- Willi Kahl
- and Israel J. Katz
A Spanish popular dance or song. Its dancers are called boleros or boleras. Of the several possible etymologies considered by Suárez-Pajares (A1993), the most plausible are those deriving from the verb volar (‘to fly’) and from the name boleras, given to the Gypsy women ‘who were the first to dance it [and called so] because of the little gold-braided balls (bolitas de pasamanería) that adorned their dresses’. From its beginnings in Spain during the last third of the 18th century the bolero's popularity in the court and theatre persisted throughout the 19th century, and it has since been absorbed among the traditional dance and song genres of Andalusia, Castile and Mallorca.
Consensus among the early writers (Sor, A1835; El Solitario, A1847) points to the bolero’s having derived from the seguidilla, whose accompanying rhythm and movements it modified and to whose verse form it was sung. After the seguidilla...