Humans have used Dance as a means of expression and communication practically the entire time it has existed. Spain is by no means an exception. The first ceremonial, traditional folk dances were those honouring battles. Also, in other war-related themes centuries later, in the Middle Ages, it was possible to recognize traditional Dance with structured religious themes and related musical genres.

Spanish Dance Styles: 10 Best Dance Forms 1
Image by David Mark from Pixabay/ Copyright 2016

1. History

When you think of Spanish dance styles, you probably picture flamenco Spanish dance styles, with its strumming guitars, stomping feet, and vibrant costumes. While people from other countries associate the most famous Spanish dance styles with flamenco, a wide range of regional and traditional dances from Spain are a part of the long legacy of Spanish Dance. For instance, few people would ever anticipate travelling to Spain and hearing bagpipes and tambourines fill the air. It is the traditional music that complements Spanish dances in northern Spain.

There was an establishment of distinction in the various genres in the 15th century in Spain. The more upbeat and free-flowing dances heavily influenced and quickly replaced the serious and measured ones as the latter became antiquated.

spanish dance styles
Image by Dimitris Vetsikas/ Copyright 2020 from Pixabay

Popular and folk dances made significant advancements in the history of Spanish dance styles during the Renaissance and even received worldwide recognition. There was the successful development of dances in the local culture on their own. It also merged with other dances worldwide to produce entirely new dance styles. One can probably guess how many there were at one time—just in Catalonia alone, there were more than 200 traditional dances.

People of gipsy communities began to settle on the Iberian continent in the baroque period, and the gipsy music and dance style known as flamenco quickly became a part of the history of Spanish Dance. The rest is history, or the history of Spanish dance styles, as flamenco performance has subsequently gained national and international acclaim.

2. 10 Traditional Spanish Dance Styles One Should Know About

2.1) Sardana:

The sardana’s beginnings are difficult to pinpoint; some people think they go back to ancient Roman times; however, most people agree that by the 19th century, the Dance had become popular throughout Catalonia, particularly in the regions of Empordà, Roselló, and Garrotxa. A circle of men and women alternately execute the Dance while holding hands and moving to the beat of live music, called a cobra.

It is a well-liked group dance showcased at events and public gatherings. As more people join dancing to expand the circle, it slowly moves around and around. This Dance is particularly significant to Catalans since it not only unites Catalunya’s citizens but also represents their pride and identity as a nation.

The steps are thorough and exact; if you make one mistake, the entire circle could fall out of steps. Festivals are the finest places to witness a true Sardana dance style. One such event is the Focus de Sant Joan festival, which takes place on 24 June. For a magnificent view of the Dance, one should go to a Catalan village outside Barcelona.

2.2) Flamenco :

Unquestionably, it is one of the most famous Spanish dance styles and well-known cultural art forms identified by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is much more than just a dance. It originated in Andalusia’s gipsy communities and is performed by fun dance variations of finger snapping, hand clapping, singing, and guitar playing.

The Spanish flamenco dance and the accompanying guitar music originate in southern Spain’s Andalusian area, home to the Roma or Gypsy population. The Roma are known as Gitanos in Spain. Gitanos, believed to have originated in northwest India between the ninth and fourteenth centuries, blended it into the music using tambourines, bells, and wooden castanets.

Bailaores and bailaoras are serious and ardent flamenco dancers. The dancer might start a constant beat of loud hand clapping as soon as they feel the music. The dancer then starts moving passionately as the feeling intensifies with beautiful arm movements. Also, dancing frequently features violent stomping by percussion attachments on the shoes.

2.3) Paso Doble:

Paso doble is one of the dramatic Latin dances with French and Spanish roots. This one is one of the most well-known, internationally popular Spanish dances. It is a quick-paced dance that mimics the movements and rhythm of a bullfight. Due to abrupt, rapid movements, arresting body positions, and flamenco-inspired footwork, this theatrical Dance conveys a story.

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Despite having French origins, it was also employed in 18th-century comedies and the Spanish infantry to determine marching speed. It is performed in pairs, similar to ballroom dancing, with the style of the former being supposed to symbolize the matador or bullfighter.

The Paso Doble in today’s time is looked upon as a dance that instils discipline since it gives dancing a rigid structure and little room for individual expression. In contrast to the other competitive dances, Paso Doble dancers hold their hands much higher while dancing in a closed posture, maintaining constant body contact from the chest to the thigh. Since 1945, the paso doble has been a competitive dance. Since 1963, it is also a part of the World Dance Program.

2.4) Muiñeira:

The Muiñeira is a dance seen in Galicia’s northwest, depicting how Celtic culture influenced the local way of life. The usage of a sort of bagpipe called a gaita to perform the accompanying music is one of the most noticeable similarities to Celtic music. There are various regional varieties of Muiñeira, such as Chantada Muiñeira.

It is a dance with a joyful personality and a social element that expresses the historical, social culture of bravery. Compared to other folk dances, it allows for little more improvisation during seráns, fiestas, and exhibitions. It is performed quickly. Dancers frequently line up in a circle or parallel threes. Jumps are often used, timed to the accompaniment of percussion.

2.5) Bolero:

A slow, sensual rhythm Spanish dance style representing their culture is called a bolero. Bolero is a Spanish dance that includes a few distinguishing features. The following alternates between moves that suggest the bull or the matador’s cape, while the lead in the Dance imitates the toreador’s movements in a bullfight.

