Blast From the Past

I just came across an old picture of a cultural Catalonian dance group I used to be in!

I'm second from the right, to my left is my mom. And fourth from left is my sister.
The year was 1995 and the group was the Grup Dansaire Catalunya. We danced the traditional dances of Catalonia, Spain and dressed in traditional clothing. I look upon this photo with great fondness for the people in the group. I miss them. Some have gone back to Catalonia. Some are still in L.A. hanging out with the other Catalonians in town. But they all have a special place in my heart.

This was our fearless leader, Joan Comellas Manubens. He was a hard taskmaster, but he whipped us into shape! We were a bunch of ragamuffins but he turned us into respectable dancers. He is back in Catalonia now. After he left it just wasn't the same anymore.

Catalonia is where one branch of my family tree is from, and although part of that branch of the family split up and went to Argentina and then eventually America, we are still in touch with the family that remained in Catalonia. Family is family, even if our common ancestor was a great-great-grandparent.

It was nice to experience dances that my ancestors would have been familiar with. I know their names, who they married, and who their children were. But this brought them to life for me. They are family members I have never met and will never know. But maybe in some small way this allows me to know them.

It's been a long time since I've danced in the group but I'll always have fond memories. I hope someday my children will be able to connect with their ancestry in similar ways.Phillip and I plan on sending them to Barcelona to spend time with our relatives there once they are old enough. Maybe they will dance Sardanas like I used to, and experience things like the outdoor Sardanas in front of the Barcelona Cathedral on Sundays.  I was able to do that on the one occasion that I visited Barcelona in 1996.

Check out them shoes! These shoes are called alpargatas, commonly known as espadrilles in English and espardenyas in Catalan.

Does anyone know of a Grup Dansaire Catalunya in Las Vegas?? Because I would love to sign my kids up for it. After all, I still have that shawl - I could totally put it to good use!! Heck- I would even join it myself.

And if you are wondering what kind of dancing I am talking about, here is an example if you fast forward to the 50 second mark. The song, Santa Espina, is one of the most famous Sardana songs.

And if you ever have a chance to join in on a Sardana, DO IT! It's so much fun!

Related: Catalonian Holiday Traditions


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