By Linda Hall •
Updated: 05 Nov 2023 • 12:44
SEVILLANAS: Strict rules that have to be learnt
Photo credit: usercontent.one
SEVILLANAS became noticeably more popular during the early PSOE governments because so many of their ministers were from Andalucia.
Not that Sevillanas had ever been out of favour because learning to dance her way through their sequences was something that every young Spanish woman could do, just as a young woman in the UK once knew how to get through the Gay Gordons or the Dashing White Sergeant.
People, non-Spanish people, often mistake Sevillanas for flamenco which it is not. Now inseparably linked to Andalucia, Sevillanas probably evolved from the Seguidillas that were danced in Castilla as far back as the 15th century although they were later influenced by flamenco in the 19th.
At the time my husband was growing up, Spanish working men regarded going out at night – when they were in funds, that is – as a birthright. But after television arrived, and especially once they could watch it in colour, they tended to stay in much more. Meanwhile, their wives managed to go out a little more, especially after a pre-weekend hairdresser’s session and when they had a fancy to drink Bailey’s or Licor 43 with Coca Cola.
You would see them with their husbands, usually accompanied by at least one other couple so that the women could chat together and the men could talk to the men. During the Eighties they would often end up in places with names like Triana that were dedicated to Sevillanas, especially in resorts like Benidorm where the hotel dances finished at midnight.
That’s when everyone would remember Sevillanas and what was dismissed as too plebeian earlier that evening was suddenly more acceptable. Even if you didn’t want to participate it was still fun to watch as the dancers went through the set steps.
Sevillanas are strictly strict-tempo with rules that are meant to be kept but the dancers always look as though they are having a whale of a time. Having taken Sevillanas classes and abandoned them, I suspect that really they are all just relieved to have got the hang of it at last.
Very late one Saturday night in the mid-Eighties my husband and I had succumbed to the strident siren call of Sevillanas when a bride and her party billowed in. Panniered and bustled, a-rustle with silk and tulle and embroideries, she was as magnificent as a ship in full sail.
A woman who was clearly the mother of the bride looked stern and overwrought, but every other face softened as the daughter danced with her brand-new husband while the other dancers drifted away .
“What’s the matter?” asked my husband.
“Nothing, nothing at all,” I assured him as I pressed a finger to my mascara and blinked away a tear in a gesture repeated by every other woman in the room.
Then the newly-weds finished dancing, the groom trod on the bride’s train and she told him to watch where he put his feet.
Well over three decades later I wonder where she is now and if she remembers the night when she danced Sevillanas in her wedding dress as Saturday night wended its way towards Sunday morning.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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