What are some traditional Hispanic dances

10 traditional Spanish dances you should know about

Although traditional dance in Spain shows off iconic images of flamenco , there are many variations spread across the country. From the gypsy communities of the south to the Celtic heritage of Galicia in the north, the rich and diverse culture of Spain is perfectly captured by these 10 traditional dances.

Sardana

The origins of the Sardana are not fully understandable - some believe they date from ancient Roman times - but most agree that the dance was widespread in the Catalan regions of Empordà, Roselló and Garrotxa in the 19th century. The dance is performed by a circle of alternating men and women, holding hands and called to the rhythm of a live band cobla to dance. It is a popular group dance performed at celebrations and public gatherings that has become a symbol of Catalan identity.

Sardana, a typical dance in Catalonia © Natursports / Shutterstock

flamenco

Flamenco is undoubtedly one of Spain's most famous cultural exports. It is much more than just a dance: an art form recognized by UNESCO as part of the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. It originated among the gypsy communities of Andalusia and is performed with a mixture of singing, playing guitar, dancing, snapping fingers and clapping hands.

Flamenco dancers in Seville | © Vadim Illarionov / Shutterstock

Muiñeira

A dance in north-western Galicia, the muiñeira is an example of the Celtic influence on local culture in this part of the world. One of the most obvious parallels with Celtic music is the use of a type of bagpipe called the Gaita is known to play the accompanying music. There are regional types of muiñeira, including muiñeira de Chantada .

Muiñeira dancers | © juantiagues / Flickr

Paso doble

The paso doble is one of the most famous Spanish dances and a fast dance based on the rhythm and movement of a bullfight. It was also used in the Spanish infantry to speed up the march, as well as in 18th century comedies, although its origins are indeed French. As a ballroom dance, it is usually performed in pairs, a man and a woman, the first being den Matador - or torero.

Paso Doble Performance in Spain | © Jack.Q / Shutterstock

bolero

The bolero is a type of dance found in both Cuba and Spain - although both have different origins. The Spanish bolero is said to have originated in Spain in the 18th century as a result of the mixing of two existing dances, the Sevillana and the c ontradanza . The dance is at a moderate pace, accompanied by guitar music and castanets, and is usually performed by either a soloist or a couple. Although the dance has gone a little out of fashion, it remains important in the history of Spanish dance.

fandango

The fandango - a name most people have heard of - is a fast-paced dance in pairs and shows similarities with the bolero. It's traditionally accompanied by guitar, hand clapping, and castanets, making it a festive, lively performance - especially the shorter dances known as foundanguillos .

Pierre Chasselat, 'Le Fandango', circa 1810 | © Pierre Chasselat / WikiCommons

Zambra

The Zambra is often referred to as a type of flamenco that emerged from all over the city of Granada, Andalusia, where it was historically performed at weddings. In contrast to flamenco, it is danced barefoot and has many similarities with Arabic belly dance - with which it shares a common ancestry - and the dancer bares her stomach by tying her blouse under her breast.

Zambra, a flamenco dance by the Roma people of Granada | © Waqas Ahmed / Flickr

Iota

The iota is a dance that exists in different regions of Spain, including Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia and Galicia, in different forms, each reflecting the local culture and history. One of the most famous is the Aragonese iota which dates back to the 18th century and was particularly popular in the 19th century. In its purest form, the dance is particularly complex, with quick foot movements and small jumps.

Iota | © Carlos Lorenzo / Flickr

Sevillana

As the name suggests, it is Sevillana a type of folk music and dance that comes from the southern Spanish city of Seville and has similarities with the other Andalusians Dance: Flamenco. Sevillanas, however, are less formal and less physically demanding than flamenco, which means they can be performed by people of all ages and genders, which has made them particularly popular at festivals in southern Spain.

Women playing Sevillana on the street in Spain | © Procy / Shutterstock

Zarzuela

Not just a dance that Zarzuela is more of a popular form of lyric performance with song and dance. The dance dates back to the 17th century and was popularized later in the 19th century, thanks in part to the work of Francisco Barbieri and the Zarzuela Theater in Madrid. After falling out of favor during the Spanish Civil War, it was revived in the 1950s and 1960s and is still played in theaters across the country today.

Modern Zarzuela performance | © Goiena.net / Flickr


Author: Tyler Beck

Tyler Beck is a 26 year old journalist. Communicator. Falling down a lot. Social media mabe. Enthusiastic internet fan. Twitter geek. Professional food junkie.