Traditions of Ibiza – Ball Pagès

January 15th, 2009 - 1:52 pm Posted in ball pages, ibiza, tradition | Comments (0)

ibiza traditionsTo really understand Ibicenco folk dancing – its origin, its evolution and its role in present day island society – one must travel back to the Middles Ages (spanning both the Islamic and the Christian cultures) when Ibiza was primarily an agricultural society. Island inhabitants had few distractions apart from the sowing and reaping of farm life and, for centuries, xocotes, or informal fiestas, provided a social framework for human interaction and celebration. Xocotes were generally spontaneous rural gatherings where Ibicencos found joyous release from their daily toil through popular song and dance.

The inevitable encroachment of modern life that came with tourism brought about an abrupt shift from the slow, agrarian based economy to a fast paced, business orientated economy. In the space of only twenty years, the island’s social structures and day-to-day activities, which had literally been ingrained over millennia, were completely altered.

Threat To Tradition

By the early 1960’s, folklore was on the road to oblivion as go-go dancing arrived, Elvis Presley and The Beatles instituted themselves as icons of modernity, even in a society as remote as Ibiza. The situation quickly became critical as only a few families conserved the ancient knowledge of folk dancing, the craft of carving instruments from wood and the confection of typical apparel.

Interestingly, prior to this state of affairs (in the early 1950’s), the Council of Culture had begun to organise folk dancing teams to compete at national and international level. These teams met with great success, consistently winning first and second prizes at folk festivals all over Spain and Europe. However, being made up of relatively few members, this endeavour encompassed only a small slice of the island’s native population. Moreover, the teams were entrenched in a certain aloof officialdom, their sole focus being to compete in off-island performances. Not even dress rehearsals were practised in public.

You can read the full article by Emily Kaufman here: Traditions of Ibiza – Ball Pagès

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