Sonny Watson's Homepage
Ballrooms | Blog| Burlesque | Contests | Dances | Dancers | Dance History | Marathons | Movies | Music | Posters Store | Sheet Music | Troupes || Refresh Page
History Index HomePage
Music Lists: Contemporary WCS| Trad'l WCS| C/W Swing| Big Band| Disco| Gospel| Holiday| Hustle| Late Night| Latin| Latin WCS| Mash-Ups| NC2S| Techno
You Are here: Search Streetswing Site Site Search --->

noinfo Spanish Bolero Dance History Title
(This page mainly represents the original Spanish History version, not the modern Cuban Bolero history.)

    It is said that Sebastian Cerézo (a.k.a. Zerezo,) a ballet dancer of court in 1780, used the Spanish folk Boléro as a base for his French ballet. The Boléro is one of the oldest "school dances" known with the name supposedly coming from "Volar" (to fly) because the Manchenga expert had danced the Seguidilla's so wonderfully, he seemed to fly (voleras). The Boléro is performed to the guitar and castanets. There are many Boléro compositions written from the 18th. century to present time.

    The Spanish Boléro (Spain's National Dance) was one of love and romance. The Boléro would be accepted all over the world for its lovely rhythms. Mexico was a big producer of Boléro music as well. The Bolero was a dance far more noble, modest, and restrained as well as resembling but being shorter

than the Fandango (which the Boléro replaced in popularity), and is executed by two persons (originally a single female). The Boléro was danced by a lady and gentleman or by several couples if one so desired. It was also arranged as a Quadrille at times, and used in the Ballet as well as danced at the opening of a ball.

The Boléro is composed of five parts ... namely:

  1.  The paseo: or promenade (around the ballroom,) which was kind of introduction.
  2. The traversa (traversias): is a crossing, to alter the position of the places of the dancers, which is done both before and after the differencias, (a measure in which a change of steps takes place).
  3. The differencias: or changes of steps, the dancers balancing themselves, execute their steps in place.
  4. The finales: in which they go, they come and they pass by, which is succeeded by ...
  5. The bien parado: a graceful attitude, or grouping of the couple who are dancing, in which the gentleman and his lady assume graceful attitudes, and remain facing each other, holding their partner's hand and raising it. Then each one rests a hand upon the waist of the other, but this movement is followed by a profound salute from the gentleman a salut prosterné, and a deep courtesy from the lady.
  • The Original Spanish Boléro was performed to a seguidilla (dance air, in triple time or a national song, etc.), with a peculiar rhythm, in the manor method. The guitar, or the pizzicato, is the instrument demanded by this dance. It being set to the time of 3/4. The music is extremely varied, and full of cadences. The air or melody of this dance may be changed, but its peculiar rhythms must be preserved, together with its time and its flourishes, which latter are also called "false pauses." The steps of the Spanish Boléro are performed terre à terre; they are either sliding, beaten, or retreating, being always as it were, clearly struck out.

  • The Seguidilla's Boléras is a name which was given when the Boleros were "sung" and accompanied by a guitar. The great difficulty of this dance consists in resuming the part called the paseo, which is immediately after the first part of the tune in the prelude of the accompaniment, which precedes the estribillo. The estribillo is that part of the couplet, not indeed where the moral is found, but which contains the epigrammatic point or turn. The Boléras is different from the Boléro, although the time is taken from the latter. It was generally used in the theaters when it was wished to represent Andalusian's or gay and animated peoples. The Boléras is rather a "dance-song" however, rather than a dance. Some authorities assert that the Boléro is the outcome of the Seguidilla's. The Seguidilla's (Poem) is a quicker dance than the Boléro and it is generally understood that when the Boléro or Fandango is danced in ballet form by eight people, it is called the Seguidilla's.

  • The Sequidillas Taleadas: This dance is a species of the Bolero, mingled with some measures of the Cachucha performed to a Seguidilla (dance or Song.)

  • The Cuban Bolero version came to be around 1883 with José Pepe Sánchez composing 'Tristezas'. The Cuban Boléro is a different dance than the Spanish Boléro version, however the Cuban Boléro was very much derived from the old Spanish Boléro, but the music and rhythms changed (2/4) when it came to Cuba and is danced closer to a Rumba style.

  • The Mexican Bolero came to be around 1921 from Mexico.

  • The American Bolero: was made popular in the United States when French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) wrote his composition in 1928 for Ida Rubenstein which was choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska. The first performance was on November 22, 1928, at the Paris Opera House and Ida danced it on a 'table-top.'

  • The Columbian Pasillo colombiano: done in 6/8 time closely resembles the Boléro.

  • The Bolero viejo o parado: style derived from the seguidilla.

  • The Valldemosa bolero: (Majorca, Spain) is the most popular in the Balearic Islands. The name parado (stopped) comes from the abrupt end of the dance.

