We all know that the fierceness and passion of the Spanish culture is symbolized in its traditional music and dance. Despite the fact that there is no form of the country’s varied culinary repertoire and it being influenced by varied cultures that settled the region, there is yet one genre that reflects the Spanish fervour. It is the Seguidilla dance. One of the chief musical and dance exports of the country, Seguidilla is a traditionally performed dance to a piece of music which is also called Seguidilla. In context to the piece of music, the Seguidilla is also considered as a love song. Along with a word form widely used in the Spanish folk song, Seguidilla has many regional variants; prominent among them are the seguidillas or sevillanas.

What is the background of the Seguidilla dance?

Similar to many other traditional dances, Seguidilla dance too, was originally a courtship dance. The dance as well as its music comes from the Castilians and Moors of Spain. Its earliest and the most influential types are thought to be the Castilian style such as the Seguidillas Manchengas, the one which originated in La Mancha. The other variants involve the murcianas from Murcia that are comparatively slight faster Sevillanas of Seville. It is assumed that the dance gained popularity when a couple perform this dance in a series of flirtatious movements.

How is it performed?

A courtship dance of proud demeanour, Seguidilla features small springing steps, light foot stamps and varied ground patterns. With the reflecting rhythm of guitar and percussion, Seguidilla is performed in pairs with animated footwork, yet restrained upper body movement. The song consists of copla, an assonantal rhyme on the second and fourth lines. It is generally been observed in most of the Seguidillas that all the dancers suddenly stop at the end of each copla, thereby resuming dancing only after an instrumental interlude. However, the steps of each copla usually increase with intricacy. One of the techniques of the dance is bien parado where the dancers do not move at the end of a section of the music or stanza of the text while the instruments continue to play in the background until the next section. With the music of 3/4 or 3/8 time, it is usually the female dancer who holds the Castanets.

What are its types?

Considering its earliest forms, Seguidilla is of the following types:

  • Seguidillas Manchengas: A particular Castilian style, it is the earliest and most influential types of Seguidilla. It originated in La Mancha.
  • Murcianas: It originated in Murica.
  • Sevillanas: Originated in Seville, it is slightly slower than Murcianas.
  • Gypsy Seguidilla: Also known as the Seguiriya or the Seguidilla Gitana, it is one of the most complex styles of Seguidilla used in flamenco music.
  • Pericole: It is basically Jacques Offenbach’s opera which has a number in act One called ‘Seguedille’ with a music of 2/4th time. 
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