Taifas dance (bailes de Taifas)

Taifas Dance is not a concrete dance or song. It’s rather a traditional way of celebrating a musical encounter, determined by circumstances. It’s common to every island in the archipelago, with little differences among them. In this island, characterised by its long distances, dance has always been one of the main means of social integration.

Originally this dance was performed in special occasions. They used to take place in little spaces, no more than three of four couples could dance at a time, usually in particular houses where one of the rooms was fit out for the occasion: furniture was moved, chairs were placed around the stage and women sat there. Men were waiting outside, in the street, or in the yard if there was one. There the host used to have a table with a bottle of rum and/or wine so they could have some «pizcos» during the celebration.

A man used to be at the entrance hall, controlling the attendance to the dance, and according to some authors he also charged an admission fee, depending on the occasion. If there was no admission fee, people used to bring a present to the family who had arranged the event. The musicians, usually guitar, «timple» and «bandurria» players were located at one of the corners, from where they livened up the dancing. Soloists were specially appreciated for their outstanding voices or their wit to improvise songs.

The host could also have a little table to lay some presents, like candles or bags with spices so that men could buy something to persuade either their mother or the girl they expected to dance with. With the collected money they could recover their investment, for example, drinks. On some occasions this kind of events helped the family economy.

Any Taifas dance worth its salt used to finish with some rivalry among the men, either because of their drinking or because of a woman.

The dances that used to be performed in these celebrations were the most rhythmical ones, like the «isas», «folias», «seguidillas» and «malagueñas»; later on «polcas» and «mazurcas» were introduced, in the XIX century; at the beginning of the XX century, «pasodobles», fox-trot, waltzes and even rumbas were also danced.

The introduction of these new styles turned the musical instruments used for these dances to more and more sophisticated.

At present, The Great Taifas Dance is celebrated on the Canaries Day and thousands of people will meet in Puerto de Rosario. It will also be a meeting point for gastronomy, dance, regional costumes and popular music.

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