Dancing in the DR
Man, do they dance in the DR; men, women and children, at the drop of a hat. At the airport, when we arrived on the first-ever JetBlue flight from JFK airport to the Samana region of the Dominican Republic on November 14, we were greeted with festive live music and a group of costumed dancers welcoming us to their country in the happiest way a Dominican can greet: by moving the hips, stepping the steps, swaying with the lively merengue music, and celebrating our arrival in the most festive way they know.
View slideshow: Dancing in the Dominican Republic
Around any swimming pool in the DR, if the music starts, the dancing begins, impromptu. The hips start to swivel and you can’t just stand and watch as the music and the tempo and the heat and the mood is a dancing one. In the pool. We danced in the swimming pool at our beautiful hotel, Puerto Bahia, and in our room, which had an enormous patio overlooking the marina, which is basically the front yard of the hotel.
But when the dancing got serious, on a visit to another luxury hotel in this unspoiled Samana region of the DR, the Balcones del Atlantico, we realized that sensual, romantic dancing is in the Dominican blood. They must be born with it, because the men and women both move with such a sinuous, natural grace that it cannot be just from dance lessons alone. Dominican men, we were told, learn from their mothers when they’re the littlest toddler boys, that in order to catch a woman, they must learn to dance. It doesn’t seem to take them long to learn the moves; as American women, we got in line to have a chance to dance with a Dominican man if only for a moment.
This is not your American prep school foxtrot. Merengue is the most popular dance in the DR, but Dominicans have their own version of it, called the “Bachata.” The Bachata is basically a sexier merengue, with everything above the waist still and everything below in constant motion. The hip movement is vital and involves what is commonly known as Cuban rhythm. This movement is very important because it is part of the soul of the bachata, which in some parts is termed a mating call; whoever chooses a woman to dance the bachata with him is supposed to be asking her to be his mate. The body movement is a sort of gelatinous viscosity, somewhat like that in a lava lamp.
After a dinner of three kinds of dorado fish and a special coconut dessert at the Balcones del Atlantico, a luxury hotel and residence at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in the Las Terrenas resort region of Samana, we joined the Thursday night dance party in which the hotel brings professional dance instructors to their little stage to demonstrate the bachata and then dance it with anyone and everyone. Old and young, athletic and infirm, we all danced the night away and had to be dragged reluctantly from the hotel close too midnight, in order to keep up our touring of the region early the next morning. Every one of the American women tourists got a chance to dance with the Dominican instructor, and while no words were spoken, because most of us are not fluent in Spanish nor they in English, we communicated easily by dance.
Before this trip we thought of the Dominican Republic as the perfect place for golf. That it is, but in the Samana region, which has only one planned 9-hole course coming in the next year or so, you can swim, snorkel, sail, dive, horseback ride to waterfalls, go caving, but especially, dance your heart out.
Source: Caribbean Travel
Category: DR Living |