What's That Dance?
The term ‘Paso Doble’ is Spanish for double step. It also refers to a type of traditional music that was played in bullfights, when bullfighters or matadors entered the ring. The dance was popular in the 1920s, and became moreso in Paris in the 1930s.
Today the term refers to one of the more common International Standard Latin ballroom dances.
What are the origins of the Paso Doble?
The Paso Doble originated in France, but was inspired by the sound, drama and movements of the Spanish bullfights.
What are some of the signature movements in the Paso Doble?
In the Paso Doble, the male dancer plays the role of the matador, while his partner is the cape, or occasionally the bull. The dance is very masculine, very theatrical, incorporating many dramatic poses, stances and, most importantly, attitude. Each of the dancers must incorporate artistic hand movements, while bodies are held upright, head high, feet directly underneath the body. Signature moves include the Sur Place, Attack, Spanish Line, Flamenco Taps, the Apel and Arpel. In the Apel the man stomps his foot on the ground, imitating the way matadors stomp their feet to attract the bull’s attention. The Arpel is very similar, with both dancers stomping, then walking in opposite directions from each other.
What music is the Paso Doble danced to?
The Paso Doble is usually performed to variants of the España Cañi. This type of music has fixed breaks within the song, and the Paso Doble choreography incorporates these breaks.
What sort of clothing is worn in the Paso Doble?
The man wears Spanish-inspired clothing, while the woman usually wears a long, wide skirt, to help emphasize her role as a cape.
Where is the Paso Doble danced today?
As the dance is so highly choreographed and intertwined with the music, the Paso Doble tends not to be a social dance and instead appears most often in dance competitions. However, some European countries such as Spain, France and Germany as well as Vietnam and Colombia still have social Paso Doble dances.
Where have I seen the Paso Doble?
In addition to its inclusion in So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, the Paso Doble played a key role in the 1992 film Strictly Ballroom. Strictly Ballroom tells the story of Scott, a ballroom competitor who feels trapped by the conventional steps, and yearns to perform his own original dancing. Due to this, his partner abandons him and he begins training with an amateur dancer, Fran. One night Fran and Scott are dancing at her house, and her Spanish father mocks their Paso Doble. He teaches Scott and Fran to dance to the rhythm of their hearts, the true Paso Doble. During the film’s climactic scene, this is the dance that Scott and Fran perform and end by winning the dance competition.