Let’s Dance & SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Clubs

Steve Holdener

Ravel’s Boléro is one of his most famous works, originally written as a ballet score for his patron Blanche Lapin or commissioned by Ida Rubinstein, but now usually played as a concert piece. It was originally called Fandango but has rhythmic similarities with the Spanish dance form. Some versions of Ravel’s Boléro are nearly 17 minutes in length; however, that is not the Bolero that we’d be dancing at our open or dinner/dances.

I’ve been asked “what is the difference is between a Bolero and a Rumba?” Sometimes the difference is huge, but at other times not, as a Bolero can be danced to the music of a very slow Rumba. However, a version of the Cuban Bolero is danced throughout the Latin dance world (supervised by the World Dance Council) under the misnomer ‘rumba.’ This came about in the early 1930s when a simple overall term was needed to market Cuban music to audiences unfamiliar with the various Cuban musical terms. The famous Peanut Vendor was so labeled and the label stuck for other types of Cuban music.

Bolero is a very slow and deliberate romantic Latin dance. It originated in Spain in the late 18th century and was a combination of contradanza and sevillana. The music at that time was sung and accompanied by castanets and guitars. The Cuban Bolero tradition originated in Santiago de Cuba in the last quarter of the 19th century; however, it does not owe its origin to the Spanish music and song of the same name. In the 19th century there grew up in Santiago de Cuba a group of itinerant musicians who moved around earning their living by singing and playing the guitar.

Pepe Sanchez is known as the father of the trova style and the creator of the Cuban Bolero. Pepe was untrained but had a remarkable natural talent and composed numbers in his head and never wrote them down. As a result, most of these numbers are now lost but two dozen or so survive because friends and disciples wrote them down. He was the model and teacher for the great trovadores who followed.

Our next first Thursday of the month dinner/dance evening will take place on August 6 at SaddleBrooke One in the Vistas Dining Room with the adjacent Vermilion Room dance floor beginning at 5:30 p.m. Please come join us then as well as the weekly open dances/practices on Sunday afternoons (4:00 to 5:30 p.m.) at MountainView Ballroom and Wednesday afternoons (4:00 to 5:30 p.m.) at the Vermilion Room. If you didn’t make any of our five dinner dances this last dance season, then plan to come out when we start up the new dance season with our first party on November 14, 2015.

You are invited to visit our Facebook page that we share with Let’s Dance (just type Let’s Dance in the search box on Facebook). Please feel free to share your own favorite dance story by writing me at [email protected]