Competitive DancingSocial Dancing

5 Things You Must Know About Paso Doble

5 things to know about paso doble dance and history blog article by marcinlondon

Paso doble is one of the most popular Latin American dances because of the drama and performance. Here are 5 things you must know about Paso doble.

  1. French names

    Everyone associates Paso doble with Spain and a bullfight. But actually when you learn the technique, names of the steps are French for example huit, coup de pique or sur place. Have you ever thought why that might be?
    Well, the dance originates from France yet it resembles a bullfight.

    Long time ago there was a French dancer named Pierre Zurcher-Margolle who started to teach Paso doble in London. To this day we use the same names of steps as they used back then.

  2. Why do they always play the same piece of music “Espana Cani”?

    Many dancers also call it “the paso doble song”. Historically, this piece of music has been used when matadors walk into the ring. Espana Cani is uniquely written emphasizing “the highlights” which dancers know very well and are able to add even more theatre to their performance.

    However, The Empress Orchestra recorded a range of musical pieces played for Paso doble and these arrangements are used at major dance championships.

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  3. Why is Paso doble not usually danced socially?

    Paso doble takes a lot of space, has sharp and fast movements. This already makes it a bad combination for a crowded dance floor. Once you take away the character of the dance, it would just become stepping. Paso doble is more of a show dance.

  4. Ladies role

    The first thing that comes to mind is that a man is a matador and a lady is a bull. However, that is a misconception and many dancers don’t know about it. Instead, there are three major roles for a lady:
    – a cape
    – a Flamenco dancer
    – matador’s shadow

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  5. Angry face

    When you watch lots of dancers, you may think they are “angry”. In fact sometimes it looks like a man wants to fight with his dance partner. Should it be the case? NO! Male dancer should always remain calm, yet ready and focused- just like a matador. Paso doble is a silent dance with a waterfall of emotions flowing through dancer’s blood. Angry face is perhaps the simplest way to convey a message for a less skilled dancer.


Whether you’re a beginner dancer or a professional, spend time studying the history and characteristics of each dance. This knowledge will help you add more artistry and sophistication to your performance by choice rather than fluke.


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Photo credits: Maggiore Fotografico

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