It is often said one of the best thing about learning to play music is being able to play songs composed by other musicians. The appreciation of a fellow musician’s work, in many aural communities, is one of the the highest points of artistic appreciation—that is why so many musicians cover each other. Call it a hat tip from one good musician or singer to another.
The same principle holds true for dancers: one of the most pleasurable aspects about learning a dance is figuring out another or extending the range of one dancing discipline to styles of music outside of the traditional domain. An important milestone in any dancer’s journey occurs when a keen ear picks up familiar rhythms in an unlikely song, interprets the melody, and applies the song to dancing steps that have already been mastered. A whole catalogue of music and infinite dancing possibilities opens up immediately.
Various music genres speak to each other—sometimes in obvious ways, and sometimes more subtly. Son, cumbia, salsa, dance hall, and reggaeton can, for example, hold a conversation in the same room. They can understand each other because of the common rhythm patterns which form their DNA. They might be different dialects, but the same footwork (modified slightly to accommodate a song’s cadence), can be used as a go-between them.
This process of aural interpretation does not take long. After mastering the fundamental bachata steps a particular kind of curiosity is engendered: what else can one dance bachata to?
Surely the one-two-three-tap exists in other genres of music, right?
Any beginner-level bachata dancer can listen to and interpret other song structures which inform the foundational rhythm—one, two, three, tap, five, six, seven, tap—allowing them to find a home and harmony in numerous other genres: R&B and soul, funk and disco, rap and hip-hop, pop, rock, and country. The ability for this dance to be so versatile ensures no dance floor is ever foreign for too long.
Bachata rhythms hide in the strangest songs and finding them is half the fun of mastering this simultaneously intimate and experimental dancing style.
At The Salsa Club this a well-known truth: good music, regardless of when it was made, or who sang it, never ages. Gold never turns to rust—old is forever golden. In this playlist which turns back the frequency to decades gone by the likes of ABBA, Cher, Roy Orbison, Prince, and Bob Seger present the enterprising bachata dancer with new melodies to move to and dance horizons to explore.
In Dreams — Roy Orbison
Achy Breaky Heart — Billy Ray Cyrus
Souper Trouper — ABBA
The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss) — Cher
Old Time Rock & Roll — Bob Seger
Too Late To Turn Back Now — Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
Raspberry Beret — Prince
Bonus track: Thriller — Michael Jackson