IBICENCAN FOLKLORIC DANCES
Since the exact origin of Ibicencan folk music and dance is unknown, its age is determined by the instruments used, all wind or percussion and handmade with materials that were easily accessible for the Ibicencan farmer (pine and goat or sheepskins for the drum, juniper roots for the ‘castanyoles’ and an oleander branch as a flute).
Ibicenco dancing took place in the church square, next to the communal wells or on the thrashing circle once the farming tasks had been finished. The dance would be initiated by the owner of the house and his female heir, dancing “sa curta”, of gentle rhythm and moves, which would be followed by “sa llarga”, of faster rhythm and sharp movements.
The attitude of men and women is very different during the dances: she, with short steps, lowered eyes and inscrutable manner, appears to glide, drawing circles within which the man dances, with vigorous jumps and gestures as he plays the “castanyoles”, trying not to turn his back on the woman. The party ends with two nuptial dances, “sa filera” and “ses nou rodades”, danced by the couple, and joined into at the end by all the guests to the rhythm of “sa llarga”.
As for the costumes, the oldest one is the “gonella negra”, an outfit from the XVIII century made out of black wool and adorned with a silver and coral brooch, while the man wears a suit of the same material with silver buttons hanging from the waistcoat as well as the jacket. As time went by new varieties appeared, such as the “drap” or the “camisola”.
The “gonella blanca” is from the XIX century, and has pretty much the same pieces as the black one, although the materials used vary. In this case, the large white cotton skirt stands out, given volume by the layers of petticoats worn underneath it by the woman, who is also adorned with a brooch, buttons on the sleeves and engagement rings: up to 24 of them, depending on the wealth of the bridegroom.
After the white outfit came coloured ones in the 19th and 20th centuries, as cotton gave way to other materials which could by then be acquired on the island, making the female outfit more colourful.
Both men and women would wear “espardenyes” on their feet, handmade from esparto grass and pita fiber. The difference between them is that men’s shoes are open-toed while women’s are closed.
One of the many groups on the island that keeps the tradition alive is the Grup Folklòric Sant Jordi de ses Salines, created in 1982 by the Parents’ Association of the Sant Jordi school, nowadays counting 45 members. Its main aim is to teach and promote Ibicencan folklore, and it has many students starting from the age of 4.
These aims of teaching and preserving the local culture are what motivate the members of the Grup to continue working, now that they are an association separate from the school, teaching the dances and the music to all those interested. The Grup promotes this culture all around Spain, taking part in exchanges with many other groups and performing at folk festivals and gatherings. This year 2007 they will be celebrating their 25th anniversary.