SOUTHERN ITALIAN FOLK DANCE WORKSHOP

Introduction

Southern Italian folk dances trace their roots back to ancient Greece, with connections to Iran, Egypt and Andalusia, as well as to the traditions of the Gypsies who traveled from Rajasthan through North Africa, Morocco and Spain to Sicily and Calabria. Newpoli will teach the steps of Pizzica and Tammurriata, the two folk dances most popular in Italy right now. If you would travel to the regions of Campania, Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata and Sicily, and happen to attend a local festival or “sagra paesana", thanks to this class you will be able to dance together with your Italian family and friends!

Some notes about the featured styles

Pizzica - This dynamic dance originated as a cure for the mythical bite of the Tarantula. Coming from Puglia, the original term is “Pizzica Tarantata", where “Pizzica" means “bite", referring to the “bite of love" that occurred when subconscious desires were repressed by the society. In the South of Italy mostly women were afflicted by the mythical “bite", and the only treatment was through music and dance. The origins of this type of tarantella date back to the ancient orgiastic Greek rites in honor of the God Dionysus, performed by women who reached a state of euphoria, dancing to the rhythms of tambourines. Nowadays the tarantismo has disappeared and we are left with a more courtship form of this style, that is typically danced in pairs, not necessarily involving two individuals of opposite sex. In fact, very often two women can be seen dancing together.

Tammorriata - This elegant and sensual dance from Naples is performed by couples playing castanets to the rhythm of the large drum, called the Tammorra. The dance movements have a strong Spanish and Middle Eastern flourish, with many recognizable movements of the Flamenco and Belly Dance traditions. These movements are set to the beat of African 4/4 rhythms. The Tammorriata is based upon an improvisational style of drumming and singing usually enacted during the summer rituals in honor of the ancient Earth Goddess Cybele, and later, the Black Madonna.

Dance lessons

Students will first learn the basic steps. As soon as they are comfortable with these, the instructor will teach some more advanced variations.

Length/duration

Two hours, divided in 55 minutes for each style with a 10-minute break to rest/use restrooms.

What to wear

Students may want to wear comfortable clothes! For women ideally a midi or long skirt or leggings would be great. Men can wear jeans/pants. Best shoes to wear are: shoes without tread at the bottom will work well, so twists and turns will happen easily. Barefoot is ok as well!