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The Amazing Tradition Of Pizzica Dance in Salento

pizzica dance in salento

The Amazing Tradition Of Pizzica Dance in Salento

What is pizzica dance?

In these last years Puglia has become quite a famous region all around the world, with its natural and artistic beauties, its excellent food, its wonderful sea and also with its popular traditions, first of all pizzica dance.

What is it? Pizzica dance is an ancient tradition in Puglia and in particular in the region of Salento, the so-called “heel of the boot”, that includes the whole province of Lecce and part of the territory of Taranto and Brindisi.

The origins of this dance are very remote: it is said there is a relationship with particular rituals of the ancient Greeks, who used to live in this part of Italy, but  this dance originates also from popular habits and customs.  While working in the fields, the paesants were likely to be bitten by some species of spiders whose venom causes reactions such as spasms, convulsions, fainting fits. It was common belief that the only therapy was to “oblige” the patient to dance to the rhythm of a very fast music played by specific musicians, in order to eliminate the venom from the organism. As these spiders were tarantulas, this sort of therapy took the name of “taranta”, that still indicates this kind of lively, rhythmic music.

Together with this therapeutic function, the pizzica dance has always been considered a way to celebrate family and social festivities and that is the way this dance is still very popular today.

dancer of pizzica dance

A pizzica dancer with her musicians (ilrestodelcarlino.it)

Pizzica dance today

It is usually danced in couples, not necessarily a man and a woman: when it is so, the movements often mimic courtship.

Women dance in a very feminine way, with long skirts and their hair down,a nd are often barefoot. They keep handkerchiefs, shawls or scarfs that are waved in rhythm to the music.

The dancing couples are surrounded by the musicians, usually playing tambourines, accordions, violins and guitars, and various spectators who stand in a circle: that is called “ronda” and is a typical aspect of pizzica dance!

 Music festivals in Salento

Every summer in Salento it is plenty of events and music festivals dedicated to pizzica dance, for example in Torre Paduli (Ruffano) or the one in San Vito dei Normanni.

But the most famous festival is the Notte della Taranta (the night of taranta), a touring show that takes place every year in the month of August in different towns of Salento and that culminates in a big concert in Melpignano, where it is possible to admire the performances of many great national and international singers and musicians!

pizzica dance festival

Notte della Taranta: the final even in Melpignano (plus.google.com)

Don’t you find it a wonderful dance? And it is only one of the amazing things you can do during your holidays in Apulia!

If you want to know more, then contact us! And then come and enjoy pur beautiful region!.

Lots of (Apulian) love!
♥♥♥ Claudia
[your friendly neighborhood wedding planner]


Thanks to Antonio Perrone Photographer




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