If you know anything about bachata, you probably know it as a couple’s dance. And it is a couple’s dance, most of the time that is. Unless you’re lady styling. If you’ve never seen someone perform bachata lady style before, you really need to check out this video of Elza Kharmatullina dancing to Or Nah by Ty Dolla and DJ Khalid.
Bachata began in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s and its name is based on the style of music that grew the style – bachata. Bachata literally means “music of bitterness”, which has some pretty strong parallels to the blues. Performed by the poor and oppressed while being shunned by the elite initially, but so infectious that it invades the mainstream.
There are three broad bachata styles:
- Dominican bachata – traditional square box step, danced close to your partner, main movements are hip swings
- Bachata moderna – more upper body movements than traditional, more of a variety in the lower body movements, side-together-side hold
- Sensual bachata – similar to modern but not as many complex steps, more of a focus on body waves and isolation movements, fluid movements
All of the standard bachata styles are danced with a partner, but in lady style, you dance alone. It uses the same movements and steps as other bachata styles but directly to the audience. And when it is done as well as Elza Khamatullina does it, it can be sensational!
Elza Khamatullina really is a rising star in the bachata world. She’s from Siberia and has dominated in the various Russian bachata competitions since 2017. She was a Champian at the Russian Bachata Stars Festival in 2017, a Vice-Champion in the World Bachata Masters in 2017, and a Champion for improvisation in the Russian Bachata Stars in 2018, to name but a few. Elza is definitely one to watch!
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