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Let's Bolero

If ever you see a more defined, sensuous dance that is so elegantly performed than Bolero, be sure to let me know. From the Spanish tradition of toreadors in a bullfight encompassing movements of the bull or the matador's cape, this romantic dance captivates audiences worldwide. Bolero is also a dance telling a story of love and passion.

Bolero originated in 18th century Spain. It is significantly danced to slow tempos, alone or with a partner, guitar, castanets and tambourines are frequently used. It is also a well-known dance in Cuba with slight deviations from the Spanish version. The Cuban version is slightly more lively in tempo and is accompanied by claves (a pair of hardwood sticks that make a hollow sound when struck together) and conga drums.

By the time Bolero reached the United States, in the form of ballroom dance, combinations of European Waltz and Foxtrot were combined with Rumba. But make no mistake, Bolero is often compared to Rumba, but it surely is not. The slow steps and stylized movements make it one of the most difficult dances to learn and perform.

Unlike the Rumba, Bolero requires the "rise and fall" effect to be in the body, not in the feet. It may look easy but it is actually physically demanding both in form and movement. This aspect of Bolero makes it less popular in social dancing. That is why you will see people dancing the Rumba, Salsa and Argentine tango instead.

To touch on just a few significant points, if you can master the bullfight stance and the dramatic tension with athletic grace, you are half-way there. After you learn how to maneuver the correct way to hold your body and the curvy movements and hand stylings that go with it; there's one other big thing, that is an absolute must. Bolero dancing requires the dancer's weight to be on the toes.

Just think, if you and your partner are willing to learn Bolero, how much more people will marvel at your dancing abilities. You can easily command respect by possibly earning valuable dance scores, prizes, and maybe becoming an all out dance standout. If ever there was a dance to shine with - Bolero would be it!

***We have received contributions from individuals who would like to have a dear relative or friend who passed on remembered that loved to dance or was a dance aficionado. We call these memorial contributions. Perhaps you would like to have someone memorialized in this manner. Make a donation and give us their name. We have on our website a yellow brick road to engrave their name to a brick as a memorial to that person. This contribution will assist future generations of dancers and help keep young people more positive and healthy.

Thought of the Week:

"I've always tried to go a step past wherever people expected me to end up." - Beverly Sills


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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

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