La Sardana – A Catalan Heritage Festivity

Does your country have a traditional dance? Here in Catalonia exists a dance unique to the Catalan culture known as the Sardana. La Sardana is said to have originated in the region of Empordà in the northern towns of Catalonia but gained popularity across the region in the twentieth century! The exact date of the creation of La Sardana is unknown however, some records state that the dance was performed as early as the sixteenth century!

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The dance is performed in a circle and the group of dancers perform the songs with their hands linked. The main movements are done with the legs and feet. There are two main types of La Sardana: the long and the short steps. However, nowadays there exists many new variations of the dance and the moves have become a bit more modern. Nonetheless, the music and the basic counts of movement remain the same.

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La Sardana even has its own band that accompanies the dancers with the music. The songs are performed by a Cobla which is a band typically consisting of 10 wind instruments played by 11 musicians. The band is responsible for keeping the rhythm and tempo throughout the performance as well as playing an introduction and exit for the dancers.

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It is said that La Sardana is symbolic of Catalan nationalism. In fact, the rise of the dance took place during the period of the Catalan Renaixença or rebirth of the Catalan culture in the early nineteenth century. Another interesting fact is that the Catalan government or the Generalitat de Catalunya declared the dance as a festivity of national interest in 2010. Currently, there are numerous professional Sardana dance groups known as Colles. This dance is a true embodiment of the Catalan heritage and it will remain a an important display of the unique Catalan identity.

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