What is the Paso Doble?
The Paso Doble is a traditional, lively couple’s dance that despite its French origin was immediately adopted by the Spanish community. It is usually danced to music played at bullfights when the fighter enters the ring or just before a kill in a Spanish or Portuguese bullfight. Paso Doble mean ‘two step’. The dance became popular in the United States in the 1930s. In any dance sequence, the male is characterized as the bullfighter or matador and the lady as his cape. The dancers enact the role of the bull, picador, torero or Spanish dancer and can change roles during the routine.
The History of the Paso Doble
Paso Doble is based on the Flamenco, and is considered more of a competitive dance form rather than a social dance. It is both arrogant and passionate, which are elements that must be portrayed by both partners. This style of dancing is a progressive dance form, and one of the most dramatic of Latin dances where dancers make strong movements while stepping forward with the heels. It also involves the integration of artistic hand movements all throughout the routine. The forward steps or walks are strong and proud. The male partner must incorporate a movement in which he stamps his foot like a matador striking the ground in order to attraction the bull’s attention. The movements are sharp and quick while the chest and head held high at all times to portray a mood of arrogance and dignity.
How to Dance the Paso Doble
The Paso Doble is based on a 2/4 rhythm with a simple 1-2-1-2 march. There are very few rhythm changes throughout the routine. The temp is usually brisk ranging from 60 to 124 beats per minute. The basic rhythm is a march or one step per beat. One of the most interesting elements of the dance form is dramatic poses which both partners must perform in conjunction with the music. Some of the distinctive steps include Separation, Huit, Attack, Flamenco Taps and Spanish Line, to name a few.
Being synonymous with Spanish culture, the Paso Doble is undoubtedly one of the most exciting dances to learn especially if you want to be involved in competition or exhibition dancing. This is definitely not a dance for a crowded dance floor since it involves plenty of movement all around. It would be prudent to learn the Paso Doble along with a partner since you are not likely to encounter one at your local club so easily. Learning the dance form may be challenging but the rewards are plenty. Just make sure you are game for a great deal of acting and showmanship.