Dances from the past that are performed in the present
The Esbart Català de Dansaires is the oldest active dance association in Catalonia. Established in July 1908, the group, divided into several sections, works to promote Catalan dance.
Carnival dances, mountain dances, summer dances, religious dances, lordly dances. The Esbart Català de Dansaires has worked for more than one hundred years to conserve traditional dances from all over Catalan territoryand to perform them on stages, at local festivities and at traditional celebrations.
The mission that this group, based in Barcelona, pursues is to revive dances that have been lost. This is the case of the dance Bastons de Barcelona, the most recent to be recreated from photographs and writings by Aureli Capmany. “Historically, people went to the villages, asking for descriptions of the local dances, their structure, and brought them to the association. This is our mission, to recreate them and then show them to the people”, says Anna Bigas, director of the Esbart Català de Dansaires.
This dance association has also acquired a vast and varied collection of costumes in order to faithfully reproduce what the dancers used to wear. These costumes are based on models ranging from the mid-eighteenth to the late-nineteenth century, including some reproductions of authentic models conserved in Barcelona Textile and Clothing Museum.
The different sections include dancers of all ages, from the children’s group to the main dance company. Moreover, anyone who wants to discover traditional dance at first-hand is welcome to do so, free of charge, by coming to the Friday dance.
Archive and Library
From the first, the association has also focused on documenting and studying dances and their context. All the documents, publications, photographs and recordings acquired constitute the company’s documentary resources, which are conserved in the Archive, established in 1941, and the Library, in existence since 1926. All documents are available for reference by arrangement.