Despite considerable debate regarding the Dance’s origins, it has Latin ancestry and some distinguishing characteristics. Sebastiano Carezo is credited with creating the original Spanish Dance, which danced to castanets and guitar in the 18th century. In Cuba, a related dance form made an appearance and new dance styles emerged.

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In the 1930s, the bolero gained popularity in the American dance scene, in part because of the same-named work by Maurice Ravel. The dance style was added as one of the rhythm competition dances, along with the cha cha, east coast swing, rumba, and mambo, as the world of ballroom dance grew increasingly competitive. Due to its slower version and extreme stylization, it is one of the most challenging traditional Dances.

2.6) Fandango:

The Fandango, which most people would have heard of, is a quick famous Spanish dance style done in pairs resembling the bolero. Particularly the shorter dances, known as fandanguillos, it is traditionally accompanied by musical instruments like guitar, hand clapping, and castanets, making it a celebratory, vibrant performance.

The Fandango, a unique fusion of folk and flamenco dancing, has a rich cultural history that dates back to the Baroque era and is traditionally performed in the royal court in Madrid, Spain. Sometimes believed to have its roots in early Roman and Greek culture, the beginnings of tango dancing and the composition of tango music are traced; at the same time, at other times, they are referred to as an erotic kind of Dance that was particularly well-liked in Rome.

2.7) Zambra:

Zambra dance is one of the Spanish dance styles frequently referred to as the flamenco style. It originated in and around the Andalusian city of Granada. It was traditionally performed at weddings and other festivals. It differs from flamenco in that it is performed barefoot and shares a genealogy with Arabian belly dancing; also, the dancer typically exposes her stomach by tying her top beneath her chest.

The Dance, the music, and the feasts celebrated by Spanish people in Al-Andalus—the Arabic name for Spain—were originally referred to as Zambra Mora. Zambra’s are dance and song celebrations that have roots in the Middle Ages and are used to mark significant life events. Unfortunately, Zambra’s has turned into a lost art. Through these multimedia online classes or YouTube videos, you may now learn real Zambra.

2.8) Jota:

One of the courtship Spanish dance styles known as jota is customary in northern Spain, particularly in Aragon. The dancing duo performs fast, energetic dances to singing and lively tempo guitar music while raising their arms high and clicking castanets. Along with the Dance, jota is sometimes accompanied by a particular folk music art form.

Coplas, or impromptu verses of satire, love, or righteousness, make up the singing and music genre. In several Spanish regions, such as Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia, and Galicia, it takes on many shapes representing the area’s history and culture.

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2.9) Sevillana:

The Sevillana Spanish dance style, as its name suggests, is a style of folk music and Dance that originated in Seville, a city in southern Spain. It is comparable to flamenco, the other main dance style of Andalusia, Spain.

Sevillanas, in contrast, are less formal and physically taxing than flamenco, making them accessible to performers of all ages and genders. This has led to their popularity at festivals in southern Spain. The Traje Gitana, a colourful polka-dot dress that gives the Dance a whirling character and grace, is worn by the women who perform this kind of Dance at fiestas of all kinds throughout Spain, but notably during the feria.

This Spanish dance style can be incredibly passionate and sensual, but the couple won’t touch until the very end when the male places his arm around the woman’s waist to end it.

Originally, the sevillana was a wooing dance in which the guy attempted to woo the woman by imitating two mating flamingos. The man would spend the night conversing with his novia via the iron grills of her door or window in the ancient Spanish manner. If they did get the chance to go for a walk, they would almost certainly be escorted by the girl’s mother, sister, or the entire family.

2.10) Zarzuela

The Spanish lyric-dramatic genre known as “La Zarzuela” alternates spoken and musical sequences, incorporating Dance, popular songs, operatic songs, and both. The historians are unsure of the exact meaning of the word Zarzuela.

Many believe it may have come from the name of a royal hunting lodge near Madrid called Palacio de la Zarzuela, where it is said that this form of entertainment was first performed for and greatly favoured by the Royal Court. La Zarzuela first appeared around 1630.

The two primary categories of Zarzuela are Romantic Zarzuela, which dates from around 1850–1950, and Baroque zarzuela, which dates from roughly 1630–1750. Although there are additional classifications, the latter form can be further divided into two main sub-genres: genero grande and genero chico.

Due in part to the efforts of Francisco Barbieri and the Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid, the Dance gained popularity in the 19th century. After losing popularity during the Spanish Civil War, it was brought back to life in the 1950s and 1960s and is still performed in theatres all throughout the nation today.

3. Conclusion

Spanish dances and dancers have endured the test of time and have been extremely popular, holding fast to their distinctive choreography and keeping surprisingly consistent. The culture of Spanish dance styles endures despite decades of external pressure from shifting migrant caravans, fervent political figures, and significant changes in Spanish society itself.

The influence of Spanish dance styles on dancing, in general, is evident and ongoing. For those that choose to dance and embody them, it continues to develop and grow into new forms of artistic expression. One of the holiest ways that people express themselves is that they danced, which creates a special relationship between the dancer and the dance styles. Rather than performances by solo dancers, most Spanish dances includes the involvement of groups.

Spain is only slightly larger than Oregon, but it contains a lot of cultural delight and natural beauty inside its comparatively limited borders. Spanish dance styles have essence of latin dance styles, ballroom dance. By embracing the splendour, legacy, and ongoing narrative of Spanish dance styles, this thriving nation preserves its culture.

Last Updated on by Himani Rawat



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