Most people have heard of salsa. It is probably the most popular Latin dance worldwide. Once you start getting involved in the world of salsa, however, you will likely come across another dance called bachata. It is less well known than salsa but is becoming a mainstay of salsa socials and more and more popular as a dance to learn. There are some similarities between the two dances, but let’s take a look at the differences.

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If you’re unfamiliar with bachata, take a look at this video of Marco and Sara. They are one of the most famous dance couples in the bachata world so this really is bachata danced at its best! Below you will find some more bachata videos for you to check out.

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Salsa is a fast-paced, energetic, and flirty dance. In contrast, bachata is usually danced much more slowly and is more of a romantic and sensual dance. However there are certain sub-styles such as original Dominican bachata that can be danced quite fast as well and has also this flirty vibe it. Dominican bachata is not as popular throughout the world though as sensual bachata or bachata moderna.


In salsa, you dance quite far away from your partner with lots of intricate footwork, turns, and spins while using a lot of the dance floor. In bachata, however, you generally dance very close to your partner, hip-to-hip, with lots of upper body movement, dips, and body rolls. You also don’t tend to use as much of the dance floor.


Both salsa and bachata are danced to a 4/4 beat and, with both dances, you step on 1,2,3,5,6,7 and pause on 4 and 8. In salsa, however, you step forward and backward along a line. Whereas in bachata, you dance side to side and dip your hip on 4 and 8 rather than fully pausing. So the “geometry” of movement across the floor is also quite different.


Both salsa and bachata have their own styles of music. Salsa music is fast, tends to use lots of different instruments, and has Cuban roots but was popularized in New York. Bachata music was created in the Dominican Republic, is slower, and traditionally is played on a guitar (although remixing pop songs to turn them into bachata music has become very popular).

Many people learn both salsa and bachata because they are both fun dances in their own way, and it gives you some nice variety when you are at a social.

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