Encyclopedia of Dance: Tarantella
Fast, faster, even faster — this is the main principle of the performance of the tarantella. The frantic pace of the dance makes the performer give all the best, involving more and more new dancers in the action.
Tarantella is a dance that originated in the 15th century in southern Italy. Its name, according to one version, comes from the name of the poisonous spider tarantula. According to another version, the dance got its name from the Italian city of Taranto, where the tarantella is believed to have originated.
History of occurrence
There are several legends associated with this dance. One of them says that in ancient times, during the sacrifice, the chosen victim was closed in a room filled with tarantulas. The victim was forced to jump among the poisonous spiders to the music, hoping to avoid being bitten. The tempo of the music gradually accelerated, and the exhausted victim fell from fatigue and died.
There is another version of the origin of the dance. She is also related to the exotic tarantula spider. According to legend, the bite of a spider caused a terrible disease — «tarantism». Every sick person was doomed to death. And only one salvation was for the bitten — a swift, unbridled dance that disperses the blood and neutralizes the effect of the poison.
How true these legends are is unknown. But in the past, people did believe in the healing power of dance. Doctors even argued which gave a greater effect — fast dance moves or music.
However, in the Middle Ages, the clergy had a negative attitude towards this dance. Attributing healing power to the tarantella, ordinary people justified their feasts and frantic dances after them. There is a known case when, during the funeral of a virtuous Parisian priest, a young woman was healed of paralysis by touching the deceased with her sick hand. This incident was the beginning of violent action in the cemetery of Saint-Médard. «Dances of healing» began to take place there constantly, accompanied by screams, antics, obscene sounds. The word «tarantella» has become synonymous with indecent action.
It was believed that only women from the lower social strata danced this expressive dance to the accompaniment of a tambourine, however, already in the 17th century, Cardinal Barberini introduced the performance of the tarantella at court. Soon the dance became popular in other states — Germany, the Netherlands, France. Leading composers have immortalized temperamental dance in their works more than once. P. Tchaikovsky, K. Debussy, F. Liszt, F. Chopin, D. Rossini and others turned to the original Italian dance in their work.
What is a tarantella?
Tarantella can be danced in pairs and solo. A feature of the dance is its frisky, ever-accelerating pace. However, if the dance was performed by a married couple, then it could be restrained — graceful and elegant. The ancient tarantella had a musical size of 2/4 or 4/4, later the size of 3/8 or 6/8 became traditional. The melody in triplets is characteristic of the dance.
Tarantella is a synthesis of Moorish and Spanish dances that have absorbed Italian national characteristics. In Naples, this dance was performed by a couple: young people used it to woo a girl. Often he had the character of a duel: the gentlemen fought for the attention of the lady and competed who would dance whom. The musicians had to clearly capture the mood of the dancers, who, getting into the taste, more and more accelerated the pace. Tarantella movements are sharp, clear, often accompanied by singing.
Types of tarantella
In each region of Italy, the dance is danced differently, but always temperamentally and at a fast pace. There are Neapolitan and Sicilian tarantella. A feature of the Sicilian tarantella is the use of castanets in the dance, while the Neapolitan version of the dance is performed to the tambourine. Tarantella happens:
- steam room
Each of these types of dance combines a rapid pace, a frantic temperament, a cheerful, cheerful mood.
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