Spain has an amazing culture of music and dance, and its Latin connections help elevate the mystique of some of the famous Spanish dances. If you mention traditional Spanish dance to anybody, they will probably say Flamenco, but there are many regional variations from the southern gypsies to the northern Celtic peoples. Understanding the origins of the traditional Spanish dance means to visit around the country and to see the different regional variations.

Sardana

Sardana
Sardana

Sardana is meant to be one of the oldest dances in Spain and many Spanish believe that it dates back to Roman times. This may or may not be true, but it is known that by the 19th Century the Sardana was being danced in Rosello, Emporda, and Garrotxa. The dance is performed in a circle, with men and women holding hands alternatively. It is especially popular at family festivals and public events.

Flamenco

The Flamenco is undoubtedly the most famous dance of Spain, in fact Flamenco is much more than just a dance – it is an art form. The dance has its origins with the gypsies of Andalusia, and there are many facets to this dance, such as guitar playing, singing, finger snapping, hand clapping, and of course dancing. 

Muineira

The region of Galicia is famed for a dance called Muinera, and it is another example of the Celtic heritage of this northwest region of Spain. As in Celtic music the bagpipe features heavily in producing the music for the Muineira.

Paso Doble

Paso Doble
Paso Doble

Another famous Spanish dance that is regularly performed in ballrooms all over the world is the Paso Doble. This furiously paced dance is replicated on the movement of the bullfight. And incredibly it was used as a way of speeding up marching troops in the Spanish army. When dancing the Paso Doble in ballrooms, the male lead takes the part of the Matador whilst his female partner follows his lead. This dance is a great representation of the colors of Spain, and it is a massive part of the Spanish culture for many reasons.

Bolero

The Bolero hails not just from Spain but also Cuba although there are differences. In Spain, the dance seems to have emerged in the 18th Century, and it was a combination of two existing dances which were the Contradanza and the Sevillana. Often accompanied by the guitar, the Bolero is a medium paced dance and can be performed as a couple or even solo. In modern times the Bolero seems to be less popular, although you cannot ignore its importance to Spanish dance in general.

Fandango

Another famous dance that is similar in form to the Bolero is the Fandango, but this dance is at a far faster pace and only performed in couples. Like other popular Spanish dances, it is traditionally accompanied by the guitar, castanets, and hand clapping, which makes the whole dance a festival and both participants and spectators alike can revel in it. There are many more great Spanish dances that have not made our list such as the Zambra, Jota, and Sevillana and they too add to the great culture of Spanish dancing.