Salsa and bachata go hand in hand nowadays. At the majority of socials, you will find a pretty even split between the two, so most people are definitely motivated to learn both styles of dance. Salsa is, of course, the more established of the two but bachata (both traditional and all of the different bachata styles that have emerged) is fast becoming a favourite around the world.
Check out this video of Alex and Desiree dancing one of the most fun and joyful bachata routines you’ll ever see, and it will be pretty obvious why! If you’re already experienced in salsa, you might be wondering how easy it will be for you to pick up bachata. Or you might be wondering which you should learn first.
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As a rule of thumb, most dancers of both styles would advise you to learn salsa before you pick up bachata, and there are a few reasons for that. Firstly, salsa is more technically demanding in terms of the steps that you need to learn. That isn’t to say that it is “better” than bachata but the barrier to entry for a newcomer is higher. So if you learn salsa first, then you will already have gained a greater amount of dance experience. It is also a faster dance so you will find learning the slower style of bachata easier once you have the hang of doing steps more quickly.
Secondly, there are lots of salsa moves that are translatable to bachata. By not learning salsa first, you would lose the opportunity to introduce a range of fun and stylish moves into your bachata dancing. Salsa is also still more popular or well known than bachata, so you will get more opportunities to practice when you’re starting out than if you just learn bachata.
Ultimately, most people opt to learn both dance styles because it makes having fun at dance socials a lot easier, and you can learn them both in parallel if you want to, but if you do choose to get started with one before the other, your best bet is salsa.
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