How to Dance the Tarantella
Originating in southern Italy, the Tarantella is a vibrant and energetic folk dance. Flaunting its rich history, this lively dance has evolved over time while retaining its traditional charm. Considered an essential skill at Italian family gatherings and celebrations, learning how to Tarantella is a beautiful way to connect with Italian culture. Follow our step-by-step guide and get ready to showcase your moves at your next event!
History of the Tarantella
The Tarantella’s origins trace back to the coastal city of Taranto in Puglia. The dance took its name from the local legend that it was a cure for tarantism, a mysterious illness supposedly caused by the venomous tarantula bite. The frenetic movements of the dance were meant to help remove toxins from the body. However, many historians believe that tarantism was a psychological affliction rather than an actual physical condition.
Today, many variations of this exuberant dance are performed across Italy during weddings, festivals, and ceremonial events.
Step-by-Step Guide to Dancing the Tarantella
1. Gather around in a circle:
As a group dance, performers typically stand around in a circle, leaving ample space between each other. Before starting, choose either live or recorded traditional Italian music that features tambourines or accordion tunes.
2. Master the basic steps:
While different regions have their own Tarantella styles and movements, some fundamental steps include:
– Side steps (Passetto): Using quick footwork, take a small step sideways with one foot while bringing your other foot together.
– Gallop steps (Saltarello): Similar to skipping, perform one small step followed by a larger step while maintaining rhythm.
3. Organize your sequences:
Often danced in pairs or groups, you’ll need to integrate side-to-side movements with your circle as a whole. First, perform a series of 8 passetto steps, followed by the saltarello steps in synchronization with your fellow dancers.
4. Embrace the tempo changes:
As a crucial aspect of the Tarantella, the music’s tempo will likely shift throughout your performance. These gradual transitions from slow to fast mirror the symbolical release of energy that gave birth to the dance. Maintain focus, and ensure you match your steps with these pace alterations.
5. Incorporate arm movements:
As you gain confidence in your footwork, integrate lively arm movements to bring more character to your dance. Tapping tambourines, waving handkerchiefs or simply raising and lowering your arms in smooth arcs aid in maintaining rhythm and exhibiting dramatic flair.
6. Rotate within your circle:
During pauses between sequences, rotate around the circle or switch partners. It adds enthusiasm and generates excitement by constantly invigorating the Tarantella’s energetic ambiance.
From its rich folklore history to its dynamic movements and infectious energy, embracing the Tarantella showcases La Dolce Vita–the sweet life–in its purest form. Dance away those fears of tarantulas and enjoy connecting with Italy’s vibrant culture at weddings, family gatherings, or joining local celebrations. Buon divertimento!