The history of Spanish dance

By | April 10, 2021


A short definition can be helpful before you dive into the history of Spanish dance. As explained on Carmen de Vicent’s website, Spanish dance is an umbrella term that includes several specific dance forms, including folklore, flamenco, classical Spanish dance (‘estilizaci’), 18th century dances, ballet (classical dance) and castanets. In this article, the two most popular forms of Spanish dance will be discussed: bolero and flamenco.


According to Enforex’s online article on the history of Spanish dance, Bolero is the oldest form of Spanish dance. In 1780, a ballet dancer, Sebastian Zerezo, noted by the Sweetswing’s Dance History Archives website, began using this folk dance in his ballet choreography, leading to an increase in bolero popularity. Bolero is similar to fandango and is the national dance in Spain. In modern times, bolero has been further developed in Cuba, but the Cuban and Spanish versions are actually quite different.


Flamenco’s history is as complex and fascinating as the dance itself. The exact dates of the Origin are unknown, but according to the Latin Ballet of Virginia’s Dance History website, it probably began to develop around the time of the Spanish Inquisition (1391). During this early period, flamenco was not designated as a specific dance form; It was rather a well-known folk dance, possibly introduced by gypsies who came to Spain from India. Castanets, which are the small, hand-held percussion instruments used to accompany flamenco dancers, originally came from Egypt and Crete. It is not until 1800 that the first records of flamenco dancers appear, the most famous item El Planeta in Cadiz.


Many Spanish dances are tailored to specific events or festivals in Spanish culture. Dance was often used at royal courts or during religious events.’s encyclopedias contain many examples of such uses of Spanish dance, including the Andalusian girls who danced to entertain the Romans, a dance used to entertain King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, and liturgical dances developed by the Catholic Church. The origins of Spanish dance, despite the technical development and the development that it has made, are perhaps closest to the common people. Like classical ballet, before Spanish dance was a technical art, it was a form of daily entertainment.

Today It is likely that many forms of Latin American dance would not exist today, were it not for their Spanish ancestors. The salsa was developed, for example, from a combination of African and Spanish music and dance, which is described on’s history of salsa dance and music. Like the changes that the modern dance movement brought to classical ballet, Spanish dance has also had its own version of a stylistic revolution, as described in the interesting New York Times article ‘Contemporary Spanish Dance: New Voices and No Castanets’. These new movements in Spanish dance are accompanied by an increase in the popularity of Spanish folk dances such as fandango, flamenco and bolero, as well as the Latin American dance forms that inspired them. The fascinating beauty, grace and demanding technique of Spanish dance has fascinated audiences for centuries. Bolero, Fandango, Flamenco (just to name a few) – These dances are completely unique and have had a huge influence on popular dance today. Learning the history of Spanish dance can only lead to a deeper appreciation of this great cultural art form.