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Q&O: Questions & Opinions Section

Instead of me claiming to have the one and only answer to everything,

I would like to introduce a Questions & Opinions section

where I list questions which I asked myself when looking at Bachata dance crowds.

I will comment with my own opinion but encourage everyone to

make up their own mind about how they would answer those questions for themselves.

Is there something like "right" or "wrong" dancing?

Very plainly spoken, dancing is an art. The rules of art are defined by the artists themselves,

so one might say there is no possibility that you can dance to a song in a "wrong" way.

In my definition, you can guess that musicality is what I would call "right" dancing.

There are plenty forms of solutions (=interpretations) for a song

but there are quite natural rules which can be applied.

The physical expression should represent - and in best case visualize - the song's intention. I would rather say

any dance who does not connect to the music is not "wrong"

(because it still respects the rhythm of the song, the very foundation)

but the dance is rather "irrelevant"

because it also applies to any other song with the same rhythm and BPM.

What are the expectations of two dancers meeting on a dance floor?

As explained on the homepage, the intentions of people dancing with each other are manifold.

So, dancing is in most cases a compromise between two people.

A physical compromise because of statures and preference regarding body contact,

a technical compromise due to the physical and emotional dance levels

a social/emotional compromise because of the depth of people

connecting with each other and with the music,

and an intentional compromise: what is it that both dance partners would like to gain by couple dancing.


As a musical dancer, the prerequisite for these compromises is the music itself.

However, for me, the best dances are not the most musical ones per definition

but those where dance partners try to find a common ground where both are content with.

Some followers just want to perform and look good on the dancefloor, overstressing every move.

Some followers do not have any connection to music nor to some movements

and there is no point in trying to force it.

Some followers are used to follow exclusively and expect precise execution of leading.

These are typically the times where I welcome the Bachata/Latin culture

where you typically dance only one song with a dance partner in a row.

Personally, I always welcome the surprised face when followers do not expect anything of me and realize what is going to come in the first few seconds.

What is your motivation to dance Bachata, especially in a couple?

Do you like the thrill of everybody dancing completely differently?

Do you like the common musical experience?

What is the purpose of a leader?

A leader in industry typically does manage many employees with different characters and needs to understand their strengths and weaknesses. This is exactly what a leader in social dancing is doing as well, making the best out of the situation (with every single follower), showing (ideally) clear directions (which, sometimes, includes showing no direction = giving freedom on purpose) and feeling responsible for the dance.

Personally, I would formulate as follows from best to worst option with a follower:

I want to dance love, hate and everything in between

- with mind, heart, eyes, face, body and soul.

If I can't dance love to hate,

I will dance sensuality - with body and feet.

If I can't dance sensuality,

I will dance random figures and try to adapt to music as well as possible.

If I can't dance random figures,

I dance in my head

If I can't dance in my head,

I'm dead.

How much leading does a dance need?

What is the "ideal leading percentage" for Bachata?

The Bachata dance (especially Bachata Sensual) as a basic concept does have an "old school role model":

the man is leading 100 % and the woman is following.

In my opinion, it is relatively boring to lead a full song all on my own,

leaving a follower only a space to "fill the gaps" with styling.

On the other hand, I am not a fan of followers taking/hijacking the lead

BUT I welcome indications during a dance what followers would like to feel in a move.

Obviously everybody is different and therefore people like different moves, moods and interpretations.


Even though it might be bold to answer this question in a generalized way, I'll give it a try:

I feel like a leading percentage of 90%/10% to 80%/20% is ideal.

Typically I experience dances of a ratio of >95%/<5%.

For me this would mean in an ideal case that 10 - 20% of the song,

there is time for freestyle or even for leading of the follower, depending on the details of the song.

After all, a conversation is much more interesting than a monologue

(even though a "fair" 50/50 leading following split, to me, feels too uncontrolled for the dance itself).

After all, the modern idea is that men can also follow and women lead arbitratily.

The "best of the best" might switch just randomly between a song just like in West Coast Swing.

I especially experience this more often with two female dance partners who both can follow and lead.


What is the purpose of a follower?

