Last Updated: February 10, 2015

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Definition - What does Bolero mean?

Bolero is a term which describes a musical rhythm or beat as well as the dance performed to this distinctive rhythm. The rhythm is thought to be very sensual, and the dance performed to it features sexually suggestive moves. The bolero is most popular in Central American nations including Cuba. However, the bolero’s popularity spread across the world with the release of composer Maurice Ravel’s famous song "Bolero."

Kinkly explains Bolero

Maurice Ravel's version of the song is history’s most recognized bolero. It combines a traditional Latin bolero beat with European classical influences.

Ravel’s piece featured prominently in a 1984 film, also called Bolero. The passionate nature of Ravel's music seemed an appropriate choice for the movie, which charted the sexual awakening of a young woman. The Motion Picture Association of America threatened to give the film an X rating if its explicit sex scenes were not cut. Rather than compromise his craft, writer and director John Derek instead chose to release it without a rating.

The film Bolero starred Bo Derek. It was not the first time Bo Derek engaged in on-screen sex to Ravel’s famous piece. "Bolero" was also the soundtrack for her famous film tryst with Dudley Moore in 10.

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