Bachata is a style of social dance from the Dominican Republic which is now danced all over the world. It is associated with bachata music. In the West, various dancers are known to copy moves and turn patterns from various couple dances, performing these combinations in the timing used in bachata dancing, thus creating a fusion dance. The authentic dance from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean is a basic dance sequence in a full 8-count moving within a square. Dancers in the Western world much later made up a basic step going from side to side, and also copied dance elements from other couple dances of various origins, Latin and non Latin alike. The basic dance sequence consists of three steps and then a tap step or various forms of step syncopation (such as the "double step"). Dancers in the west accompany the tap with an exaggerated "pop” of the hips. Bachata can be danced on the 1st beat of the musical phrase, with the tap on the 4th beat, but dancing on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th beat is also common. The tap is done on the opposite foot of the last step, while the next step is taken on the same foot as the tap. The dance direction changes after the tap or fourth step.
The authentic bachata dance is the original way of dancing bachata, originating from the Dominican Republic where the music also was born. The original, slow style in the '60s was danced only closed, like the bolero, often in a close embrace. The bachata basic steps moving within a small square (side, side, forward and side, side, back) are inspired from the bolero steps but is an evolved version of those including a tap and also syncopation (steps in between the beats) depending on the dynamics of the music being played. The hand placement will vary with the dancers position which can be very close to semi close to open. The authentic dance is today danced in the Caribbean and all over the world, nowadays also faster in accordance to faster music, adding more footwork, simple turns and rhythmic free style moves and with alternate between close (romantic) and open position (more playful adding footwork, simple turns, rhythmic torso etc.). This dance is danced with soft hip movements and a tap or syncopation (1, 2, 3, tap/syncopation). It can be danced with or without bounce also (moving the body up on the beats and down again in between the beats by springs the legs a little). Authentic bachata was created by the Dominican social dancers over decades (from around the beginning of the 1960s) for social dancing and is still evolving to this day. Notice that what is called authentic/Dominican bachata in the West is just called bachata in the Dominican Republic and by most Dominican immigrants. Authentic bachata is the original dance and therefore by some also called the traditional dance. Because of this, the name "traditional bachata" for the first not very old Western fusion dance is wrong and misleading, but still commonly used in the west.
Bachata sensual is a style of bachata that has its origin from the south of Spain. Especially cities like Cadiz, Sevilla and Malaga has led the development. Many people recognize the couple Korke and Judith as the founder of bachata sensual. As with Dominican style you start on one and break on four and eight. In sensual style there is much more focus on body movements and body isolation. It is the men that lead most of the moves, but the girls have quite a lot of freedom to use sensual body movement, like body rolls to spice up her appearance. Sensual style has become very popular in Europe and is often taught at festival and congress.