Salsa, and Tango, visited IWSB campus, and spent a good two hours with us, providing us with basics of Bachata. It was really like finding an oasis between the Sahara which enabled us to forget our workload for a few hours and just groove into the music. It was a pleasure watching his enthusiasm, even though he was just visiting us for a couple of hours, which can be simply put forward with the fact that he even partnered with the boys who didn’t have a female partner, due to a lesser number of girl participants as compared to boys.
We had participants from other colleges, who showed great enthusiasm in being a part of this workshop. The session started with him giving us instructions and demonstration of the basic step, to make us comfortable, and not feel nervous about trying out on a foreign dance form. He lead us, like a meticulous professor at work with his students, leading us through the steps by demonstrating them, and even giving us the counts for the move. He surely made it simpler than it looked, which was the beauty of his instruction techniques.
A shortcoming that we were a bit concerned about before the start of the workshop was in the demography of the attendants. We had a disproportion in terms of the ratio of boys to girls. It was a bit of a difficulty because Bachata is not a solo dance form, and needs a dance partner of the opposite sex, just like Salsa. Nikhil realized it and came up with a plan of making couples and asking girls to change their partners in between, so that the boys who were trying steps alone, could try them with a partner, to get a feel of the Motion, Movements and the Posture.
One of the main aspect which makes Bachata a tad more difficult, is the hip movement in the dance, as its pretty much the elegant factor in the act. Generally controlled, full body movement is crucial in any dance form, but in Bachata most of it comes from the hips. In the beginning it was a bit difficult for most to get that sort of a movement with elegance, but Nikhil persevered with his appreciation and his unrelenting effort to get it right from us. Gradually things started to flow, the hips’ n ‘hops started to become natural, the cross legged move became more symphonized and the twists and turns became more in tune. He made it very clear that the male partner is the lead ( which made the guys a bit nervous but also forced them to concentrate hard so that they don’t mess it up ).
The entire learning experience was a lot of fun to be a part of. And if this wasn’t enough, the workshop ended when Nikhil stopped giving the instructions and asked us to go with our instinct. Suddenly the choreographed part was taken over by instinctive dancing. It was amazing fun to try the techniques we learnt with utmost ease with our dance partners. It was certainly an icing on the cake. It was certainly an ideal example of Learning, Practicing and Implementing. It was during trying out the steps on my own, that I realized the essence of Bachata. I realized that Bachata is about “Learning to isolate my dance partner’s body movements and gain the confidence to lead her into any pattern, even if I’m dancing with her for the very first time.”
It was an amazing place to express oneself, without any hesitation, which was pretty evident in the way we saw even the first timers, enjoying and trying to learn. It was one of the biggest achievements out of this workshop. Dance, in any form, is a beautiful and happy way to express oneself and de-stress, and it certainly served that purpose. Bachata helped us not only to achieve that for ourselves, but also help our partners do that.
Nikhil in the end took over, and gave a few of our female fellow attendants to actually dance with an expert, when he almost candidly, offered to dance with them, to give them a prominent experience of dancing with a professional. I can safely say that this experience would last with them for a long time.
As for me, this workshop has just made me add an entry in my bucket-list – to learn Bachata, and be an expert in this amazing dance form. Thanks to the organizers of this workshop, for their unrelenting effort to convert the idea of this workshop, into a reality, and Nikhil, for taking time off for us and giving us a feel of another amazing piece of Latin American dance form, in Bachata.