The Dominican Republic is renowned for its beautiful beaches and the Bachata, a sensual and romantic Afro-Caribbean dance.
Thousands of Bachata aficionados from across the globe come to together to celebrate the dance: “I love it, it’s the best festival. It’s incredible, it’s heaven,” said one dancer.
Although difficult the dance is a joy:“At a certain level the dance is a challenge, but dance for me, is pleasure,” said another enthusiast who had made the trip from Portugal.
At the very top of the Bachata tree are Spain’s Daniel and Desiree double world Bachata champions. They perform at numerous festivals spreading their love of the dance: “I think this festival here in the Dominican Republic, the birthplace of the Bachata, is really special. It attracts many people to the beach, pool, party, and dance classes. There are also many artists, it has all the ingredients. It’s an amazing festival. This is the first time we’ve been here. It won’t be the last, “ explained Desiree.
A host of international stars are here at the BachaTu, many from Europe. What they like most about this event is the variety: “The difference between BachaTu and other European festivals is that it is also a music festival. So it’s not just a normal event where you have classes then a performance at night. We have concerts every night, so its about music as well. People can understand where Bachata comes from and where better to do it than in the Dominican Republic. So we do have a complete experience,” said performer La Alemana.
Bachata has exploded in Europe in recent times and many European dancers come here to hone their skills. Bachata is first a music and it is through music that Bachata will further evolve.
Ataca is a professional dancer who has seen the culture grow in Europe: “Europe is crazy about Bachata. They feel its very romantic and you know, about love. They relate to Bachata. So it’s huge in Europe, huge. I think the next step is to appreciate the music more, to learn the music, to learn about the history, about the instruments … Why people use some hits in the music. I think that’s the next step. Live music let’s get it “.
Bachata means “A moment of celebration” in music, dance and also its social resonance.
Rudy el Tiguere is the BachaTu organiser: “For us it is important we give something back to the Dominican Republic for giving us this wonderful music. So we raise funds for various children’s organisations. We look at all aspects of the child, medicine and education, also housing and then music and playing instruments. So we reach the soul and the body of the children.”
Bachata came into being in May, 1962, sang by José Manuel Calderon accompanied by ‘The Juvenile’ trio. The songs ‘Borracho de Amor’ and ‘Condena’ were recorded in the studios of Radio Dominican Television. Despite a long road the dance is now as celebrated as its famous cousin, the Salsa.
Our correspondent and Bachata lover is Raphaële Tavernier said of the event: “Forbidden under the dictatorship, bachata is now one of the symbols of the Dominican Republic and enjoys international recognition and the May 30 has been declared official Bachata Day by the municipality.