|The Catalan / Valencian cultural domain|
Group dancing sardanes in Barcelona
The sardana (Catalan pronunciation: [sərˈðanə], Western Catalan: [saɾˈðana]; plural sardanes) is a type of circle dance typical of Catalonia, Spain. The dance was originally from the Empordà region, but started gaining popularity throughout Catalonia during the 20th century.
There are two main types, the original sardana curta (short sardana) style and the more modern sardana llarga (long sardana), which is more popular. Other more unusual sardanes are the sardana de lluïment and the sardana revessa.
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 Empordà 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 Renaixença 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.
In the year 2010, the Generalitat de Catalunya (catalonia government) added the sardana to the Catàleg del Patrimoni Festiu de Catalunya (catalonia's festivities heritage catalogue) and declared it a festivity of national interest.
Sardana band 
Music for the sardana is played by a cobla, a band consisting of 10 wind instruments, double bass and a tamborí (very small drum) played by 11 musicians. The cobla has five woodwind instruments: the flabiol which is a small fipple flute, and the tenora and tible (two of each) which belong to the oboe family. These and the tamborí are typical Catalan instruments. The brass instruments include: two trumpets, two fiscorns (a type of saxhorn created by Adolph Sax during the 19th century), and a trombone (usually a valve trombone). The double bass was traditionally a three-stringed one, but now the part is usually written for and played on the modern (four-stringed) instrument.
In Spanish and French Catalonia, about one hundred and thirty cobles are active, most of which are amateur orchestras. Outside Catalonia, there is at least one more cobla: Cobla La Principal d'Amsterdam.
Sardana dance 
The music written for the dance is a sardana (pl. sardanes), and is usually in two sections (tirades), called curts and llargs, each of which may be repeated in various ways to form the pattern for the complete dance. The dance tempo is usually a steady metronome beat of about 112, in a 2/4 and/or 6/8 rhythm.
- The introit is a few measures played freely by the flabiolist, typically ending with an upward scale and a tap of the tamborí, signalling the other players and dancers to begin the curts.
- The first tirada played by the band is called the curts ("short steps"), of length between 20 and 50 measures, and has a two-measure pattern danced with the arms down: (point-step-step-cross) to the right followed by (point-step-step-cross) to the left. The first time it is played it is usually repeated.
- The second tirada is called the llargs ("long steps"), 50 - 100 measures, has a four-measure pattern danced with the arms up to shoulder level, and is more lively than the curts. The first time it is played it is usually repeated.
- The contrapunt, like the introit, is played by the flabiolist, and is a two-measure break before the last repeat of the llargs.
- The cop final ("final beat") concludes the dance with a unified movement from all the dancers, still holding hands.
- The modern sardana dance has the following pattern, which shows all the repeats of the curts and llargs:
- 1. introit
- 2. curts
- 3. curts
- 4. llargs
- 5. llargs
- 6. curts
- 7. llargs
- 8. contrapunt
- 9. llargs
- 10.cop final
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.
A dancer is called a sardanista (pl. sardanistes).
As a relatively slow, non-performance 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.
In order to dance sardanes comfortably the footwear must be flexible enough to allow the dancer to jump slightly when the largs come. Traditionally sardanistes wear special dancing shoes called espardenyes made of esparto grass fabric and with two long fabric strips to tie them up around the ankle. Nowadays most people have replaced these with regular trainers.
Many sardanes have sung versions, but mostly instrumental versions are used for dancing. Recordings of sardanes or sardanes played in concert usually contain the introit, two curts and two llargs. Sardanes may be recorded for dancing, having all the entrades in order. Often sardanes are written for special occasions or to commemorate people.
Composers of sardanes 
- Josep Maria "Pep" Ventura (1819-1875)
- Enric Morera i Viura (1865-1942), composer of the most popular sardana La Santa Espina
- Joan Lamote de Grignon i Bocquet (1872-1949)
- Josep Serra i Bonal (1874-1939)
- Juli Garreta i Arboix (1875-1925)
- Vicenç Bou i Geli (1885-1962)
- Eduard Toldrà i Soler (1895-1962)
- Robert Gerhard (1896-1970)
- Ricard Lamote de Grignon i Ribas (1899-1962), son of Joan Lamote de Grignon
- Francesc Mas i Ros (1901-1985)
- Joaquim Serra i Corominas (1907-1957), son of Josep Serra
- Josep Maria Mestre Miret (1918-2002), winner of two sardana awards
- Joan-Luís Moraleda (1943- )
- Joan Gibert Canyadell (1941- )
See also 
- Origin of the sardana [in Spanish]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: sardanes|
- El testament d'Amèlia Video of a performance of this sardana (composer Joan Lamote de Grignon) by the cobla "Comtat d'Empúries" in Castelló d'Empúries.
- La Santa Espina A centenary performance of this emblematic sardana by the group "Dansaires del Penedès" in Tarragona.
- 45-sec Video of Sardana dance and music on Commons
- The Sardana and I by Coby Lubliner
- Catalan Dancing in Barcelona, Sardana Dance
- Sardana video
- El bloc sardanista dels Botet Extensive work with pictures, comments and documentation on all the diverse activities related to the world of Sardanes that the family Botet has attended to since 2001. The family Botet attends to a high variety of gatherings, dances and music concerts.