Breaking it down: Bachata and Merengue at PUCMM

Authored By:

Ryan Bosson

All dances are not the same 

One may be a great dancer in one genre, yet struggle to learn another. In our group, students self-identified across the range of abilities, from "Beyoncé ain't got nothing on me" to, "please don't make me dance." Despite the range of abilities, everybody soon realized they had something to learn. When Americans attempt to dance merengue, bachata and salsa, we tend to make three grave mistakes; we look at our feet, we move our shoulders, and we bounce around like we're dancing on a pogo-stick. So, our first task was to dance the basic steps while concentrating all our movement into our hips. Shakira! Shakira! 


By the end of the lesson, students flowed in sync to the rhythm of bachata and merengue music, spinning each other around pasito a pastio, suave suavecito (If you're not familiar with the lyrics of Despacito at this point, I'm afraid I cannot help you)

The lessons in bachata and merengue ended, but the class could not end without a true intercultural exchange. The students became the teacher, and the teacher became the student. 

Sometimes in the States you jump, hop and bounce


And in the States, you often have to move it all

Watch as the dance teacher struggles to move more than just his hips. 


In short, we learned two new dances from a skilled instructor. We learned the steps, and we learned how to move. Furthermore, the instructor modeled humility as he showed us that he too could learn from us.