Paso Doble might not be a dance you immediately think of when you think of Ballroom dance. You might not even be aware it is a Ballroom dance, or perhaps you only think of it as “that dramatic bullfighting one”. While that is not incorrect, you may not see the many reasons you should invest some time in learning about this dance.

Paso Doble translates to “double step” in Spanish. It is based heavily upon Spanish bullfighting, but the dance itself originates from France. The upper classes at the time were enamored with the romance and drama of bullfighting, and sought to emulate it as a partner dance.

The leader’s role is always that of the conquering matador. The follower’s role acts in response to the leader — sometimes she is the cape, the bull, a flower, or the woman he is performing for.

The dance is more structured than many other Ballroom dances. It is a performance, meant to evoke emotion and tell a story. Paso Doble hinges upon strong body posture and frame, for forceful, sharp movements and gestures. The steps are reminiscent of military parading.

By far, the most common song used for Paso Doble is “Espana Cani”. The music for this dance is very distinctive, and is specific to the Paso Doble. It is a genre all on its own.

Due to the design of the song and the story you and your partner are telling together, it has a more choreographed setup than most other dances. Though it can still be danced socially, both partners need to be aware of the highlights, or “crashes”. There are three distinct highlights in the song, so leaders need strong musical awareness to ensure they match the story to the song.

Not many dancers do the Paso Doble, so knowing it can make you unique. Because of its inherent choreography, it makes a fantastic show piece, and a strong dance to show judges at any events you attend. It is a great way to develop confidence and character on the dance floor, because who doesn’t want to stab their partner sometimes?