Every Italian wedding wouldn’t be complete without the dance of the Tarantella: The Tarantella is a dance of spinning and dancing filled with traditions and a must at an Italian wedding. This dance originated in a town in Italy called Taranto. Legend states that a Spider “the Tarantula” would bite its victim, “the Tarantata” almost always a woman. The spider’s poisonous venom would put the woman in a deep trance and the only way for the woman to survive this bite is for people to surround her and dance a frenzied dance. The people in the town of Taranto in southern Italy would dance for hours until the poison was completely gone.
When the music of the Tarantella plays at an Italian wedding, it never fails that every Italian will get on the dance floor, joining hands with other dancers and create a circle around the bride and groom. The Bride will dance in the middle of the circle trying to excite her new partner and in turn the man tries to charm his bride with his elegance, love and tenderness. The circle around the new couple takes turns swinging the bride and groom around. The dance represents unity and separation, which the dancers swing into each other’s arms and then to be bound away again.
I can only assume that the reason the tarantella is played at an Italian wedding is because it’s the song of Italy. This dance has become a tradition at Italian American weddings representing the family’s Italian heritage. No Italian wedding would be complete unless the tarantella is played and everyone dances.
Informant: The informant of this was my Grandmother, Rosemarie Formica. She loves the essences of her Italian tradition and although many of her children and grandchildren are married they didn’t do this dance at their wedding.
Analysis: I have never seen this done at a wedding and it seems to make a good point by circling around the couple creating unity, but it could possibly be the change in generations. My Grandma did this at her wedding and felt without this dance then the marriage wouldn’t have been true.