The Sicilian tarantella as an expression of the soul

The Sicilian tarantella as an expression of the soul 800 533 Dimora delle Balze


The Sicilian tarantella as an expression of the soul

Janaury 11, Acireale

“The tarantella is not something ingrained, as is often thought. It was born during the period of Fascism for a specific need, that of equipping itself with specific costumes and performances, which have little to do with traditional dance”.

The tarantella – whose name derives from the bite of the tarantula and which, by conception, triggered a frenetic dance in those who were bitten – was an ancient choreographic ritual of Southern Italy. It was born as the dance of the people, peasants and shepherds. Originally it was called U ballettu, even though it had different meanings according to the area where it was practiced. Its function was to bring people together, create harmony among them and rebalance what could be the conflicts within the village.

There was no stage, no frontal arrangement or steps to follow. It was an expression of the soul of the dancer, who followed 2 or 3 basic steps that could vary from one area to another. The foot was tapped in time and clever use was made of space and codified figures.

The dancers danced in pairs, while the others were arranged in a circle. U mastru i ballu introduced two people and then the others joined in. What emerged was the individuality, the difference in style, the interpretation, everyone demonstrated their own expressive characteristics.

“Today our dance is influenced by the Calabrian one that is much faster and is played by a different tambourine”, Margherita Badala tells us – Dancer, Teacher of the Feldenkrais Method, Danzaterapeuta and Researcher of Traditional Dances of Southern Italy. “Of course I’m sorry, but these are processes you can’t interfere against.”

Credit to: Margherita Badalà