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La sardana (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardana) History The origin of the sardana is not clear. Some say that it was already popular in the 16th century. What remains undisputed is that the sardana was a popular dance in the EmpordĂ region by the end of the 19th century. Contributing to its mounting popularity by this time were the additions from similarly popular genres such as zarzuela and the popular Italian operas of the time, which increasingly made the sardana a fad dance. As the rise of the sardana took place, in the context of the RenaixenĂ§a or newborn Catalan nationalism, the origins of the dance were embellished in order to symbolize a distinct Catalan ethos as to serve Catalan nationalism. Modern choreography was established as late as the end of the 19th century and features slight differences from the original North-Catalonian dance. Pep Ventura's band is credited for stabilizing different variants around a clear 6/8 rhythm and fixing the instrumental ensemble. Though some Iberian and Mediterranean circle dances follow similar patterns, instrumental music for the sardana has achieved a complexity of its own.
Sardana dance The music written for the sardana dance is also called a sardana (pl. sardanes), and is usually in two sections (tirades), each of which may be repeated in various ways to form the music for the complete dance. There is always first a simple, free introduction introit played by the flabiol, concluded by a drum tap of the tamborĂ, which leads immediately into the dance. The dance tempo is usually a steady metronome beat of about 112, in a 2/4 and/or 6/8 rhythm. The first tirada played by the band is called the curts ("shorts", length between 20 and 50 measures) and has a two-measure pattern danced with the arms down: (pointstep-step-cross) to the right followed by (point-step-step-cross) to the left. The second tirada is called the llargs ("longs", 50 - 100 measures) and has a four-measure pattern danced with the arms up, and this may become more lively. The number of measures in the curts and llargs, called the tiratge or "run", is important to the players, and may be indicated before the start of the dance (e.g. a "run" shown as 25x79 indicates 25 measures of curts and 79 measures of llargs) in order to terminate the tirada correctly with the correct foot, though a method commonly used is to count the measures in the first tirada and not dance until the second has begun. There is a pattern of tirades danced, which may be curts, curts, llargs, llargs, curts, curts, llargs, llargs; a two-measure break called contrapunt; llargs; contrapunt; llargs. A dancer is called a sardanista (pl. sardanistes). As a relatively slow, nonperformance dance, the sardana does not require special fitness. The dance circle can be opened to a highly variable number of dancers. When danced in the streets and town squares, small circles of dancers can be seen to form and grow: often passers-by join in, leaving their bags in the center of the circle. The dancers are alternate men and women, and care must be taken by those joining not to split partners. These are open circles, called rotllanes obertes. Another kind of circle may be formed by members of organised sardana clubs called colles, and each colla may wear its own costume.