Saturday, July 2, 2011

Danza de los Enanos

Every five years, the island of La Palma celebrates the Virgen de las Nieves (Virgin of the Snow) festival, which includes a little show called the Danza de los Enanos, or Dance of the Dwarves. It's long, so I won't blame you if you don't watch the whole thing. You should, however, watch at least the first two minutes, so you get a taste of it. Also, 8:55. At the very least.

This website describes the dance, but fails to explain its origins.
During the festival a short show is given which has 2 distinct parts. The first part is performed in a somber and stiff manner, after which the players disappear into one side of a small tent and re-appear, magically transformed, a few seconds later on the other side dressed as dwarves with large triangular hats. The dwarfs then perform an amusing and traditional dance.
The show is short and repeated several times in the "theatre area" and then throughout the whole night at strategic points along the main street of the old town ending up at daybreak near the ship (Barco de La Virgen).
Performing in the show is considered an honour, but also very very hard work, because of the weight of the costumes, and the number of times the performance is repeated throughout the evening and night. The secret of the transformation is handed down from father to son.

Apparently, it's ridiculously expensive to attend, not to mention difficult, as tickets run out months in advance. I don't understand it, but I'm thoroughly amused.

1 comment:

  1. Me ha dicho en Santa Cruz un señor de La Palma que ha bailado esta Danza de los Enanos en el pasado, igual que sus antepasados, que son adultos los que bailan. Su cabeza queda en la parte alta del sombrero y la máscara les queda a la altura del abdomen o vientre. Vamos, que no son niños ni enanos los que bailan, aunque pueda parecerlo. Supongo que el dibujo de la parte alta del gorro tendrá rejillas por donde los actores bailarines puedan ver.