Used by Permission and adapted from the Dance Vision International Dance Association - American Style Rhythm Bronze Manual (MarB04).

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Ballroom Dance Info

Dance Goals

Ballroom and Social Dance


Originally of Spanish origin with Moroccan roots, Bolero is sometimes called the Cuban Dance of Love and is thought to have similar origins as the Rumba.  Those foundations are Afro-Cuban and Spanish folk dances.  It arrived in the U.S. in the 1930's in a traditional form that was heavy on the drum beat.  Contemporary Bolero is slow and dreamy, with Spanish vocals and soft percussion.

Dance Characteristics:

It is a slow, smooth and gliding dance with dramatic arm movements and a romantic feel.  It is a mixture of the Tango's contra body movement, Waltz's rise and fall, and the slow Latin music of Rumba with its Cuban Motion.

Musical Information:

Time Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 24 - 26 mpm (96 - 104 bpm)
Count: SQQ (like the Rumba)
Beat Value: 2 - 1 - 1 
Counting in Beats and Bars: 1234, 2234, 3234, 4234, etc.


Ball Flat throughout with the following exceptions:  Hip lifts are Ball, Ball Flat; Taps (Points) are Inside Edge of Toe.  An alternative style of Bolero uses foot rise, in which case the footwork is Toe Heel Toe, Toe, Toe Heel.  Toes should be slightly turned out.  Feet should be kept in contact with the floor using slight pressure.

Technical Tips:

There are 2 styles of Bolero, with distinctively different technique. Both styles are "correct."  One styles uses foot or body rise, minimal Cuban Motion, "drop and drift" on forward and back breaks, and larger side steps than the other style.  The other style uses a modified version of Cuban Motion, relatively small side steps, and only slight body rise. 

The Bolero frame is a blend between a Ballroom and a Latin frame.  Stretch movement on the Slow count for two full beats of music.  Body movement should interpret the slow and romantic nature of the music.  Body sway can be used to very slow Bolero music.

Some of My Favorite Bolero Songs:

1. If We Were Lovers, by Gloria Estefan (her Spanish version is called, Con Los Anos Que Me Quedan)

2. Bella Maria De Mi Alma, by Antonio Banderas (Mambo Kings Soundtrack)

3. Besame Mucho, on a CD called Red Hot Ballroom. This song is often recorded; for Bolero, you need a slow tempo.

Bronze Syllabus Figures:  

1.  Basic Movement

2.  Open Break and Underarm Turn (UAT)

3.  Underarm Pass

4.  Left Side Pass

5.  Crossover Break

6.  Check and Circular Walks

7.  Romantic Sways

8.  Checked Underarm Pass

9.  Spot Turn Combo

10. Hip Twist and Spin 

Variations for Social Dancing:

No other rhythm dance figures are used as variations.