Flamenco - Sevillana

Sevillana is danced at any form of get-together © Michelle Chaplow
Sevillana is danced at any form of get-together, whether it is the feria, a wedding, or at a family party.

Sevillana

The sevillana is a colourful and exciting style of song and dance that originated in Castile and not in Seville, a variation from a style of dance known as the seguidilla. The sevillana is not flamenco, although today it is performed by flamenco artists who give it that special flamenco touch. It is performed to a strict 3 / 4 rhythm and will be danced by pairs or groups of people, and the dance will be choreographed to a pre-established routine, all of which goes against what the true flamenco dance is all about.

 

 

This style of dance is performed at fiestas of all kinds throughout Spain, but especially during the feria, when women will wear the Traje Gitanas, the colourful polka-dot dresses that add a swirling character and grace to the dance.

The dance can be very erotic and sensual, although the pair will never touch each other until the final moments when the man will put his arm around the waist of the woman to finish the dance. The sevillana was originally a courting dance where the man sets out to woo the woman in a display similar to two mating flamingos. In the old Spanish tradition, young couples were limited in there courting practises, the man would spend the night talking to his novia, through the iron grills of her door or window, and if they did get the chance to go for a walk, they would most definitely be chaperoned by the girl’s mother, sister, or whole family.

The feria week would be the only time that the man could show his affection to the girl, asking her to accompany him in the dancing of sevillanas, and this is most probably why there is little physical contact, as the whole night would be watched over by her family.

Today the sevillana is danced at any form of get-together, whether it is the feria, a wedding, or at a family party, where all and everyone present will join in. For many, dancing the sevillana is just routine, something they have grown up with and learnt simply by being constantly surrounded by it, although there are many schools where you can go to learn it.

It is normally far better and enjoyable when performed by everyday Andalucians rather than professional or trained dancers, because even though the movements are set to a pattern, it is a dance of the people, and when they are simply enjoying themselves, it will be far more entertaining.

The sevillana is not flamenco, this style of dance is performed at fiestas. © Michelle Chaplow
The sevillana is not flamenco, this style of dance is performed at fiestas.

The casetas or small bars at the feria will be bursting with people who for one week of the year will forget about everything other than enjoying themselves, and like all fiestas in Andalucía, the colour, the theatrical scenes, and the traditional dress, all combine to make a most wonderful experience.

It is always amazing to see a whole dance floor erupt with people performing this style of dance, and you will normally find that everybody knows how to dance the sevillana, no matter what age. Children are encouraged from a very young age, and there is no embarrassment involved, just a passion for the dance, and the Andalucians express themselves beautifully with the dance.

There are also many different styles of sevillana including, Sevillanas Boleras, Corraleras, Biblicas, Rocieras, and Marineras to name but a few.
The sevillanas are performed to a set of carefully worked out steps of which there are at least nine different steps in each section and four sections in the overall dance. We hope the following glossary of terms and the charts explaining the sections of the dance will help, if not, do as the Andalucians do, get up and have a go.

 

 

Eleborate skirts of the "farales" (flamenco style Dress). © Michelle Chaplow
Eleborate skirts of the "farales" (flamenco style Dress).

 

Sevillana Dance Chart - Legend


1= paso de sevillana / standard sevillana step
2= pasada / standard passing step
3= esquinas / corners
4= vuelta izquierda / a single turn to the left
5= cierre / close
6= pasos arrastraos / brush steps (think of ice-skating)
7= pasos cruzados / crossing steps (actually pas de basque)
8= vuelta izquierda punteando con pie derecho / turn to left then point right foot (towards your partner)
9= vuelta derecha punteando con pie izquierdo / turn to right then point left foot (towards your partner)
10= zapateado / footwork (the heavy stuff in the third sevillana)
11= pasada, tiempo de espera / passing step and marking time (depending on your choregraphy)
12= vuelta izquierda y paso montado pie derecho / left turn and elevate right foot (depending on your choregraphy)
13= vuelta derecha y paso montado pie izquierdo / right turn and elevate left foot (depending on your choregraphy)
14= careos / type of passing step used at end of fourth sevillana

PRIMERA SEVILLANA

1er

TERCIO

2o

TERCIO

3er

TERCIO

paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
1 5 1 1 1 1
2 1 3 4 2 4
    2 1 4 1
        5  

SEGUNDA SEVILLANA

1er

TERCIO

2o

TERCIO

3er

TERCIO

paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
1 1 1 1 1 1
6 3 7 6 7 8
4 1 4 1 4 1
2 1 2 1 5  

TERCERA SEVILLANA

1er

TERCIO

2o

TERCIO

3er

TERCIO

paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
1 1 1 1 1 1
8 1 10 3 11 1
9 1 4 1 11 1
2 1 2 1 4 1
        5  

CUARTA SEVILLANA

1er

TERCIO

2o

TERCIO

3er

TERCIO

paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
paso
repeticiones
1 1 1 1 1 1
12 1 14 1 14 4
13 1 7 1 4 1
2 1 14 1    
    4 1    
    2 1 5  
 

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