Catalonia 23rd International Display of Sardana and Folk Groups – Cracow
Photo reportage from 23rd International Display of Sardana and Folk Groups in Cracow.
As part of the Aplec performances, Catalonian artists have been visiting selected European cities in August for over 20 years. They have appeared in Paris, Florence, Innsbruck, Manchester, and Tallin, as well as many other places. This year’s 23rd International Display of Sardana and Folk Groups will take place in Kraków as the Catalonian Holiday (6-8 August). The inauguration is preceded by an exhibition of winning photographs from the Catalonian Federation of Photography competition in the City Hall (26 July –14 August).
For 700 years, Catalonia was a sovereign region, but lost its independence during the War of the Spanish Succession at the beginning of the 18th century. The sardana, a traditional dance, is the trademark of the Catalonian people. The dancers, who are holding hands, can be freely joined by others, enlarging the circle of participants. It’s for this reason that the sardana has become a symbol of the variety of Catalonian culture and its openness to others, to dialogue. One basis for strengthening Kraków’s ties with the Catalonians might be the fact that they are sometimes disrespectfully called “Poles” by the Spaniards! In response, they say that better that than to be thought a Spaniard. And so on Catalonian television the satirical current affairs programme is called Polònia, and another on football (with the adored “Barça” in the lead) bears a name which sounds like the Polish capital – Barçòvia.
In total, around a thousand guests are coming to Kraków. Over three days on the Main Market Square, artistic groups representing over 20 different cities, towns and villages will be performing, and presenting the various aspects of Catalonian culture. The holiday begins on 6 August at 8pm, when there will be a confrontation between the Wawel Dragon and St. George’s Dragon. Alongside the dragons, there will be giants, gigantic heads, and devils. We will see dances with sticks, with ribbons, and even on stilts. We’ll be able to listen to ancient music groups, a choir, a brass band, sea shanties and tavern songs. We’ll be able to watch in suspense as a tower of people grows. The colourful crowds will be joined on the Main Market Square by the Polish dance and musical groups: Cracovia Danza Court Ballet, Krakowiacy, Ziemia Myślenicka, Capella Cracoviensis, and the Lajkonik himself, who’ll meet his Catalonian counterpart, the cavallets. The presentation organiser, the Catalonian Association for the Diffusion of Folklore (Adifolk), is collaborating with the Polish consulate in Barcelona, Kraków Municipality, and the Krakow Festival Office.