Pizzica Dance

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Pizzica… Salento Tarantella because dancing is good !

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Like all popular traditions, the pizzica and the Salento tarantella have lived through history, many stories to tell

The pizzica in particular was born and developed from a religious and therapeutic phenomenon since ancient times in which in Italy pagan gods were still worshiped and cultural traditions closely linked to the rhythms of peasant life were followed

In fact, the hypnotic music and the frenetic rhythm of the pizzica had a precise exorcistic function, because it was used as a cure for the so-called "tarantolate" those women suffering from a sort of psychological and existential malaise which in its symptomatic manifestations was expressed in forms very similar to hysterical convulsions and insanity. In ancient times it was believed that the cause of this form of "madness" was to be attributed to the bite of a very common spider in the countryside of southern Italy, the tarantula, and that the convulsions and loss of knowledge of women was the sign of a form of poisoning caused by spider bite.

In reality, the bite of the spider today is considered a legendary trait, and the symptomatology of tarantolate is rather attributed to very dramatic manifestations of discomfort especially of the female population, so subordinate and submissive in the peasant culture of the past. Currently, the practice of exorcism of the tarantula bite through dance has almost disappeared, although examples of this use still remain. The stories of the past tell that after the bite of the tarantula, the person fell into a state of shock from which only the music could awaken him; the person danced and specialized musicians played for her until she could cancel the effect of the poison. This represented a collective moment during which we were estranged from the constraints and moral rules of the community, a sort of liberating moment in which the whole population participated.

The pizzica pizzica is a lively dance for couples, widespread until the last war and appears as a term in the sources only at the end of the eighteenth century. Today it lives for the most part in the memory of the elderly of Salento, and provides in the dances characteristic movements very linked to the sense of circularity also highlighted by the patrol itself. If you think of the pizzica danced in the village festivals and festivals, the patrol with its musicians and drummers characterizes the whole square, concentrating all the attention: it is not just a side dish, but it is the chosen place for the dance, it is the space par excellence. This is why in the various events in the square, but also in those performed during private parties such as baptisms and weddings, the patrol is always there and contributes to the rediscovery of traditional Salento folklore and culture.

The pizzica or fencing dance involves a dance between men only, contemplating different ways of shielding, for example by mimicking the knife with the fingers of the hand and with other not easily interpretable gestures. The dancers find themselves tied by rhythm and movement: the bond that is established between them is of an ancestral type and has its roots also in love competition, making dance a challenging moment in which one compares, exhibiting talents. of agility, creativity and physical prowess.

 

 

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pizzica teacher pizzica dance pizzica pizzica dance il ballo della pizzica

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The Taranta Festival and the recovery of tradition Although the therapeutic and curative dimension of pizzica have slowly disappeared, the fact remains that dancing is good for the body and spirit. The charm and beauty of hypnotic and frenetic music has made its way especially in the hearts and minds of young people, who, especially in Salento, have been able to recover a cultural and musical tradition that was in danger of disappearing. A striking example of this recovery is certainly the traveling festival held every year in the most beautiful villages of Salento and culminates in Melpignano, during La Notte della Taranta. A festival that has quickly become one of the most important events from a musical, social and cultural point of view for the recovery of popular tradition, but also for the contaminations and innovations that the renewed interest in pizzica has generated in recent years, attracting numerous internationally renowned artists involved in the most anticipated musical event of the summer.

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