The traditional dance
The sardana is a popular Catalan dance considered the national dance. It is a collective dance in which people hold hands in a circle and dance to the right and left tapping their feet at the sound of the cobla. A cobla is a Catalan orchestra, composed of 11 musicians who play 12 instruments, some of them typically Catalan: tenora (tenor Catalan shawm), tible (treble Catalan shawm), flabiol (Catalan fipple flute) and tamborí (small drum).
Sardana’s origin is unknown, but there are signs such as its form and moves that would place it in the pre-Roman era. However, the name sardana did not appear until the 16th century and there was no information about the dance itself until the 19th century. The sardana had a coexistent competitor: contrapás. During the first half of the 19th century, the contrapás lost strength whilst the sardana gained followers. At the beginning sardanas had a shorter musical pattern but during the second third of the 19th century, they underwent a progressive modification to achieve their actual form.
In the early 20th century there was a lot of activity around sardanas and after the blow of the Spanish Civil War, the sardana recovered and expanded. New associations, concerts, and aplecs sardanistes (outdoors meetings of people to dance sardanas) were born.
Sardanas gained importance in Malgrat de Mar on October 13, 1928, when the Cultural and Recreational Society La Barretina constituted a special section devoted to them. On July 30, 1933, the first aplec was organised, and after several interruptions in war and post-war years, it still takes place today during the first weekend of October. There are lots of sardanas dedicated to Malgrat de Mar and to its citizens. In 2001 the town was proclaimed Ciutat Pubilla de la Sardana (Capital of the Sardana) to recognise its merits and work on spreading the sardana.