Encyclopedia of Dance: Paso Doble (Paso Doble)


Life is a fight. The paso doble dance is about that. Proud and temperamental Spaniards believed that only the victorious bullfighter is worthy of life, worthy of success, worthy of love.

Paso doble (more commonly pronounced paso doble, but spelled correctly with an «o») is a Spanish dance that has much in common with flamenco and fandango. Translated from Spanish, Paso doble means «double step», as every second step in the dance is underlined. At first, the dance was called «Spanish One Step» — «one Spanish step», since steps are taken for each musical beat. Paso doble, like many Spanish dances, reflects one of the aspects of the life and life of the Spaniards, namely bullfighting — bullfighting. This is a kind of theatrical action, where the partner portrays a proud, self-confident bullfighter, and the partner — his cloak. Sometimes the partner can portray another bullfighter, and very rarely — a defeated bull.

The history of the origin of the dance

Bullfights first appeared on the island of Crete, and in the Middle Ages they became popular in Spain. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Spanish bullfight took on a look close to modern. The exit of the bullfighter to the arena was accompanied by music, and the favorite spectacle of the Spaniards was displayed in the dance art. Some sources claim that the French were the first to reflect this action in the dance. Southern France is not far from Spain, and already in 1910, French dancers performed the “One Step” dance at the competitions — this was the name of the paso doble prototype. In the 20s of the 20th century, the Spanish bullfight was embodied in a stage dance. Since 1945, paso doble has been included in the competitive program of ballroom Latin American dances.

paso dobleWhat is paso doble?

The dance is performed to accompaniment with a musical time signature of 2/6 or 2/4. The main role in the paso doble is given to the partner, which is why the paso doble is often called the “dance of the master”. Torero will have to convey to the viewer his pride, courage, arrogance, superiority. The partner, imitating the red cloth in the hands of the torero, keeps her distance, adapting herself to the movements of the man with flexibility and grace. In the dance, tension between partners, hidden expression should be felt. Paso doble movements are strict, and give the performers little artistic freedom. Many paso doble figures require continuous physical contact between partners, in which all muscle groups are involved. A man and a woman are in contact with the entire surface of their bodies — from breasts to hips. Paso doble in performance is a difficult dance and requires daily practice from the performers. Before the basic movements of the paso doble are mastered by the dancer, many months of hard work will pass.

Paso doble music is energetic, temperamental, incendiary. From partners deep penetration into musical accompaniment is required. Rhythmically, the paso doble music corresponds to the gypsy dance «Espana Cani», which has three musical accents. These same accents are present in paso doble. The first emphasis is the beginning of the bullfight, the second is the fight with the bull, the third is the triumph of victory.

Paso Doble Features

The paso doble is distinguished from other dances by the staging of the body with a raised chest and lowered shoulders, with a rigidly fixed head, sometimes tilted down and forward. The high chest conveys a sense of pride, and the head tilted down corresponds to the pose of a matador. Most steps in paso doble are performed from the heel, while the leg remains straight, and the weight is not fully transferred to the floor. This is the fastest dance of the Latin American program and the only one in which the main role is given not to the partner, but to the partner.

In paso doble, in comparison with other dances of the Latin American program, the emphasis is not on technique, but on the drama of the dance. This is the only dance that has a storyline.

Originating in Spain, paso doble is also considered native in Latin America. This dance, like life, includes passion, love, struggle, defeat, and victory.

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