Deemed as the Cuban 'dance of love' and was once acknowledged as the "most popular lyric tradition of Latin America", the bolero keeps its reputation as the classic love dance of all times. It may not be as common as the waltz or cha-cha but it remains as a survivor, loved by dancers around the world.
The credit of creating the bolero goes to a Spanish dancer named Sebastiano Carezo in 1780. It was a result of the fusion of the Contradanza and the Sevillana. The Contradanza was a form of dance that originated in Europe in the 18th century and was later brought to Cuba. The Sevillana was a flamenco-style dance that began as a folk dance. It was a modification of the Fandango, danced in 3/4 time. The Cuban bolero on the other hand started in Santiago de Cuba in the mid-19th century. It traveled to Mexico and other parts of Latin America. It was introduced to the US in the 1930s.
They say that the bolero is a close cousin of the ballroom dance, rumba. They share the same footwork and figures. The basic step of this romantic dance is a long step to the side in a sweeping manner danced on the slow beat. On the quick-quick beats, a rock step forward or backward follows. The bolero includes rise and fall actions which makes it different from the rumba. There is also an extension and lift of the body performed during the slow step. Like rumba, it consists of such as open breaks, underarm turns, cross over breaks, and cross body leads. This dance appears to be light but actually, it is strenuous.
TYPE OF MUSIC
Whether danced with a partner or simply solo, the bolero can be accompanied by music that is played with instruments like guitars and castanets. Its music has a gentle Cuban rhythm, derived from son which is a fusion of Spanish guitar with rhythms and percussion instruments of Africa. It is often danced in 4/4 time with tempo of only 20 to 25 measures or 96 to 104 beats per minute. Typical bolero songs include "Beautiful Maria of my Soul" by the Mambo All Stars, "Mas Alla" by Gloria Estefan and Abriendo Puertas and "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion.
A dance that is beautiful and slow, expressive and elegant…bolero truly is a dance of love. Whether you are single or married, this dance is worth learning and dancing. If you're married, then learn this beautiful dance and let romance bloom between you and your partner. If you are single, you never know what awaits you. With this dance, love is always in the air.
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