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Tradition and Folklore

The Tarantella

Sorrento doesn’t offer just art and culture, but also folklore, with its traditions, its songs and the Tarantella dance. Without a doubt one of the memories of Sorrento which the tourist brings home, is that of the Tarantella.The origins of this dance are uncertain as it is not clear whether it was named after the city of Taranto or the poisonous spider, the tarantola, whose bite is said to cause the dance’s movements. What is certain is that the character of the Tarantella is clearly popular as it was once used to celebrate important moments of country life.


In our countryside, it was used in particular to celebrate the vine harvest, whose inebriating atmosphere was an invitation to happiness. Although the Tarantella was widespread throughout southern Italy, its greatest fame was attained in Sorrento, where it is still important as a sign of the uninterrupted tradition of a popular custom. In its moves, in the costumes, so cheerful and vibrant in colour, the fresh grace of a popular but uncommon dance is revived and, with exquisite gracefulness, it exalts the charms of our area.
The rhythm of the Tarantella is always lively and the lyrics, whether common or refined, are always accompanied by typical instruments like the mandolin, the guitar and the violin with the rhythm beaten on tambourines and castanets by the dancers.The particular charm of the Tarantella has always held an attraction for poets and writers such as Goethe, Lamartine, Stendhal, De Boucard, the De Gouncourt brothers; for musicians such as  Rossini, Liszt, Mendelssohn; for artists like Pinelli, Vemet, Lindstrom, each of whom, in their own field, left an everlasting memory of this dance. Not to mention the dozens of songs written to its rhythm.
What does the Tarantella represent? The most sublime and natural of sentiments combined: it’s Love -”It’s a story, a love poem” – as Emanuele  Bidera wrote in 1844; “Every glance has an amorous meaning. The first loving look, the declaration, the shy refusal, consent, jealousy, making up and tender looks, the placid and tranquil repulses, all resolved with energetic and noisy dashes like two pigeons who bend, touch and then take flight, to return more amorous than before”. The great simplicity of the theme can be seen, natural and effective with its music and songs. The dance takes the spectator to an unreal and magical world, carrying him back to the dimension of the simple, honest, carefree life of the “good old days” when so little was necessary to have fun and be happy.
To experience Tarantella: FAUNO NOTTE CLUB
SORRENTO MUSICAL – TEATRO TASSO

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