The youngest members of the city’s festival groups and associations have prepared a Winter Festival packed with new events. Esquerdats, the new human tower group from Esquerra de l’Eixample, will be making their debut. The most fantastic beasts imaginable await us in an eerie exhibition at La Virreina, while popular dancers are going to surprise us with some original new dances in addition to their more traditional ones.
The Santa Eulàlia festival is a huge showcase of traditional popular culture and the youngest members of the city’s festival groups and associations take very special care to make it just that. This is where Barcelona’s human tower groups (colles castelleres) start their season every year, and this year there’s going to be a new group, the Esquerdats from the Esquerra de l’Eixample neighbourhood. The groups have a time limit of 90 minutes to build their towers in the old way, simultaneously.
At Palau de la Virreina, we can see Fantàstics!, an eerie exhibition of fantastic festival beasts from Barcelona and other parts of the country, starting on 1 February. Beasts inspired in myths and legends, and even in horror and fantasy books and comics. Atzeries from Gràcia, Bretolàs from Sant Andreu de Palomar, Nèbula and Hydros from Trinitat Vella, and many more beasts will be taking to the streets for a musical street parade (cercavila) on the afternoon of 9 February before performing their dances with fireworks in Plaça de Sant Jaume.
As for dance, the Esbart Maragall group will be presenting NU(e)S, a show that explores our roots as the starting point for building a future that can only be achieved through struggle. A reflection on change, revolt and the fear of the unknown. This is the first show created and choreographed entirely by Esbart Maragall, who rise to this new challenge to bring us a starkly sincere production.
For the second year running, Barcelona’s stick dancers (bastoners) will be celebrating the Santa Eulàlia stick dancing festival, this time with their guests Danses Guerreres de la Todolella from the county of Ports in Castelló, all joining together to add to the strength and vitality of the Bastoners de l’Arboç. The Ball de Panderos from Vendrell and the group from Vilanova will also be performing their version of this sister dance using tambourines rather than sticks.
Throughout the festival, giants, dragons, devils, dance groups, the City Eagle and, at their head Laia, a girl giant representing Santa Eulàlia, one of Barcelona’s patron saints, will be filling the city’s streets with different parades and dances. And, among lots of other activities, there will be sardana gatherings, traditional dancing (esbarts), the schools’ giants, the bobbin lacemakers’ gathering and fire runs (correfocs), which for the first time will culminate in a closing concert.