Dance Tidbits – Bolero

There is probably no other dance as closely associated with its music as Bolero. Bolero is both music and the name of the competitive dance in American Rhythm ballroom dance category.

In the late 18th century in Spain there was a style of music that developed known as Bolero. The music had vocals and was accompanied by castanets and guitars. The lyrics to the songs were precisely written with five to seven syllable words in each of four lines per verse. From this style of music a dance was developed also called Bolero. At first it started out as a solo dance but it quickly became popular as a couples dance.

Bolero is a slow-tempo dance in 6/4, originating in Spain. It is done in triplet time and usually has a triplet on the second beat of each bar. It has been said that Bolero is Spain’s national dance.

In the 19th century also claiming Bolero as their own dance was Cuba. The Bolero was the first Cuban musical, meaning the marriage of music and vocals (singing) together. The Cubans claim no ties to the Spanish music, songs and dance versions of their Bolero. The Cuban version of Bolero is done in 2/4 time.

As you will most likely learn the Bolero in competitive dance, the music is in 4/4 time. Bolero is a little different from other American Rhythm dances because of the Cuban motion – rise and fall. Bolero has body rise only, no foot rise. It is now danced as a very slow type of Rumba. Yet, it has a different feel.

Bolero has been called the Cuban “Dance of Love” because of the tempo and pretty melodies of the music. It is a slow dance done gracefully with skillful power. The true beauty of this dance is how well you “own” the feeling of romance you express with your body language and the exquisite dance technique that clearly defines the Bolero and you!

Happy dancing.

Thought of the Week: “Great Expectations: Expect only the best dancing, visualize it, and prepare to do it.” Marilyn Fordney, Director/Founder, Fordney Foundation.



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website