Distinguishing the Difference Between Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha
June 24, 2020

If you find that you now have more time than you know what to do with, you’re not alone. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, many have found themselves hunkered down at home in an effort to help flatten the curve. Some have made productive use of their time by taking up online classes, working on their fitness, or picking up a new hobby.

If you’re lost as to how you’re gonna cope with spending more time at home in the foreseeable future, how about channeling your energy to learning how to dance instead? Latin dances, in particular.

Why Latin dance?

Latin dances are famous all around the world because of the passion and energy they evoke. Trying it out can make you feel rejuvenated. Even if you don’t necessarily like dancing altogether, you may grow to appreciate it because Latin dancing is nothing short of fun and invigorating. They’re beginner-friendly, too. No matter your previous experience with dancing is, there’s a Latin dance that you’ll enjoy.

Latin dances worth trying

When it comes to Latin dances, the most popular types are salsa, bachata, and cha-cha. But given that they’re similar in nature, they’re not one and the same. Here are the key differences between each one and why they’re worth learning:


The origins of salsa dancing are nebulous, but the salsa known today was developed in New York in the 1970s. From there, it got split into two types, the first one involving a crisp, flashy dance that has the beginning beat determine the style, while the other begins on the beat and involves more fluid movements. If you’re the lead, you would need to know both styles or inform your partner which style you’ll dance. If you’re following, you will have to count to the music and go when your partner implies you to go.


Hailing from the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic, Bachata is a slow, romantic dance. It’s sensual in nature, but the music is fast and festive. The steps involved go side-together-side and then have a pause. While on a quick break, the dancers tap or raise one hip. Because of this, people associate the bachata as a dance that has lots of hip motion.

Cha Cha

The proper name for this dance is actually the cha-cha-cha, and it’s because it’s named after the sound of the feet the dancers make when they sashay across the floor. When it comes to the steps, the numbers symbolize the rock step and the cha’s stand for the chasse. Usually, people count the dance as either 1-2-3-cha-cha, 1-2-3-4-and, or 2-3-cha-cha-cha. There’s really no correct way of doing it, as long as your feet do the right thing at the right time.

Try Latin dancing

Now that you know the main differences between the dances, the next step is to decide which one to try. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always try all of them to figure out which one you enjoy best.

It’s not feasible to attend classes at this time at our dance boulevard studio in Toronto, but you can learn the basics of Latin dance on the Latin Revolution Dance Academy YouTube channel.

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