Origin of sevillanas
Sevillanas are the most typical Andalusian dance and typical of the Feria or Rocío, but do we know its origin? We tell you about it in a new post of our blog.
The current sevillanas as we know them today were formerly called seguidillas sevillanas, they were and still are danced in pairs and their origin is of a festive nature. The music that accompanies this dance has its origins in the seguidilla from La Mancha, from which it inherited its structure but, due to contact with other Andalusian music, its sound has been flamencoised.
The beginnings of sevillanas date back to the years before the Catholic Monarchs came to the throne. The dance was added in the 18th century, until it evolved into the dances and songs of today's sevillanas.
This style is also documented in all the dances held in Seville and many other Spanish capitals from the 19th century to the present day. In 1847 it is announced in the newspaper 'El Comercio' of Cádiz that 'Sevillanas jaleadas' will be danced, which will probably form models like the 'corraleras'.
What is a sevillana in Spain?
Sevillanas are a type of Spanish folk dance that is related to the southern part of Spain, specifically Andalusia. They are danced to flamenco music: voice, Spanish guitar, flamenco cajón, castanets... They are sung and danced in different fairs that are celebrated in Andalusia, especially in the Feria de Abril in Seville or in the pilgrimage of El Rocío, in the village of Almonte in Huelva and in the pilgrimage of the Virgen de la Cabeza, in the province of Jaén.
The sevillanas dance has 43 bars. The Sevillana was born to accompany the dance. It is danced in couples, in batches or series of 4 sevillanas.
The composition of the sevillanas dance
To dance sevillanas, the melody is usually syllabic, generally dispensing with singing and the four seguidillas (generally with identical music) are made up of:
- Introduction of 3 or more bars, which serves as a preparation for the dance.
- Exit (first verse, 3 bars).
- Vuelta (instrumental ritornelo of 3 bars).
- Lyrics, which consist of three groups of bars, the first two of 12 bars plus "vuelta" and the last one of 10 bars, thus concluding the first sevillana, until completing the 43 bars that each one consists of.
The 'segunda', 'tercera' and 'cuarta' (second, third and fourth) are usually announced loudly, to warn the dance of the corresponding choreography.
There are several types of sevillanas, which differ from one another in the melody on which they are sung and the way they are accompanied, while they all maintain the structure of four seguidillas lyrics separated from each other by the position of the bolero dance. Among the most popular variants are boleras (tradition of the bolero school), de las cruces de mayo, corraleras (neighbourhood courtyards), bíblicas (a type of sevillanas from Alosno, Huelva) with lyrics referring to the Old Testament, which leads us to think of a Jewish origin, de feria, rocieras (dedicated to the Blanca Paloma, with bagpipes and drums).
The sevillana costume, also known as the flamenco dress, is a traditional female dress of the Andalusian gypsies, typically worn for the festive events of Andalusian fairs or flamenco performances, and has become an icon of Andalusian culture and Spanish fashion.
The most common model consists of a fitted, ankle-length garment; it is decorated with ruffles that can be placed on the skirt or on the sleeves. They are usually brightly coloured in both plain and patterned designs, the most typical being polka-dot suits. One of their star accessories are shawls or mantillas, it is also traditional to wear their hair in a bun, flowers in their hair, big earrings and wide-heeled shoes.
The men also have their own costume, the typical Andalusian short dress.
Most famous sevillanas performers
The most famous performers of sevillanas are La Niña de los Peines, La Paquera de Jerez, María Vargas, Manuel Gerena, Los Marismeños, Romeros de la Puebla, Amigos de Gines, Brisas de Huelva, Los de la Trocha, Los del Río, Los Alegría, Los Choqueros and El Pali.
Sevillanas is a living dance that has evolved over time and will surely continue to do so.