My Top 5 Influential People in Bachata

So why would I chose to write a piece all about bachata?

First of all this is coming from a true bachatera. I live and breath bachata and fell in love with this dance the first time I saw it. Since that first encounter I have really immersed myself with the dance, including the history and roots of the true traditional bachata. Bachata is a feeling and a way of life. It is a true expression of one’s self to the world. With that said and with bachata blowing up all over the world, I decided that it is about time to recognize some people that made great contributions. No one seems to really give enough credit to the ones that really loved bachata first and contributed to the dance popularity. Some of the pioneers so to speak of the bachata world. Therefore, with all of my research and with many discussions with other bachateros I have come up with my top 5 influential people in the bachata dance world. Here they are:

1) Rodney “Rodchata” Aquino (promoter/ teacher) – Rodchata is Bachata!! Is there even a place in the world that doesn’t recognize Rodchata as the great contributor of bachata dance in the USA? I don’t think so!

He is by far the most influential bachata promoter out there with more than 6 world wide bachata festivals (SF, Reno, Hawaii, Lithuania, and so on…) and his world tours no one can argue that he is the man! I have personally been to some of his festivals and they are filled with all the best instructors as well as the best bachateros in the world!

2) Juan Ruiz (promoter/ teacher) – Juan would definitely come 2nd since he is the first person to actually start a bachata festival in the world along with Nestor Manuelian. He is also the person that helped popularized bachata moderna which has become one of the most recognized forms of bachata out there. He has traveled the world promoting and teaching bachata. Juan is also responsible for bring bachata to Australia as well as New Zealand where now both countries have some of the largest bachata communities in the world.

3) Vesa Parkkari “Bachata Ambassador” (promoter)- Vesa is the main promoter for bachata in Finland with two bachata festivals a year, one in the city of Tampere and one in Helsinki. He first started promoting bachata in the 90’s and was the first to put on a major bachata concert featuring Yoskar Sarante, a bachata legend. Vesa has traveled to the Dominican Republic many times and has been able to bring the true Dominican flavor back to Finland.

4) Gregory and Nanda (promoters/ teachers)- They are the organizers of the Bachatando Festival in Belgium and have traveled the world promoting and teaching bachata. They have also teamed up with Rodchata and Camille Yannantuono (creator of bachatango) to bring the world the Bachata X Crossovers that teach several different styles of bachata including Dominican, Bachatango, and Moderna to name a few.

5) Tony Lara and Dani De Francesco (promoters/ teachers)- Tony and Dani are some of the first people to teach and spread bachata throughout the UK. Although they don’t have a bachata festival yet they are the organizers of the Sexy and Sensual Latin Festival that includes bachata as one of the main dances at the festival and co-organizes bachata festivals in several cities in Europe. Tony and Dani travel all over the world teaching and promoting bachata and I was able to take and see these wonderful instructors in action. They are also some of the people that promote bachata tango.

Please keep in mind that these are just my top 5 for most influential people, meaning, my favorites, and I am aware of many others that have dedicated much of their energy and life to the growth of bachata. This list is just my “godfather” list of the first and true bachateros to spread and promote bachata world wide. With bachata growing and expanding all over the world I am sure we will see many more promoters and festivals popping up but for now these are the firsts, my number ones, the TOP FIVE!