One of the most captivating aspects of salsa and bachata dancing is the styling. Whether done in partnership or isolation—two graceful partners moving in intricate harmony or a solo dancer choreographing their movements on-the-fly—confident, elegant, or energetic styling is unforgettable. At dance studios around the world, a popular reason cited for taking up dancing in the first place is wanting to “move like that”—like someone they have seen in a performance, competition, film, or party. Styling, when done right, is a powerful drawcard for those starting their dancing journey and a constant source of self-discovery for those who are further along.
Like many other aspects of dancing, the fundamental aspects of styling can be taught. However, to properly unlock the magic of styling, an infusion of personality is essential. In the same way people with distinct aesthetic tastes might coordinate identical pairs of shoes with different shirts or trousers, styling is something a dancer tailors to themselves. Since each dancer is unique—each with their own physical figure, dancing character, and mood and temperament—this means no two dancers can have carbon-copy styles even if they share similar influences. Like clothing, styling is not about what one wears, but how one wears it—the individual’s simplicity, creativity, and swagger are more important.
Styling and fashion have one thing in common: you have to do them like you mean it.
Styling, in the global dancing community, has numerous definitions and attending philosophies. The one favoured by The Salsa Club is simple: the discovery of self through rhythm and movement—that with time, practice, and experimentation each dancer finds their own special way of integrating styling into their dancing.
Styling, though, by itself is not enough. Proper timing, the correct footwork technique, and fluidity of motion are primary aspects of dancing and should be mastered first. Once these cardinal basics have become intimately familiar, styling can then be incorporated and explored—this is when the art (the technicalities of styling) and the heart (the dancer’s unique personality) make their way into the dance. Styling merely enhances the existing dancing rudiments in the same way spices or condiments enhance the taste of a meal without changing the quality of the original ingredients.
Of the many styling options available to a dancer, bachata styling is popular and appealing because, firstly, one does not need a partner to do it and, secondly, when executed properly, it makes one a better partner to dance with. Practicing it easy too: dancing in front of a mirror allows the dancer to see how their physique responds to different motions while importing movements from other dance styles like hip-hop, salsa, or tango provides a dancer with endless avenues for experimentation.
Curating the likes of Natti Natasha, Prince Royce, Rusherking and Maria Becerra, CNCO, and Ozuna, this playlist features some modern tunes from the world of bachata that are perfectly suited for bachata stylists of all levels and experience.
Cuento Breve—Natti Natasha
Erés Tu—Prince Royce
Antes De Ti—Rusherking & Maria Becerra
Ibiza—Ozuna featuring Prince Royce
And for something a little different: bonus rhythms from Jehro, Cher, Marvin Gaye, Skee-Lo, and Shekhinah for the curious dancers who would like to see how changing rhythms and melodies affects the way in which a dances can be styled.
The Shop Shop Song (It’s In His Kiss)—Cher
I Heard It Through The Grapevine—Marvin Gaye