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Bolero, introduced to the U.S. in the 1930s, is a variation of the Rumba, and shares its African-Cuban roots.

Rumba is smooth, romantic and sexy, and Bolero is more refined, formal cousin. It combines romance and grace, but without the seduction that ripples through the Rumba body movements from toe step to hip.

Danced to the same “slow, quick quick, slow, quick quick ” rhythm, starting with a basic box, Bolero dancers move in larger steps with more dramatic flair, to music with a tempo that’s almost as languid as Country Trot or Nightclub Slow.

Movements include Rumba-like cross body leads, open breaks, underarm turns, fifth position breaks and crossover breaks. But the movement is large and sweeping, incorporating a Waltz-like rise and fall.

If you start dancing the Rumba, but feel that the tempo is almost awkwardly slow, you have an excellent opportunity to shift gears and dance the Bolero.

The Bolero can be danced to most songs with a slow, dramatic tempo, including:

My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion
Live to Tell by Madonna
Beautiful Maria of My Soul by The Mambo All Stars
Mas Alla by Gloria Estefan and Abriendo Puertas

Listen to a music sample

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