Friday, 20 December 2013

The Dance of the Sixes

The December ‘puente’ or long weekend had one more event that I found very intriguing: la Danza de los Seises, or the Dance of the Sixes.

This dance carries on a very old tradition which apparently started in the 15th century after the Reconquering of Spain. At only three times of the year little boys dress up into elaborate, beautiful traditional clothes and dance in the Cathedral of Seville in front of the altar for which a small string orchestra and the church choir provide the music. At the beginning they used tambourines to accompany some of the songs but nowadays the boys use castanets. I’ve heard that they are all orphans. Apparently their costumes and songs have been unchanged since the 16th century.

The internet was full of this dance promising something very special and the fact that you can only see it three times a year just fuelled my curiosity even more therefore I was there on the 9th December half an hour early of the Dance to secure a good place to watch it from. At five o’clock a short ceremony started than at half five the boys arrived. Straight away everybody got their phones or cameras out and started to take photos or film them. I did exactly the same.

I’m not sure about the ‘truly special experience’ and the ‘grand solemnity of the occasion’ as it was promised and the fact that there were actually ten of them instead of six was quite a surprise. However I did find it very charming.

The boys were obviously a bit uncomfortable in the unusual outfits and they kept adjusting their clothes and with their hats. Even though they knew the choreography well and the smaller boys followed the older ones’ lead they still sometimes started to step to the wrong direction and that brought out a quick smile from the others.

The Danza de los Seises is performed every day until the 15th December with free entry. The next occasion will be during the Corpus Christi celebrations when instead of blue the boys will wear red coloured clothes.

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