In June 2011, I came to a decision to become the first serious Bachatero (Male Bachata Dancer) in Cape Town, South Africa.
What is Bachata? Like Salsa, Bachata is a both a Latin style of music and dance. It originated in the Dominican Republic and the music tells romantic stories, usually of longing, heartbreak and sadness.
There is without a doubt 1 couple that is synonymous with Bachata. They are Island Touch’s very own – Jorge ‘Ataca’ Burgos & Tanja ‘La Alemana’ Kensinger. They performed what is now the most famous bachata performance to Xtreme’s – Te extraño that has gotten over 30 million hits on You-Tube. (You too can join the fan-club and check out their unbelievable routine by clicking the link above. )
I recently had the pleasure of hanging out with this Awesome couple on a Salsa cruise in the medditaranean and dancing with Tanja (who has been a salsa dance crush of mine ever since I started dancing Salsa.)
While on the same cruise, I also saw a Bachata Performance in the Up & Coming Stars section by Kathy and Angelo. (Click the link to see their amazing performance). This just fueled my inspiration to become even more serious with my Bachata.
Now once I was back in Cape Town, life happened and I lost some steam on my goal of becoming a real Bachatero, that was until recently when I saw the latest perfromance by Kathy and Angelo. Upon watching it a 2nd time, my inspiration was renewed. When I am inspired, I tend to write and while writing I decided to pick the brain of this lovely Bachatera and see how she became such a wonderful dancer and performer.
So here it is……… My Interview with a Canadian Bachatera (Kathy Dondish):
When & How did you first fall in love with Bachata?
When I heard a Bachata song for the first time while on vacation in the Dominican Republic and learned the basic Bachata step. I knew I wanted to learn more.
What came first – Bachata or Salsa?
They both came at the same time with regards to social dancing. However, I started Salsa training first.
Do you consider yourself first – a Bachatera or Salsera?
I would say both!
What do you love about Bachata?
Its sensuality and the passion that you and your partner can put into it. I can dance salsa with a lot of partners, but Bachata takes that special person to have a connection with.
Who are your Favorite dancers? Who inspires you?
Jorge and Tanja are my main idols when it comes to Bachata, they were pretty much Angelo and my inspiration to create routines, perform and compete. I also love Darlin Garcia for his Dominican Style, and Jorget has some crazy footwork!
How often do you train and how often do you dance socially?
Train about 3 times a week and I dance socially at least once or twice a week.
Is this a full time job? What do you do besides Salsa?
I work full time in the IT industry. When you have a hobby such as dancing, it is that much more painful to get your behind to work every day.
Have you ever competed in any competitions? What was your best experience?
We have competed in the Toronto Bachata festival competition, where unfortunately we got disqualified. Then we competed in the Niagara Falls Congress Bachata competition where we have placed 1st.
What do you enjoy most about performing and what do you think it takes to make a good performance?
I think in order to have a good performance one needs to keep the crowd interested. Attracting the audience is key. Performing is a whole different world. It’s exciting and sometimes nerve wrecking all at the same time. The variety of beautiful costumes, the music, and the innovative routines is what makes it great.
What is your most embarrassing Bachata moment?
I am happy to say I don’t have one…. yet…. 😉
What is your most memorable Bachata moment?
Getting to know and hanging out with Tanja and Jorge is definitely a great bachata moment. Winning a competition and getting so much great feedback even when we were disqualified the first time was an amazing feeling and something we were very proud of.
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated an inspired?
Great inspirational artists, great music, and supportive friends around us!
Do you have any words of advice to all the readers reading this right now?
Follow your dreams. Whether it’s the love for Bachata, dance in general, or any other hobby that you may have. It’s what keeps us sane after a long day of work, and what keeps us inspired for greater things in life.