A follower typically executes the input of a leader

and reflects back the music onto the leader and to the environment.

There are followers who refuse execution either by their mood or by a lack of commitment (be it on purpose or not).

In consequence the dance will be bad no matter how well the leading will be.

There my message would be to followers:

Give every dance the chance to be the best dance which you will experience.

This is only possible if the follower willingly -not only accepts a dance invitation due to politeness-

but contributes to it.

As stated, in my opinion, a follower should also be able to lead in certain situations

to either complement the leader (which might be the case more often)

or supplement in critical situations (e.g. through "passive leading").

When would you quit a dance during a song?

As mentioned above, two dancers want to have fun and want to gain something with a common dance.

If one party is not happy with what is happening,

the question is when to "endure"  up to the end of the song out of social etiquette

and when to stop immediately.

I myself would consider it very rude to quit a dance before a song ends and I try to avoid it as best as I can

but I see some boundaries which (even for a leader) would make me quit the dance, such as:

- very drunk persons who literally cannot dance anymore

- sexual harrassment (yes it also applies to men/leaders if only less frequent than women/followers)

- followers who actively refuse of being lead for a reason which they don't communicate

(Obviously I do not count in rude or dangerous leading here)

What is the (e.g. cultural) benefit of Bachata (music & dancing)

in non-latin countries of (central/northern/eastern) Europe?

...apart from being an entertainment business, of course.

Bachata is a very "traditional" dance in its core where men are leading and women are following,

even more so in the sensual style.

This clashes a bit with the modern idea of men and women (ideally) being equal in all aspects of life.

But as stated above, I don't think it would benefit the dance if all possible roles are split equally during a song.

And yes, it can also be very modern in the sense that it does not depend on a gender who leads and follows

although it is not indended as such, I would claim.


Bachata is a rather close dance - even though not as close as Kizomba.

For the "cold central - north" of Europe, Bachata is also called "sex on the dancefloor" quite frequently.

This is because people do not have any idea why people would rub their bodies at/on each other except for sex.

As I would claim, the further north west you go in Europe,

the more Bachater@s dress in a sexed-up way instead of a sensual/elegant way.

But not only dress like it, the feeling and expectations are different as well in that case.

As you probably anticipate,

my personal point and gain compared to other dances is

that Bachata might be the best version to dance musically in a couple

but to explain this to people in short seems just impossible.

The best -and maybe only- way to explain it is

to show it

(which I personally hate to do).


What is an easy or difficult dance classes (categories of course difficulties)?

Each dance class needs to think about how to describe the type and difficulty of their class.

Some just use consecutive numbers with increasing difficulty,

some use colors for different levels (easy/medium/hard/master),

and there is even a class called "all" / for everybody.

But after which criteria are those difficulties defined?

Is it about complex dance sequences (coordination & speed),

is it about physical fitness (tension & acrobatics),

is it about musical execution (creativity & perception)?

Since everybody got a different background with different skills,

everybody would rate some courses easier or more difficult than others for them individually

(compare dancers with sports or musical background).

I don't have a concrete idea how to classify dance course difficulties in a good way

but I think the current way is a bit arbitrary.

Is Bachata dancing for people of every age?

In my understanding, theoretically, Bachata is just another "musical dance", so,

I would say it does not depend on age when you can/should learn Bachata.

If you think about Dominican Bachata, it is a cultural dance where age does not matter at all - grandparents dance with their grandsons and -daugthers alike and I bet it is very welcomed to transfer the tradition.

When it comes to Bachata Sensual, I would claim that this dance is focussing on young adults in particular

- if not exclusively.

It is a very sensual as well as partly erotic dance,

so I would say it should not be aimed at underaged teens or kids.

Especially if you think about creating next-generation offspring,

typically the best people start at very young age to become very good.

I am not so sure if this is suitable for Bachata Sensual.

In practice, probably most people won't start that young anyway.

Even if you do not think about the Sensual moves but also about the sensual feeling during dancing,

I think it takes some degree of maturity to be able to feel it properly.

Otherwise they will be stuck at a level of physical execution.


