Sardana (Dance)

“There’s a dance that’s called Sardana, which is very very different than Flamingo, which is the typical dance people think about when they think about Spain. Um, it is a more, it’s more quiet, and you dance it as a group. So you kind of hold hands and make a circle similar to, I don’t know, maybe with the Greeks Sirtaki where the people are holding hands. Um there is a group leader that counts the steps as you’re dancing and he announces what comes next. There are three basic steps to the dance and you follow the song. It’s played with only three instruments, una grulla, which is a very different flute, a little drum, and then a variation of a flute, so it’s kind of two flutes with a little drum. What I like from that dance is um, no matter how good or bad you are, (of course there’s always professional groups that dance together) but whenever there is a celebration, everyone joins a big circle. So kind of the town gets to do something together at the same time which is also really really nice. And origins come from Middle Ages and have evolved, and again during Franco’s time they were forbidden, but after Franco died I think there has been a renewal of the tradition and a big effort by the Catalan government to get them back to the society. They’re brought into schools and kids are taught how to dance the Sardanas these days.”

This dance is simple, but very important for celebrating and bringing people together. As with the other cultural traditions of Cataluña that the informant mentioned, this one was also influenced by Franco’s strict rules. Despite these restrictions, it is obvious that the dance is valued because they are making such an effort to promote it and teach it to the new generation. Like the Castells, this ritual is a way for people to feel the unity of their town or region, because everyone is joined together. It is a treasured Spanish dance (though not the well known Flamingo), but the informant also relates it to a Greek dance, so she does not necessarily take ownership of it for Spain exclusively.