Ball Pagès, love stories through the dance

By 12 August, 2013 August 3rd, 2020 No Comments

One of Ibiza’s most authentic and typical traditions that has survived until nowadays, are the traditional dances (“ball pagès”, peasant dance in Ibicenco), a clear sign of Ibicenco popular culture and folklore and everything around it, not only the dance itself, but the musical instruments, the songs and the traditional costumes and dresses. During the celebrations of the different villages of the island is common to see demonstrations of this traditional dance in the front porch of the churches and around old water wells.

We could describe it in a few words that the man invites the woman to dance playing hard the castanets. The dancers dress colourful costumes and typical jewelry called “emprendadas”.

The most common “ball pagès” dances are:

“Sa Curta” (the Short One in Ibicenco). The one used to open the celebration and was danced by the owner of the water well, by the heir of the house or by the bride’s parents in law, depending on what they were celebrating or the kind of event. It doesn’t last very long and the music rhythm and the steps are kind of slow. More suitable for the older people.

“Sa Llarga” (The Long one). The male dancer chooses the female with a hard castanets sound. The music lasts longer and its rhythm is faster. This way the young ones could show their energy and strength. At the end of this dance the man kneels in front of the lady excusing his boldness and she responds with a bow.

There are many more types, yet “Ses nou rodades” (The nine couples) is the most important one and possibly the nicest “ball pagès”  dance in Ibiza. A wedding ceremony, in which nine different engaged couples perform the dance at the same time, unlike the other styles in which the man always chooses the lady. The man goes around the lady, then the lady steps away and then they meet again in the centre. From the sixth circle the man does around the lady, she shows her 24 rings which previously the man gave the bride as a gift.

And the musical instruments that are always used to play the “ball pagès” dance music are: the castanets, made out of juniper and with a large size, a drum, a flute, an “Espasí”, which is a percussion metal instrument that reminds of a sword and which is played with a metal bar and it sounds like a musical triangle or like the also typical “xeremia” (the flageolet), which aren’t used for the dance yet is a wind instrument very typical in Ibiza, which was used by the shepherds and also for music improvisations. photography