Bachata is a style of social dance from the Dominican Republic which is now danced all over the world. It is associated with bachata music. In partnering, the lead can decide whether to perform in open, semi-closed or closed position. Dance moves or step variety strongly depend on the music (such as the rhythms played by the different instruments), setting, mood, and interpretation. Unlike salsa, bachata dance does not usually include many turn patterns.
Salsa is a popular form of social dance that originated in the Caribbean. The movements of salsa have origins in Puerto Rican bomba and plena, Cuban Son, cha-cha-cha, mambo and other dance forms. The dance, along with the salsa music, originated in the mid-1970s in New York. Different regions of Latin America and the United States have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Cali Colombia, L.A. and New York styles. Salsa dance socials are commonly held in night clubs, bars, ballrooms, restaurants, and outside, especially if part of an outdoor festival.
Merengue is a style of Dominican music and dance. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The leader holds the follower's waist with the leader's right hand, while holding the follower's right hand with the leader's left hand at the follower's eye level. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can switch to an open position and do separate turns without letting go each other's hands or releasing one hand. But other choreographies are possible. Although the tempo of the music may be frenetic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn.