Bolero is an American style ballroom dance that has early roots in the 18th century in Spain and Cuba, both evolving into different dance forms. It is uncertain which form was most influential in the current ballroom Bolero. While in its early history it was danced by a female solo, today it is a social partner and dancesport dance genre. The Cuban form traveled from Cuba to Mexico, Latin America and eventually to the United States in the mid-1930's. It is sometime referred to as Rumba Bolero but is, in fact, the precursor of the ballroom rumba. The Bolero is usually danced to the slowest tempo Rumba music rhythms, anywhere from 96 to 120 beats per minute.
The Bolero is a graceful, slow dance that incorporated movements from rumba, tango and waltz but unlike most ballroom dances uses both Cuban hip motion and rise and fall created through the body more than the feet. It uses a rotating forward or backward slip pivot that usually is left turning and contains many similar movements, patterns and techniques as rumba, cha cha and mambo. There is a long gliding side step on the first two beats of music followed by the rotating slip pivot that uses rise and fall. The partners dance close giving it the appearance of Tango at times.
The present form of ballroom style Bolero is danced to a slower, newer type of Latin music than the box rumba, which is faster. It has the appearance of subtlety but requires a great deal of strength in the dancer to achieve the desired gliding and smoothness of this dance. It is less popular in social dance venues than it once was but can still be found among the American style rhythm competition dances and in performances. It is considered a sensual romantic dance and the movements elicit a type of passionate response. The Bolero is still a favorite dance among more accomplished American style rhythm dancers.