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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spain - Folk Dances, El Bolero & La Mateixa 2009


The Popular Dances issue is on this occasion made up by “El Bolero” and “La Mateixa”

El Bolero
The origins of “El Bolero” are uncertain and different regions claim to be the birthplace of this type of dance. It is a castillian dance spread throughout Spain with different denominations such as bolero andaluz or bolero madrileño. It is also danced in Cuba and the Caribbean where it fuses with the rhythms of the region. The roots of El Bolero can be found in the contradanza of the XVIII century. It was first performed by the nobility and later on by the common people and in theatres where performances ended with couples dancing the so called national dance, that is a Bolero. It is made up of three parts: the paseo, coplas and desplante accompanied by guitars, tambourines and castanets. The couple performs the same dance steps but the arm and leg movements of the lady are more expressive than the man’s. The stamp is issued with a vignette with no postal value depicting a goyesco bolero.

La Mateixa
“La Mateixa” is one of the most deeply-rooted dances in the Balearic Islands and it is usually performed in all public or private events and has different characteristics from similar dances performed in other regions. In towns and villages in Mallorca it was customary to auction the first dance in parties and festivals where the youngsters in love would bid. However, the winner would not dance with his girlfriend, since she would only dance with a friend or relative of his, whilst the winner held a handkerchief and fan and looked admiringly at her graceful movements. La Mateixa means “the same” in Mallorquin (the language of the Balearic Islands). It refers to each step of the dance and to the exchange of couples since when they all dance at a time, they continuously rotate and always end up with La Mateixa or “the same”. The steps are guided by the woman and the man follows her with his glance. Depending on the area, it is performed in a quiet and reserved manor or with more liveliness and fluency. It is considered to be a courtship dance. The music is played by pipes, guitars, tambourines, and castanets, played to the rhythm of the cheery islands songs. The stamp depicts a couple dancing wearing the typical dress.

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