Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spain - Folk Dances, El Candil & Las Seguidillas 2009

The stamps devoted to El Candil and Las Seguidillas, depict different steps of these folk dances performed by dancers in their traditional costumes wearing hats and scarves.

El Candil
El Candil takes its name from the fiestas held by candlelight and oil lamps long before electricity. It is a typical dance from the region of Extremadura and specially famous in the town of Olivenza ( Badajoz). It is said to have a Portuguese origin and is performed by a group of dancers in a circle making slow movements at the beginning and getting faster progressively with cheerful hammering of the heels on the floor and clapping from the public. The purpose of these gatherings was for young men and women to meet and the common way to ask a woman to dance was saying “please”. If another man wished to join in, he had to ask the man for permission, never the lady. The dance ends with a ritual embrace where the man puts his arms over the woman’s shoulders in a restrained manner. If this gesture was more effusive, the man could be rebuked. As in other folk dances, El Candil is accompanied by either gallantry songs or by cheeky and witty ones. The woman can reply to these compliments with another song expressing her rejection or her acceptance.

Las Seguidillas
The word Seguidillas refers to both a metric composition and to a popular dance, which according to experts, is the most characteristic of Spain. Its origin is claimed by various autonomous regions but it is commonly accepted as coming from La Mancha from where it spread to the rest of the country. It is accompanied by guitars, bandurrias, lutes, castanets and other instruments to a ¾ beat and four verse stanzas with various themes, from love, to sayings and jests. In the dance, there is always a musical introduction followed by the chorus and nine beat verses. The funniest part being the bien parao, which means standing still in the position the dancer is in the last note. Amongst the different varieties of Seguidillas are the manchegas, sevillanas, boleras, murcianas, chambergas and the gitanas and seguirillas, slower and a bit like flamenco.

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