    The Boléro is still danced today and is a standard dance among the International ballroom (Dance Sport) dancers and is very exciting to watch.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Cadiz, Spain 1780 Sebastian Cerézo Spanish

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

Bolero Poster / Lobby Card n/a 1835 - Le Bolero (Sor)
1883 - Tristezas (Sánchez)
1887 - Bolero (Buck)

Various Spanish Dance Posters

1928/ 1931 - Bolero [MP3] (Ravel)
Bailando Nace el Amor Artistry In Bolero (Kenton)
Barefoot Contessa Bolero at the Savoy (Krupa)
Carmen Jones Capullito de aleli (Cuban)
Saludo's Amigos De Ti Enaorado
Teatro Les Filles de Cadix (Delibes)
Teatro Novedades Longina [MP3] (Modern)
Puerta de Tierra (Albéniz)
Bolero ranchero (Solis)
Quiéreme mucho (Domingo MP3)

Night Clubs



n/a Paris Opera House Barcelona (1797)
Teatro Reale France
La Mancha (Manchenga)
Puerto Rico

Video Clips (pop-up)

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1934 - Bolero (Lombard / Raft) 1964 - Bolero 1840s? - Boleros de Cadix (Guy)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1943 - The girl of my dreams (Tango Bolero) 1931- Earl Carroll Vanities
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1949 - La Faraona (Lola Flores) [DVD] 1932- Bolero (Ballet)
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1952 - Boléro Les Sirens (La Bolero) - ballet/Fonteyn
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1953 - Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (Markova) Boleros de Oro Festival
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1956 - Rosen für Bettina El Bolero de Ravel
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1957 - Around The World In 80 Days [DVD]
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1957 - El Bolero de Raquel [DVD] Elaine Bruce
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1958 - Bolero Immortal


Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1970 - Bolero de Amor 6/3/1934 - Rocky Mountain Newspaper
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1981 - Bolero [DVD] (Les Uns et les Autres) The Bolero School: Illustrated History of the Bolero
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1835 - Ledhuy's Encyclopédie

Other or Related Dances ...

bolero-beguine Contredanse Merengue Sarabande Saragossa
bolero-mambo Fandango Pachanga Cha Seguidillas Boléras Cachucha
bolero-moruno Flamenco Pasillo colombiano Seguidollas Taleadas
bolero-son (/w Salsa) Habanara Paso Doble Sevilla
Bolero viejo o parado Jaleo Rumba Tango
Carioca Jota Salsa Valldemosa bolero
Cha-Cha Mambo Samba Voleras

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


1780 - Sebastian Cerézo (Zerezo) 1928 - Ida Rubenstein n/a
1801 - Requejo from Mucia 1932 - Igor Schwezoff
18?? - Mlle. Marie Mercandotti 1940s - Pepe' Rivera
1834 - Serral and Mons. Camprubi Jose Greco
1840s - Marie Guy Stephans (Boleros de Cadix) La Argentina
1843 - Lola Montez La Argentinita
M. Coulon Leroy Prinz (Chor)
1922 - Alexis Kosloff George Raft (Veloz and Yolanda were dance doubles in Bolero movie)
1928 - Bronislava Nijinska

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...





The Code of Terpsichore, The Art of ... Blasis, Carlo 1830 E. Bull (London)
Bolero Dance (For two or Group) Kosloff, Alexis 1922 n/a
The Art Of Social Dancing Hostetler, Lawrence 1938 Barnes
World History Of Dance Sachs, Curt 1937 Norton & Company
Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Anatole 1949 A.S. Barnes

Musicians / Bands / Singers

Poets / Writers

1835 - Fernando Sor (1778-1839) Bazán Bonfil, Rodrigo (1921)
1883 - José Pepe Sánchez (1856-1918)
1887 - Dudley Buck
1928 - Maurice Ravel (1895-1937)
Rafaél Marín Hernández (1892-1965)
Javier Solis (1932-1966)
Stan Kenton (1911-1979)
Gene Krupa (1909-1973)
Carlos Argentino
Rolando Orchestra
Albéniz, Isaac (1860-1909)
Lola Flores

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Andalusan Latin Sarabande Spanish
boleristas (balladeers) por borracha Seguidilla Taconeo



2/4 or 3/4 time

Basic DANCE Idea:
Originally, done in 3/4 time and was a dance for a solo performer which was almost always a woman who's hand and arm movements were a great feature to it. It consisted of sharp turns and revolutions of the body, with short quick rushes of two or three steps, going to one side, then to the other, the feet would be always stamping on the floor in time to the music, while at intervals, when there is a sudden pause (break) in the tune, the dancer stops rigid in a picturesque pose, with the body bent slightly backwards, the hands on the hips, and the head erect and defiant.

Steps: slow-quick-quick rhythm (Like Rumba) with the slow step taken to the side, and the quick-quick steps taken as rock steps. ... [Photo1| Photo2]