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Salsa or Bachata, Which is Easier to Learn?

Updated: 21 hours ago

This audio was recorded by Danny Kalman, the Director of Movers and Shakers Salsa and Bachata Dance Academy. The following text is an unedited transcript of his audio.

Transcript of Audio (edited for clarity):

The answer is that bachata is easier to learn at the beginning level, but at a more advanced level, in some ways, bachata is more challenging. 

The reason that bachata for beginners is typically easier to learn is that it is slower. There's less spinning, the music is easier to hear the counts, and when you do spin, there's much more time to complete your spins. Those things alone make it a lot easier. Salsa, on the other hand, the music is much faster. There's a lot more spinning. It's very technical, even at a beginning level, to start to learn it properly, and the spins are fast. Also, salsa music is very challenging to hear the beat and find the one.

Personally, even though I had grown up playing instruments for 8 years, when I later in life learned to dance salsa, it still took me six months to hear the one in the music. There's no single instrument in salsa music that you can depend on and listen for to find the beat, so that can be an extra challenge for a lot of dancers.

At a more advanced level, though, bachata, in some ways, can be more challenging. For example, if you're dancing more traditional Dominican bachata, the hip movement is very intricate, and the speed is a lot faster with traditional Dominican bachata as well, as opposed to modern or sensual bachata, which will still be slower.

The challenge with modern sensual bachata at a higher level is that there are a lot of body undulations, a lot of body rolls, and intricate movements and isolations with the body that, for some people, can take a lot of time to develop; for other people, it can happen more quickly. 

Salsa at an advanced level, of course, is going to be challenging as well, but what I've noticed in the dance academy is that those details I describe with bachata at the more advanced level are things that become quite challenging for a lot of people. Also, sensual bachata, especially, is very close to the partner, and when you're dancing that close to the partner, there is very little room for error.

As a leader, you have to be really precise in your movements, or it just becomes a big mess. As a follower, you have to be really in touch with what the leader is asking for and follow exactly what he's asking for, nothing more, nothing less, and again, when you're that close to the partner, there is very little room for error.

So those are the reasons that bachata can be more challenging at an advanced level. 

In terms of which one a person should learn first, salsa or bachata, I always tell people:

"Don't worry about which one is more challenging; just start with the one that inspires you the most at that moment."

If you fall in love with the process of learning, and if you have access to proper training, education, and programs with great instructors that will help you learn it properly, you'll be fine, you'll be able to learn either one and enjoy the process. 

Bachata Classes in Los Angeles

This audio was recorded by Danny Kalman, the creator and director of Movers and Shakers Salsa and Bachata Dance Academy in Los Angeles, California.

If you're in Los Angeles, California, you're welcome to join Movers and Shakers for salsa classes and bachata classes.

Movers and Shakers hosts beginner to advanced salsa and bachata programs. The programs start from the very, very, top, teaching all the foundations in a way that is progressive, structured, and comprehensive.


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