Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Whilst wandering the streets of Barcelona on a sunny(ish) Saturday afternoon, I happened into the square outside the Cathedral, as a small band were giving a concert. A scene that can be seen in parks and squares all over the world. The difference was that this square was full of people who had formed circles, holding hands at arms length and were dancing. The circles were both big and small and the people were of all ages. The dancing consisted of very precise and quite subtle steps with little upper body movement (sometimes the arms went up and sometimes down, but that was about it).

I have since found out (thanks to Google) that this was Sardana. This is a traditional Catalan dance and a potent symbol of their identity (Franco banned it along with the language).

I found the sight of all these people dancing together fascinating and truly lovely. I spent a couple of hours and a couple of hundred frames trying to photograph it. It was not easy.

I was particularly taken with trying to frame dancers through the arms of others in the rings. This was my best effort.

The hardest thing of all was trying to convey the sight of the square full of dance circles. There were just too many spectators milling around to make a successful image.

Sardana is accompanied by a small group of musicians called a ‘cobla’. This consists of a selection of brass and woodwind instruments, together with a double bass. It is lead by the ‘flaviol(a type of flute similar to a picalo), normally played by the left hand while the player uses the right hand to beat a small drum, called a 'tamborí, attached to the left elbow.

No comments:

Post a Comment