A bullfight usually lasts a minimum of 90 minutes but can continue up to 2.5 hours. (1 ½ – 2 ½ hours).
The First Act: La Suerte de Varas (The Act of the Lances)
The bullfight begins with the suerte de varas, where the matador and his team, including picadors on horseback, engage the bull with lances. This act aims to test the bull’s strength, bravery, and charge, and to weaken it for the following phases. The duration of this phase varies but usually lasts around 15 minutes.
The Second Act: La Suerte de Banderillas (The Act of the Bandarillas)
Following the suerte de varas, the matador uses banderillas, colorful sticks adorned with barbs, to further challenge the bull and showcase his skills. These banderillas are strategically placed on the bull’s neck while avoiding its horns. This phase, known for its intense moments, typically lasts around 10 to 15 minutes.
The Third Act: La Suerte Suprema (The Supreme Act)
The final and most crucial act of the bullfight is called la suerte suprema, where the matador aims to kill the bull with a well-placed sword thrust. The effectiveness and precision displayed during this act determine the matador’s success. The duration of this phase depends on various factors, such as the bull’s behavior, the matador’s form, and the reaction of the crowd. On average, it lasts about 10 to 20 minutes.
Overall Duration of a Bullfight
Considering the average duration of each act, a full-length bullfight usually ranges from 35 to 50 minutes. However, it is important to note that these durations can vary depending on multiple factors, such as the performance style of the matador, the temperament of the bull, and the dynamic interaction between both parties.
Additionally, the duration can be influenced by the number of bulls fought during a single event. Traditional bullfights typically consist of three or more bulls, which naturally extend the overall duration of the spectacle.