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kind of Spanish dance, 1787, from Spanish, probably from bola "ball" (and perhaps with reference to "whirling motion"), from Latin bulla (see bull (n.2)). In reference to a type of short jacket, it is recorded by 1864.
lively Spanish dance in 34 time with a strongly marked rhythm. The dancers, either singly or as couples, execute brilliant and intricate steps to the rhythmic accompaniment of their castanets. Distinctive features are the paseo ("walk"), bien parado ("sudden stop"), and various beating steps (battements). An outstanding musical example is Maurice Ravel's Bolero (1928) for orchestra. The Latin-American bolero is a slow, romantic rumba danced with simple steps.