Traditional Spanish Dances

by Pachinee Buathong

Spain makes a fabulous holiday destination for dancers and party-lovers alike, but it comes without saying that such love for dancing and having a good time must have been passed down for generations. Spanish music and dances have had enormous and sometimes unsuspected influence over contemporary music scene. Much of the Latino music and dances we enjoy today are a consequence of the Spanish colonization – meringue, tango, salsa – however these cannot be confused with traditional Spanish dances. Spaniards have managed to preserve their unique folk dances, many of which date back to the Middle Ages, so today we’ll try to describe the most popular of them:

Flamenco

by Dominic

First I should point out that flamenco is not only the name of a dance, but also the song and guitar style accompanying it. Widely associated with flamenco are the generous, crimson red skirts worn by women and the typical shirts with bell shaped sleeves worn by men. Flamenco originates form Andalusia and is believed to have been heavily influenced by gypsy music.

Bolero

Unlike flamenco which is a folk dance, Bolero is more of a ballroom and competition dance which was invented late in the 18th century. Bolero has developed into numerous variants today, however the most popular are Spanish bolero and Cuban bolero. It’s a slow dance very similar to rumba.

Pasodoble

Pasodoble is probably the most spectacular of traditional Spanish dances. Pasodoble debuted as a musical style associated with bullfights and therefore developed a very lively and dramatic sound. Being such a fast-paced dance, pasodoble is not commonly regarded as a social dance, but you will have plenty of chances to admire skilled dancers of pasodoble at competitions.

Zambra

A neighbor of flamenco, zambra was also born in the hot Andalusian plains. Zambra is basically an ethnic Romani (gypsy) dance and was preserved as a gypsy tradition for a very long time, being performed at special occasions like weddings. It’s a very spectacular and sensual dance (might even have some Moorish influences), which once made it a forbidden practice in Spain. Luckily, today is quite appreciated and the talented gypsies will still dance it in some regions of Andalusia.

Fandango

by Rafael Kage

Here is another energetic, exuberant Spanish dance. Although it’s not clear who invented the dance or where, its popularity is quite understandable. Fandango is a very interactive form of dance as in many instances the dancers are encouraged by rhythmic clapping and castanets. Fandango is widely spread in Spain, as well as Portugal and Philippines.

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