The History of Bolero

The History of Bolero

The history of Bolero can really only begin to be summed up by acknowledging that there are actually 2 countries that can be credited for creating the Bolero style of dance and music.  Some automatically think of Spanish bolero history when they think of the origins of Bolero and while they are not wrong in making this assumption, they leave the picture incomplete.

One must also look to Cuba when speaking of the history of Bolero as this Caribbean country played just as much a role in the development and popularization of Bolero dance and music as did Spain.

The History of Bolero Dance

The development of Bolero dance in Spain comes from a fusion of different kinds of dances.  It grew from the need to have a dance that could be performed at common shows and not just special celebrations.  In fact, every province of Spain had their own unique form of dance and Bolero emerged as the unifying dance for them all that could be performed at any time.

Some assert that they can actually pinpoint the man responsible for creating this unifying dance that would become Bolero and the year in which it was created. The man’s name is Sebastiano Carezo and the year was 1780.

Bolero is also sometimes called Goyescas thanks to the man who helped popularize and immortalize the dance in his paintings; the Spanish artist Francisco Goya.  He created a few very famous paintings that depicted dancers of the Bolero as they engaged in their movements.

The History of Bolero

The History of Bolero

During the early days of Bolero, many Italian dance troupes were performing in Spain.  It is in this time that Bolero dance, originally intended for a couple was adapted for grander theatres and more ballet-like steps were incorporated to eliminate the need for improvisation on the part of the dancers.

Through the establishment of various schools that specifically taught the dance in Spain, Bolero became more organized and uniform to the sultry and passionate incarnation that we know it to be today.

The History of Bolero Music

While the history of Bolero music can be traced to Spain where it was a ¾ metered genre that was accompanied by castanets and guitars and occasionally with vocals, what we know Bolero to be today comes by way of Cuba and the Caribbean.

As Bolero gained more popularity in Europe it was exported to the island nation of Cuba where musicians sped the tempo to a 2/4 meter and incorporated Caribbean rhythm and percussion that were essentially African in nature.

There is evidence that comes in the form of newspaper articles of Bolero music being present in Cuba as early as 1792 and a Cuban musician named Pepe Sánchez is credited as writing one of the earliest trova style Bolero numbers in the country.

With the diminishment of Tango as the most popular Latin music, Bolero spread from Spain and Cuba and captured the ears and hearts of people all over the world.

The images we conjure up in our minds of two lovers, deeply entwined in an intricate yet heated dance when we think of Bolero are the results of both Spanish and Cuban efforts.

Artists, musicians and of course dancers all had a prominent role to play in the history of Bolero as it is a form of expression that spans art forms and ignites the senses in a way that few other brands of creativity can. For more information on traditional Hispanic music take a look at the article Hispanic Singers and Musicians.

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

Now is the time of year dedicated to reflecting on our Hispanic heritage even as we are living here in the States.  It would seem that everyone has their own way of celebrating Hispanic Heritage month which is the beauty of it all: everyone makes it their own. So this is how I celebrate as a writer; by bringing you some Hispanic Heritage month fun facts.  Let’s get things started at the beginning.

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

The Reason for the Date

The countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala all have something in common: they all share the same independence anniversary date.  What date might that be?  You guessed it, September 15th the day that Hispanic Heritage month kicks off here in the States.

The Origins of the Hispanic Term

There has been a decent amount of web space dedicated to attempting to clarify the whole Hispanic vs. Latino debate but what many people don’t know are the deep down roots of the word ‘Hispanic.’  Originally (going back further than even the P.C. police were concerned) the term Hispania was used to refer to people from Portugal and Spain only.

Early Colonization

Everybody thinks of Plymouth Rock as the birthplace of American colonization but few people know that there are a couple cities in the United States that were founded way before the pilgrims landed on the East Coast. Santa Fe, New Mexico and St. Augustine, Florida were both founded, Hispanic cities before Plymouth, Massachusetts was settled.  Here you can test a bit of your Hispanic history knowledge.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

You have probably heard of the Mexican-American war of the 1800’s and you have probably even heard of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that resulted from the conflict but do you know how much the States agreed to pay for California, Texas and New Mexico for?  Approximately 15 million dollars.  What a deal!

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

The Unsolved Death of Oscar Zeta Acosta

Oscar Zeta Acosta was a lawyer, novelist and prominent figure in the Chicano movement of the 70’s but there is still mystery surrounding his disappearance and death.  His body was never found but he is believed to have been assassinated at some time during a trip to Mazatlán, Mexico.

Good Blood

Type O blood is the blood type that is most sought out by hospitals and guess which ethnic group has the most of it?  That’s right, Hispanics. It is estimated that type O blood runs through the veins of 60% of the Hispanic population.


Did you know that Spanish is the 2nd most commonly spoken language in the world?  There are over 300 million native Spanish speakers in the world and that is just ahead of English speakers but Chinese still dominates in terms of how many people speak it as their native language.

Spanish Longevity

While there is some speculation it is generally accepted that Spaniards have been established in Europe in some form or another longer than any other European ethnic group.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed these Hispanic Heritage month fun facts and as you engage in various kinds of Hispanic culture traditions in the coming weeks, take some time to observe our rich history and learn something you never knew about us. Hopefully this was a good start.

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