Saturday was Bachata workshop classes, with the theme of spins and fancy dips. From twelve to five pm, Amanda led the class in drills, sorted out the dodgy steps, and at the end, everyone was moving in harmony and beautiful lines.
Already, I can hear someone going, “Say what now, Bachata who? I thought todo latino did Salsa?”
Yes, we do, but we do Bachata too. Keep up. To answer the question upthread, Wikipedia comes to the rescue with a suitable explanation for this dance. Take it away, boys:
The dance is a four-step beat achieved with a walking Cuban hip motion, and a unique “pop”. The dance is performed both in open position and in closed position depending on the setting and mood of the partners. Similar to Merengue, dips are not original to the dance and turns are done infrequently. The male leads the female with subtle communication using pushing and pulling on the hands to guide the direction in which to move or to hint on upcoming turns. The female may also provide communication using her left hand to indicate whether she is comfortable or not dancing in a closed position.
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. So instead of one, two, three. Five, six, seven like in salsa. It’s one, two, three, hip. Five, six, seven, hip. So the hip is your beat. The woman stands offside from the guy (this I didn’t know) instead of directly infront so that the turns can be easily done.
The structure of the workshops are pretty similar to the classes, but are more full on, because instead of one hour, you get five hours of instruction (for £20? Bargain!).
Sssh, be very quiet, we’re going hunting for pictures.
Notice how the women stand ‘off centre’ from the men? They pretty much have to do that, so when the guy swings ’em around, you (as a woman) grip the guy’s knees with your thighs so you don’t fly through the window. Or at least, off the dance floor. Hey, you see the hip movement here, right? The punctuation of the guy’s hip to the side? That’s the ‘beat’ in Bachata.
Right here. Note the ladies’ posture. If you want to be a good follower (ladies) you have to keep your core firm. As in, from shoulders to hips, your body needs to be going in the same direction. Think of it as doing a pirouette, you really wouldn’t do it with a slouch, would you? Or expect a ballet dancer to do so? That would be really sloppy. Also, it makes it hard work for the leader (man) to lead you into various dance steps. You literally become dead weight because he can’t move you as easily as he should. This is serious, ladies, dislocation can occur. So, remember: tight core, keep your beats. One, two, three, hip. Five, six, seven, hip.
Not to worry, guys, Amanda has feet! Seriously, nothing to see here. She just wears long trousers. Right here, Amanda is showing the leaders and the followers what to do. The moves are blocked individually, making sure that everyone gets the basic steps before launching into the routine. People are given pointers about holds, and spins, and posture. So when you start to dance, you should know where you’re doing, and most importantly, not injure anyone.
Spins and dips. Here’s Amanda (in the caramel and white striped shirt and uh… no feet?) taking a student through her paces. Note the shoes worn on the floor, ladies and gents. You can wear flat shoes, or shoes with stacked heels. No stilettos, please, not with that wooden floor. Nor shoes with nails in them like people wear for flamenco. You’ll spear holes in the floor, making it unusable.
Also! Note the lovely, firm cores of the women, here as they are being rolled out (as in, the men lead the women out of a embrace, not roll out in the other way of… oh, never mind). Not a slouch in sight, no siree, Bob. Looking good, ladies! The men are doing their job, here.
That’s just a small sample of what we did in class for those five hours. Missed it? Be gutted. Gutted. Weep and moan, rend your clothing and rub your face with ash. After you’ve sufficiently recovered from the pain, wipe your eyes, and promise yourself that you’ll be there for the next workshop with bells on.
We have cake. :D
For the next post, I’m hoping to have some pictures for the Tango and Kizombe classes that are held here in the week. You’re looking forward to that, right? I KNOW you are.
Same time, same (todo latino) channel. Any comments, are my links dodgy (I know one is, and I’m working on it), leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you, with the (relative) quickness.
Remember your basic, mates. You should know it by now, right? One, two, three…
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