Biggest Challenges Learning to Dance Bachata (Survey Analysis)

We’re always doing research to continuously improve our online Bachata Course and Salsa Course and this post summarizes the results of our survey: Biggest Challenges in Learning Bachata.

The goal was to identify where most students struggle and then develop online lessons to help students overcome those challenges.

Method

We emailed our list and posted on social channels to get as much participation as possible. Participation was voluntary and sample was not random.

We used a few simple quantifiable questions to identify the participants and the rest of the questions were open responses.

I did my best to summarize the open ended responses in an organized and meaningful way while maintaining, as best as possible, the original spirit of the response.

Key Questions Asked

Why did you start dancing bachata?

What was your biggest challenge when you started learning bachata?

What is your biggest challenge now? (To see if it changes)

Do you have a goal for your bachata dancing?

How do you want to feel when you dance bachata?

 

Survey Responses: Biggest Challenges Learning Bachata

We had 130 total responses.

What best describes you?

  • 86% Student
  • 14% Teacher

Which role do you take most often?

  • 67% Lead
  • 26% Follow
  • 8% I do both almost equally

What skill level is your bachata at?

  • 46% Beginner
  • 47% Intermediate
  • 8% Advanced

What style of bachata do you like most (you can select more than 1)

  • 57% Traditional/Dominican
  • 50% Modern
  • 49% Sensual

How do you typically practice?

  • 41% Solo
  • 30% Solo & with a partner
  • 16% With a partner
  • 12% Only in class

 

Open Answers

The open answers answers don’t add to 100% because most people responded with multiple answers, and long-tail uncommon answers were left out. The goal was to identify big trends.

 

Why did you start dancing bachata?

 

Leads said… (77 responses)

  • 28% It’s played/danced at socials – i.e. it’s practical to learn because it’s popular and I can dance more if I know it
  • 20% For fun/enjoyment/love of dancing
  • 20% Like the music, vibe, rhythm, atmosphere – i.e. there’s just something about it that attracted me
  • 15% Started with salsa, got exposed to bachata and wanted to try it – similar to the “It’s played/danced at socials” option above but the emphasis is on “I started with salsa…”
  • 5% Partner connection
  • 5% Wanted to learn a new dance
  • 4% Build confidence
  • 4% Meet women
  • 4% Socialize
  • 4% Slower/easier than salsa

 

Follows said… (31 responses)

  • 32% Like the music, vibe, rhythm, atmosphere – i.e. there’s just something about it that attracted me
  • 24% For fun/enjoyment/love of dancing
  • 8% It’s played/danced at socials – i.e. it’s practical to learn it becuse it’s popular and I can dance more
  • 8% It’s a simple dance
  • 5% Partner connection
  • 5% Socializing
  • 3% Started with salsa, got exposed to bachata and wanted to try it – similar to the “It’s played/danced at socials” option above but the emphasis is on “I started with salsa…”
  • 3% Build confidence
  • 3% It’s sexy
  • 3% Cultural connection through friends/family

 

What was your biggest challenge when you started learning bachata?

 

Leads said… (74 responses)

  • 16% Finding the beat and dancing on time
  • 12% Remembering moves
  • 9% Having a variety of moves to keep things interesting and not bore the follows
  • 9% Body movement and isolations
  • 7% Lead technique
  • 6% Partner connection / discomfort with proximity
  • 6% Musicality
  • 5% Learning new steps
  • 5% No partner or local dance scene
  • 2% Lack of progressions / unsure of path to improve
  • 2% Rejection
  • 2% Shy/insecure
  • 2% Coordination of hands/feet
  • 2% Finding time to practice
  • 2% Combining moves
  • 2% Understanding/using various styles

 

Follows said… (32 responses)

  • 18% Body movement and isolations
  • 16% Finding a partner
  • 13% Learning steps
  • 8% Turns and spins
  • 8% Partner connection / discomfort with proximity
  • 5% Finding the beat and dancing on time
  • 5% Musicality
  • 3% Follow technique
  • 3% Letting go and following
  • 3% Coordination
  • 3% Finding time to practice
  • 3% Understanding/using various styles

 

What is your biggest challenge right now?

 

Leads said… (74 responses)

  • 12% Remembering moves
  • 12% Body movement and isolations
  • 11% Musicality
  • 11% Finding time to practice
  • 9% Finding the beat and dancing on time
  • 8% Learning new steps
  • 8% No partner or local dance scene
  • 6% Learning sensual moves
  • 5% Having a variety of moves to keep things interesting and not bore the follows
  • 5% Lack of progressions and clear path to improve
  • 2% Combining moves
  • 2% Understanding/using various styles

 

Follows said… (32 responses)

  • 21% Body movement and isolations
  • 18% Finding a partner
  • 9% Follow technique
  • 6% Turns and spins
  • 6% Finding the beat and dancing on time
  • 6% Musicality
  • 6% Lack of progressions and clear path to improve
  • 3% Learning steps
  • 3% Partner connection / discomfort with proximity
  • 3% Coordination
  • 3% Finding time to practice

 

Do you have a goal for your bachata dancing?

 

Leads said… (79 responses)

  • 30% General Improvement
  • 21% Have fun
  • 10% Be a great social dancer
  • 8% Improve in a specific area (desired areas of improvement varied widely)
  • 5% Feel more confident
  • 3% Go professional
  • 3% Do a show or competition

 

Follows said… (29 responses)

  • 19% General Improvement
  • 15% Have fun
  • 12% Improve in a specific area (desired areas of improvement varied widely)
  • 8% Be a great social dancer
  • 8% Feel more confident
  • 4% Get recognition/compliments/be popular

 

How do you want to feel when you dance bachata?

 

Leads said… (79 responses)

  • 15% Great / amazing / having fun
  • 15% Connected
  • 11% Comfortable or confident
  • 10% Happy
  • 9% With the music
  • 9% Relaxed
  • 5% Free
  • 3% Smooth

 

Follows said… (29 responses)

  • 21% Comfortable or confident
  • 12% Sexy or sensual
  • 9% With the music
  • 9% Relaxed
  • 6% Great / amazing / having fun
  • 6% Happy
  • 6% Free
  • 6% Connected

 

Summary of Open Answers

 

Why did you start dancing bachata?

Leads’ top response was more practical, “I learned it because it’s popular and played at socials.”

Follows’ top response was more emotionally driven: “I like the music, vibe, rhythm, atmosphere – there’s just something about it.”

 

What was your biggest challenge when you started learning bachata?

Leads’ biggest challenge is around finding the beat, remembering moves, and having enough moves not to bore their partners.

On the other hand, follows are more challenged by body movement, isolations and finding a partner to dance with.

 

What is your biggest challenge now? (To see if it changes)

Leads’ biggest challenges in bachata tend to shift from finding the beat and remembering moves toward body movement, isolations and learning to be more musical.

Follows’ biggest challenges in bachata tended to remain more constant, with Body movement/isolations and finding a partner remaining as the top 2 responses. The only new mention was for “follow technique” instead of “learning steps.”

 

Do you have a goal for your bachata dancing?

General improvement and having fun were the top 2 answers for both leads and follows, followed by a desire to

  • “Improve in a [specific area]”
  • “Be a great social dancer”
  • “Feel more confident”

 

How do you want to feel when you dance bachata?

Leads top answers were about feeling “great, amazing, having fun” and “connected.”

On the other hand follows favored feeling “comfortable or confident” followed by “sexy or sensual” as their top responses.

An interesting difference in the responses based on the role being played.

 

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