Tara Walker does the Bachata with Sandro Virag. CINDA SEAMON

The Bachata is a style of dance that originated in the Dominican Republic. It was so widespread that it changed based on where it was being danced.

For the most part it is a three-step dance with a Cuban hip motion. When dancing it as partners, the lead can decide if the dance is done open (apart from each other) or in a semi-closed position. The dance and the chemistry of the dance depends heavily on the music.

The Bachata music is straightforward but the words are about bitterness – like the men leaving the women in pain and heartbreak, about someone cheating, or someone losing someone. It’s always very sad, so the dance reflects how the performers let out the steam and cope with the situation.

I was introduced to Bachata for the first time in Puerto Rico. I had not seen it before and was surprised how intimate and romantic it was. I loved the music right away because it seemed danceable and easy to pick up.

I wanted to get more familiar with this dance style so I traveled to Miami and saw what the locals were doing with Bachata in the clubs. It turns out that the Bachata was fairly intricate, which sparked my interest even more to learn more combinations. People can also learn a complicated version or a simple version which makes the dance more versatile.

Bachata, like Salsa, is a social dance. Teaching it is fairly effortless because the rhythm and the basic elements are so simple. Because it is fairly easy to learn, Bachata is now becoming as popular as Salsa, if not moreso. More steps are being developed, there are more variations and combinations, and more Bachata music is being produced. This dance is very interactive.

The modern Bachata is also infused with other dance styles to create Salsa/Bachata and Tango/Bachata, and it is being danced around the world and implanted with many other styles.

Bachata is also now part of the competitive ballroom dance world and more people are taking it to a higher level.

Although traditional Bachata is unique in itself, it will be interesting to see where the world takes the Bachata in the future.

Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom. hiltonheadballroom.com