PasoDoble is a lively style of dance to the duple meter march-like pasodoble music. It is modelled after the sound, drama, and movement of the Spanish and Portuguese bullfight.
Famous bullfighters have been honoured with pasodoble tunes named after them. Other tunes have been inspired by patriotic motifs or local characters.
España Cañí (meaning "Gypsy Spain" in Spanish language) is a famous instrumental Spanish piece of pasodoble music by Pascual Marquina Narro (1873-1948). The song was written around 1925. It is also known as the Spanish Gypsy Dance.
Its main refrain (eight bars of arpeggiated chords that go from E major to F major (with added 4 instead of 5) to G major and back) is arguably the best known snippet of Spanish music ever, and is popular worldwide.
Besides its traditional use as background music in bullfights in Spain and elsewhere, it is sometimes played (refrain only) to arouse local crowds in baseball matches in the United States. The Beatles in their early club days in Liverpool played the song.
It is often used by the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Muchachos Drum and Bugle Corps of Manchester, NH as a closer.
Several arrangements of the tune are often used for the ballroom Paso Doble dance (to the point that, amongst ballroom dancers, it is known as "the paso doble song" as it is very commonly played in competition due to the need for specific choreography for successful competition Paso).
Pasodoble is based on music played at bullfights during the bullfighters' entrance (paseo) or during the passes (faena) just before the kill. The leader of this dance plays the part of the matador. The follower generally plays the part of the matador's cape, but can also represent the shadow of the matador, as well as the bull or a flamenco dancer in some figures. Its origin dates back to a French military march with the name “Paso Redoble.” This was a fast paced march, which is why this is a fast-paced Latin American dance modeled after the Spanish bull fight. Bull fighting was well-known around this time.
A significant number of Paso Doble songs are variants of España Cañi. The song has breaks in fixed positions in the song (two breaks at syllabus levels, three breaks and a longer song at Open levels). Traditionally Paso Doble routines are choreographed to match these breaks, as well as the musical phrases. Accordingly, most other ballroom Paso Doble tunes are written with similar breaks (those without are simply avoided in most competitions).
Because of its inherently choreographed tradition, ballroom Paso Doble for the most part is danced only competitively, almost never socially — or at least not without sticking to some sort of previously learned routine. This said, in Spain, France, Vietnam, Colombia, Costa Rica and some parts of Germany to the west of the river Rhine, it is danced socially as a lead (not choreographed) dance. In Venezuela, Paso Doble is a must in almost every wedding or big party, being especially famous the song Guitarra Española by Los Melódicos.