Thinking of Spain one thing amongst others inevitably jumps into mind. Dancing with passion! Strumming guitars, the sound of stomping feet and of course the dancer or dancers fill up the space with their graceful, energetic and passionate movement to the rhythm of Flamenco. As such, no holiday would be better suited to the International Dance Day than one happening in Spain. Nonetheless, Spain has way more to show in the realm of dancing than the usual, so in case that you want to learn, improve your skills or just dance for fun, here are 5 of the best known traditional Spanish dances to know and the best dancing festivals for each.
Starting from the oldest and most well established, the Jota is the traditional dance of the Aragonese region of Spain. Dating back to the 1700s with a quick pace of 3/8 time, the Aragonese Jota is a dance that you will come across often in mainland Spain as it’s even performed in wakes and funerals. Hailing from ancient carols and folk songs, the best occasion to enjoy it is at the spectacular feast of La Virgin del Pilar in Saragossa which takes place annually on the 12th of October in her honour and attracts thousands of people from the surrounding areas as well.
The national dance of Spain is definitely something that you should try your hand and feet in, if you want to experience the true Spanish spirit. Used as the base for learning French ballet in Spain through its early years, Bolero’s name comes from the Spanish volar which means ‘to fly’. Performed to the sound of guitar and castanets, this folk dance has long magnetised dancers and spectators alike since its inception in the 18th century. Its slow, ¾ time rhythm is best combined with a holiday to Ibiza during the end of September, as one of the biggest festivals dedicated to it, “Kizomba & Bachata Festival” is hosted there on the 22nd-26th of the month.
Bring your partner along and lose yourself to the steps of the cheerful Fandango. Amongst the most traditional dances of Spain, Fandango is characterised by its triple metre rhythm and the two dancers facing each other while not touching. Accompanied by the sound and rhythm of guitar and castanets, Fandango usually takes the form of “courtship” where the dancers take turns trying to impress each other with their moves. The best occasion to enjoy Fandango in all its glory is local music and dance festivals taking place around the country.
Arguably the definition of Spanish dances around the world, the amorous and exciting flamenco has enjoyed widespread popularity with dance schools and competitions popping up all over the world. Originating in Extremadura, Andalusia and Murcia, the Flaminco discipline includes guitar playing, singing, dancing, vocalisations, hand clapping and finger snapping and invites the crowd to participate in bringing its vivid spirit to life. The best occasion to dance in is one of the local flamenco festivals around the country which also incorporate other dances as well, giving you the chance to enjoy flamenco at its fullest in its place of origin.
You don’t have to be a bullfighter to engage in this type of dance but it would nonetheless prove helpful. Based on the movements of both the fighter and the bull competing in the ring, Pasodoble is a lively dance that will certainly make you want to experience its passion on a holiday to Spain. Making its way to other latin countries, Pasodoble never ceases to amaze so if you happen to be around Spain around May, make sure you don’t miss the Crosses of May festival on the 3rd of the month where various dancing events are hosted.