The Traditional Galician Dance

by Laura Miguez, KONTAKT, Poland

The traditional Galician dance, also known as the regional dance of Galicia, is a rich folkloric heritage that can be found in the autonomous community of Galicia located in the northwest of Spain. Contrary to what many people may think, within traditional dance there are many different types of dances such as: muñeiras, xotas, maneos, ribeiranas, rumbas, polcas… Perhaps the “muñeira” or “muiñieira” is one of the most known and used rhythms, although we can find different variations of it depending on the area in which we are located. If we speak of muñeiras, within the Autonomous Community we can find the normal muñeira, the “muñeira vella” and the “muiñeira ribeirana”.

When we speak of Galician dance we have to differentiate two parts within the dance: the points and the picados. The points are usually started by a boy or girl (although it is usually a boy) who is called a “guía” (guide) who performs a set of dance steps one time and
then the rest of the group should imitate him. The “picados” can be divided into “tablón” or “rueda.” The “tablón” are twists that are made with the group in 2 parallel rows (the row of men in front of the women) and you have to rotate like the blades of a mill; while the “ruedas” the dance group opens to form a circle and continue dancing in the same position.

Within the traditional Galician dance we also have to talk about the “foliadas” that are improvised mini-festivals inside Galicia. Usually a group of people with instruments start playing songs in an improvised way (you don’t need to know much about music) while
people dance to the beat. The funny part of foliadas is that they serve to learn new dance steps and discover new songs and rhythms to play music.

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