First Encounter: Bolero


Disclaimer: I do not own the music.  I am simply trying to pass it onward.  Oh and since I knew absolutely nothing about Bolero, I had to do some reading on Wikipedia plus some song-searching on Dance Forums. 

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photo from Wikimedia Commons

photo from Wikimedia Commons

I’m happy to report that the studio made some schedule changes, a Bronze III group class on Mondays.  Rejoice!  Previously, there were only Bronze I and II.  And honestly, I was getting a little bored.  Endless repetitions are good for my dancing, but variety is also desirable.  That’s why I squealed inwardly when I saw the change.  I think Bronze III classes didn’t arrive sooner because the studio was—and still is—young and finding consistent students is difficult.  There are only four of us Bronze III students currently, myself included.  Anyway, Tommy taught bolero on Monday.

I’d seen bolero previously at competitions.  It struck me as fluid and softly sensual, but actually dancing it this Monday was really weird.  I’ve got three reasons.  One, it’s a hybrid, a mix of Smooth and Rhythm.  You have the sexy overtones of Latin with the rise and fall of waltz.  Before Wednesday’s lesson, I was talking to another student about bolero because I saw him dance it during his lesson.  He said it was a mix of Rumba and Waltz.  That wasn’t the first time I’d heard it described that way.

Two, the timing was unusual.  The first step is taken on first beat but held on the second.  This is where the couple first rises.  Then, two more steps occur on the third and fourth beat.  I found it takes a surprising amount of physical control to hold that second beat and slow my descent.

Finally, the footwork strikes me as bass ackwards.  With rise and fall, your body wants your foot to pick up its toes to move forward.  That’s a no-no in Rhythm.  This means you have to use the outside edge of your foot to move forward.  Most weight for Rhythm is taken on the foot’s inside edge.  I guess bolero breaks the boundaries.

I really liked it.  The body contact was similar to Smooth.  The rise and fall gave it a certain elegance that goes beyond simple flirting.  Its slowness allowed me to relax and savor the character I was playing.  Bolero is not on my must-learn list, something I told Tommy when I began Bronze III.  It could be finals on the brain, but I can’t compute adding another dance to my roster right now.  However, I’d gladly dance bolero with you if you asked me (and if you’re willing to be patient enough with a newbie. 😉 )

Bolero Songs

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P.S.: I wanted to write an extra post for my readers because I haven’t been keeping up my writing lately.  Hope y’all enjoyed it.

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One thought on “First Encounter: Bolero

  1. Congrats on having a Bronze III class to attend, Alaina! I’m in B3 also, and have had a couple of lessons in Bolero. I agree that it calls for a lot of control. I look forward to mastering it.

The floor is yours now.

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