a fast dance from Spain, done by a man and a woman together
Origin and usage
The origin of the word fandango is uncertain. It first came to be used in English sometime in the mid-18th century to describe a kind of lively Spanish dance. It has an alternative usage in modern American English, meaning ‘noisy entertainment’.
Fandango refers to an energetic dance performed by couples. It originated in the Andalusia region of Spain and is typically accompanied by music featuring guitars, castanets, and hand-clapping.
The fandango dates back to the early 1700s, when its melody was originally published in a Spanish music book. The dance was first described in a 1712 letter by a Spanish priest, and it was initially performed in public in a play in 1720. By the late 18th century, the fandango had become popular with the aristocracy in Spain and across Europe.
The dance itself can be more formal – known as a ‘fandango grande’ – which starts slowly and builds to a faster tempo. There is also a more casual, festive version of the dance that is popular in certain regions of Spain.
To perform the fandango, two dancers face each other and take turns dancing and tapping their feet to determine who can perform the most complex series of movements. It is a kind of competition, with each dancer trying to show off his or her skills. While one fandango dancer taps, the other simply stands there, moving or swaying slightly, until it is his or her turn to dance.
There are many versions of the fandango that have become popular around the world, including folk dances in Mexico, Portugal, and the Philippines.