How would you teach your personal musicality style?

Just a question to keep you thinking what makes your dance special.

How do your accents in dancing look like and why?

How would you transfer this "intuitive knowledge" to students?

Do you like errors in social dancing?

In theory, nobody likes errors. Doing something wrong is embarrassing and

everyone wants to be the big star with perfect moves.

In reality, I can barely remember when someone did NOT laugh when something went wrong.

I think people enjoy the surprise when the expected move did not happen.

It is kind of a live-learning process.

And sometimes even new variations and ideas come into existence, thus it can be a very creative event.

My message would be: do not care about errors, they are no bad thing. They are just like surprises.

Surprises spice up any dance - be it a planned surprise or an unplanned

(as long as they are not hurting anyone of course).

Is dancing fun with more alcohol/drugs?

As I do not take drugs nor drink alcohol in a "sufficient amount" to call myself being drunk,

I do not have a good comparison.

But I would claim that alcohol - up to a certain degree - can help with dancing

by relaxing, dancing smoother, being more active/sociable

while too much of it will for sure hinder dancing.

As for drugs, I believe it might change the experience of dancing heavily for the person who takes it

but I am not sure about the person who has to dance with the drugged person.

Personally, I think you can reach similar states of excitement without alcohol or drugs

by learning how to feel in a more intense way.

Learning to feel takes time whereas drinking or throwing in some pills and weed is easy and fast.

I think that the long-term consequences are vastly different

where the one is sustainably very positive and the other quite destructive from many perspectives.

Is dancing fun with teachers/artists?

For some it might be fun to test their skills with one of the most versatile and accurate dancers.

For me, it is rather scary and even boring sometimes when teachers anticipate any move

just because they know all those songs by heart and movements are also taught by them.

Many teachers/artists are also extremely bored by the many dances they have to "endure"

so that they do not show any joy anymore in a social dance with a "student" (or they start to sing and dance internally, just executing whatever move there might come).

Often they are paid for social dancing anyways.

Maybe some good dancers gather around the techers/artists

but they are so focused on dancing with their "star"

that they might forget the fun and purpose of social dancing.

Which is the festival with the "best" Bachata social dance(r)s?

I would really like to know and see what they are capable of in the current state.

As explained in "Ahí Ahí", I do still see much room for improvement.

Lastly: Do you have to fear the opinion of DJ Vamp?

Recently I have noticed that when I enter a dance class,

dance teachers start to talk about musicality immediately

just as they would fear bad reviews

with a freezing cold gaze entering the room as judgement day

up to the point when it feels like

"Please don't hurt me, I have kids to feed!"

Obviously this is a joke

but am I writing devastating criticism to damage people's business?

This is not for me to decide but for you.


I am speaking my mind and soul of what I experience

and share my experiences

because I want people to have the opportunity to think about it.


If someone wants to interpret it as personal attack and needs to fight back,

I cannot stop this someone from doing so.

If someone wants to learn how to do things better so that everyone can profit from it,

I cannot stop this someone from doing so.

Do you want to improve Bachata? If so, how?

I would like to see way more people dancing with the music.


It would be an interesting analysis to look at couples dancing with music

but reduce the sound volume to 0

and decide if they use musicality or not.

If there is no texture or dynamics in the dance,

I would guess that there is little probability of musicality.

But even if there is texture and dynamics,

it could still be not synchronized to music but arbitrarily.

Would be a nice game.


music repeats itself in a single song multiple times.

If you can sing along with a song,

you should be able to interpret it.

If you can listen to a part once and it repeats at some time in the song,

you should be able to interpret it - at least partially.

I ask myself if people don't know how to concentrate on music,

if they do not want to or

if they are distracted by the follower or by the physical movements which they have to perform,

if it is too complicated to apply musicality in "real time" / with little knowledge of the song

or if nobody ever showed them.

Which is the right "order" to teach musicality?

How many songs can on "learn intuitively"?

Why do people dance better (musically) when famous songs of Romeo Santos is playing?

Is this conditioning?

Questions pop up continuously.

What do you think about it?

Yours, DJ Vamp Bachata

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