Sardana dancing is one of La Mercè festival’s oldest and practically uninterrupted features. It was performed at the famous La Mercè of 1902, a great display of popular culture that brought together traditional forms of expression from all over the country. At that time, when the sardana dancing was a movement that had come about from the counties of Girona and was just starting out, they were already part of the programme. And when the La Mercè festivities reappeared in the 1950s, after their interruption during the Civil War, sardana dancing was one of the first of the communal events to be allowed.
Today’s La Mercè programme continues to be packed with sardana dancing events among competitions, concerts and popular dances. Between 22 and 25 September this year, there will be five sardana dances, the contest and a concert. In fact, the annual festival will kick off with sardana dancing set to music performed by the city’s official “cobla” (music ensemble), the Cobla Sant Jordi. This will take place on Friday 22 September at 7 pm on Avinguda de la Catedral, right when the Communal Procession begins.
On Saturday 23 September, the day before La Mercè kicks off, there will be more sardanas. This time they’ll be held in Plaça de Sant Jaume at 7 pm, featuring music by the Cobla La Principal del Llobregat before the Xambanga [Gathering of the Dancing Giants] and Festival Eve Night.
Sunday 24 September, La Mercè day, will be filled with sardanas, which will begin at 11 am on Avinguda de la Catedral with the 73rd Sardana Dance Groups Competition. Originally established 73 years ago by the Barcelona Federation of Sardana Dancing Groups, this is a competition that groups from all over the country take part in to win the bronze Eagle of the City or Giant statue. Once the competition is over, at 1 pm a dance open to everyone will be held, set to music played by the Cobla La Principal del Llobregat.
On the evening of Sunday 24 September, at 6 pm Plaça de la Mercè will host a dance accompanied by the Cobla Els Lluïsos de Taradell. Right after that, a concert featuring the Cobla Sant Jordi – Ciutat de Barcelona will be held at 9 pm in the Basílica de la Mercè.
And on Monday 25 September, the Barcelona Cultural and Folklore Group, a veteran in the world of sardanas in Barcelona, will hold a communal dance in Plaça de Sant Jaume at 5 pm featuring the Cobla Marinada.