Monday, May 21, 2012

Now we know what the Sardana looks like

Today at noon we arrived at the ballroom in the village for another event in the St. Baldiri festival. It was sardanes dancing, a Catalan folk dance that is a symbol of Catalonian pride. We had no idea what to expect but there up on the stage was the orchestra, called a cobla, which is specific to the sardana. It was comprised of two trumpets, two trombone-type instruments played like trumpets, a double bass, a flabiol i tambori, which is a piccolo-type instrument played with one hand while the other beats a small drum. It was rounded out with tible and tenora, Catalan members of the oboe family.

The music started and after a while a couple got up and started dancing the sardana. As the music continued more people joined the first circle or created new circles. With hands linked, dancers repeated a simple routine, a few short steps and a larger sidestep. Each dance lasted about fifteen minutes, always performed beautifully in perfect unison. The band and dancers would take a break and then the same ritual was repeated. By the end of the dance there were three large circles of dancers. My goal is to join in next time as I think that I have the steps figured out.

We had read that the dance would be followed by a 'vermut passeig' which we translated hopefully as 'vermouth walk'. After our experience with the chocolate walk,  we approached this with caution. Potato chips, olives and quantities of cava -- Spanish sparkling wine, which comes mainly from Catalunya -- were laid out on tables for everyone to enjoy. No vermouth, but a lovely ending to the sardana dance.

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