Origins of Bolero

An intense and sultry music that consists of pulsating drum beats, American style Bolero got its start in the United States in the 1930s. The most recognizable Bolero music was written by Joseph-Maurice Ravel, and is often heard during seductive movie scenes. Bolero style dances originated in Spain and Cuba. The Spanish version is a faster dance with partners dancing around each other rather than touching. The Cuban version is a slower adaptation of the Rumba with smooth, passionate movements. The dance is hypnotizing and dreamy as the slow build of the music carries the dancers away into fantasy.

How to Bolero

Today, Bolero is categorized as a rhythm dance, along with Rumba, Mambo, Cha Cha, and East Coast Swing. It is the slowest of the rhythm dances with 96-104 beats per minute. Like other Cuban style dances, it is performed in three steps to four beats. The first slow step slides the foot slowly to one side, followed by two quick steps back and forward. The Bolero is unique to rhythm dances because it is a hybrid, of sorts.  Utilizing the feeling of Rumba, the movement of Waltz, and the shaping of Tango - this dance joins the Ballroom and Latin worlds together. While the slow, quick, quick meter is simple enough, it is the slow, evocative movements of the body as it rises, falls, stretches and sweeps across the dance floor that punctuates the Bolero style.

Learn to Bolero

While Rumba is a more practical option for slow dancing, Bolero is a more advanced option for an accomplished dancer. This dance teaches great balance, control, and expressive movement and styling which can be applied to other dances across all styles. It is a romantic, passionate dance that is fun to do with a partner and impressive to watch unfold on the dance floor.

Whether you want to learn how to dance the Bolero socially or competitively, Arthur Murray offers lessons for dancers of all skill levels.

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