Dancing the Sardana on Easter Sunday
We are standing in front of the Barcelona’s La Seu cathedral in the Ciutat Vella (old city) of Barcelona. It is Easter Sunday. Less than a half an hour earlier, I drag Claudia from her bed and we rush through the cobblestone maze of alleys from La Rambla to arrive in time. I do not want to be late. Already, a large crowd has formed in the plaza in front of the church. I push ahead in the crowd, not quite sure where the performance will begin.
It starts to happen. As if by silent cue, a few old ladies and old men solemnly place their belongings in a pile together. They join hands and back up, creating a circle with the items that they have placed together in the center. The placing of all of their belongings together symbolizes trust and community. Similar groups simultaneously begin to pile up their belongings and join hands. All around us, the crowd is now more filled with participants than it is with spectators. The circles, like ripples in a pond during a rain storm, are forming all around us. We are in the center. I can feel an electricity of anticipation. I see young and old, men and women, traditionally dressed and in jeans, join together in circles. As the music begins, slowly at first, the dancers execute little hop-touch steps. As the music accelerates, the dancers raise their hands, their faces fill with pride and emotion.