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MUSIC AND DANCE

POPULAR BALLS OR OPEN BALLS

Two different aspects come to play in the world of traditional music and dance of Mallorca: mostres (displays) and public balls.

Mostres attempt to recreate with historical accuracy what used to be part of the traditional culture some centuries ago (especially in those groups which contribute with studies of a variety of fields such as costumes, instruments, sonority, etc.). In addition to this, they are part of the symbols which are commonly identified with the culture of Mallorca, mainly due to the costumes, which clearly stand out.

Open balls, ballades populars, are not opposed to some of the aspects we have gone through, but they are the result of a long process of evolution through time. In most cases, the music we hear is quite far away from what could be strictly called traditional, it would rather be allocated in what we call “of traditional inspiration”, “folk” or, in any case “with traditional roots” depending on the particular group. The same goes for dance: only the jota and the mateixa have kept close to their original forms, although they have seen variations to their style. However, popular balls do have an exceptional value: they are the result of the evolution of Mallorca’s folklore since the start of the 19th century, a healthy and up to date folklore which has won itself a place on today’s streets.

To some purists this could seem a distortion of the secular tradition. Not at all: history is always the result of an evolution, and if traditional dance hadn’t found a way to adapt to new times, it would have probably become testimonial. The fact that the dances which can be seen on today’s streets are not exactly the same as they were during the 19th century is what actually gives them their special value: they have evolved to adapt to new times. They are now one of our references as a country, a genuine symbol of Mallorca’s identity with a good presence on our streets and have shown to have a certain seductive capacity with new migrants, something to take into account given the times we live in.

The most important thing is to put everything in its place: mostres, as the recreation of the past they are, must adjust sound, dance and costume as tightly as possible to the time they want to recreate. Popular balls, on the other hand, may benefit from greater freedom, although it is important that their evolution does not affect their beginnings, so that their roots remain intact.