Dancemax Letter #43, Thursday, March 22, 2001


Dancing Tid-bits
Paso Doble

Living in USA, I thought it may not be a bad idea to present some very basic information on this most elegant, simple and exciting Latin Dance. Dont expect any great technique discussion or how to execute Twists or Chasse Cape etc.

Q: What is Paso Doble
A: Paso Doble is a Latin dance that depicts the theme of a Spanish Bullfight

Q: Why Paso Doble?
A: Paso Doble is a popular international dance and is a part of all Latin Competitions around the world. So, let's get to it!

Q: Why don't we hear it often or see it danced.
A: In United States, the American style dances are more common and Paso Doble is considered more European or International.

Q: What does Paso Doble mean?
A: Paso means step and Doble is two. In other words, 2 steps.

Paso Doble is an exciting dance in Latin category. The Man is depicted a Matador and the Lady as his Cape. Remember there is no Bull but the theme of a Bull Fight is expressed in most figures.

Music: Time Signature in Paso is 2/4. This means that there are 2 beats to a bar (or measure) of music and each beat is note. Phrasing is usually done with 4 bars, in other words 8 beats to a phrase. Usually, Paso is counted as 1.2, 3.4, 5.6, 7.8 (There are other ways but at bronze level we will count like that). The following figures will make a nice routine for Bronze level that we will practice in our Paso Class.

The following routine will take 10 phrases of 8 beats each.
  • Ready and Read Music! 1 to 4.
  • Sur Place 5 to 8
  • Twist Turn 1 to 8 (Laird), this is not the Twists of Gold Level.
  • Sixteen 1 to 16
  • Deplacement with Attack 1 to 4
  • Basic going back curving left 1 to 4
  • Chasses to Left (with Appel R foot, 2 down, 2 Up) 1 to 8 (end in Promenade).
  • Huit 1 to 8
  • Separation 1 to 8
  • Separation with Fallaway ending, 1 to 16
So far we have used 10 phrases or we can say 40 bars of music or 80 beats.

A Highlight of your choice on 7th beat of 11th phrase, I just simply do an Appel on 1, go to Promenade and give the Lady an inside turn and do an "explosion" on the 7th beat and then collect again and go from there. It is interesting to see, when you let students come up with their own expresion of a Highlight, how diversified and interesting it can be.

The above choreography is based on the popular "Spanish Gypsy" song which is usually played at most Socials or Syllabus Level Competition..

Important: Follow the Line of Dance. The above routine takes that into consideration.

If all of us become familiar with these simple figures, it would be fun to play with this dance, rather than sit on the sidelines. In the basic form it's not that difficult and we plan to cover all these figures in about 4 lessons. Of course the quality is produced by "How" we do it and that takes time and experience.

The Sixteen and Huit are the most Basic Caping actions and should be performed with a feeling that you (Man) are the Matador and Lady is the Cape.

Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.


This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits