Spanish bullfighting goes all the way back to Crete, and could have Greek and/or Syrian origins but is reported to not have come to Spain till the 1700's. France had an infantry march named "Pas redoublé" around 1790 and thus comes from this March. The name Paso Doble
(pass-o-dough-blay) is a Spanish folk dance which means "Two Steps" and is done to 2/4 time Spanish March music which was originally used for the procession at the beginning of corridas. Andalusians were extremely fond of this music during the 18th century.
Sometimes referred to as the Spanish One-step. It is modeled after the sound, drama, and movement of the Spanish and Portuguese bullfight. The "Paso" as it is affectionately known is a dance of the Bullfight which portrays the leader (Toreador) represents the bullfighter, while the follower symbolizes the bull. The Paso Doble dance became quite popular during the 1920s and later became the rage in Paris with the upper classes around the 1930's (which explains the many French terms used in the dance).
The dance is a very fast paced, masculine Theatrical Ballroom type couples dance in nature with many dramatic poses, Leaps, Stomps and much attitude. The male performer often stamps his feet as a toreador would to attract a bull's attention. Meanwhile, the woman often wears a long, flowing skirt to symbolize the bullfighter's cape. The dance was created to mimic the movements of the Toreador and the Bullfight. It has roots in the Spanish Flamenco dances as well. It is really not a social dance as much as a competition of exhibition dance. The Paso Doble flamenco is the same but uses castanets and is not done in the ballroom.
Wikipedia states that: "Because of its inherently choreographed tradition, ballroom Paso Doble for the most part is danced only competitively, almost never socially — or at least not without sticking to some sort of previously learned routine. This said, in Spain, France, Vietnam, Colombia, Costa Rica and some parts of Germany to the west of the river Rhine, it is danced socially as a lead (not choreographed) dance. In Venezuela, Paso Doble is a must in almost every wedding or big party, being especially famous the song Guitarra Española by Los Melódicos" (end wikipedia.)
The Song 'España Cañi' (the Spanish Gypsy Dance) is the traditional Paso Doble song used for this dance, and traditionally Paso Doble routines are choreographed to match the breaks, as well as the musical phrases of the song 'España Cañi' or it's imitators (those without are USUALLY avoided in most competitions).... click here to listen or purchase a copy.