04 October 2011

Fira d'Alcúdia

Wow, what a way to have a first experience of this town!

The annual fair of Alcúdia was this weekend, and when I saw 'ball de bot' on the schedule for tonight + determined what it was, I was sold.  The event overall is a fair with artisans, local products and food in a bucolic, perfectly Mediterranean-textured historic town with undulating tufa walls and majolica street signs.

I can't find my thingy to get the pics off of my camera, so I'm going to have to edit this post to add pictures...

After walking around a bit, I decided I was hungry enough to grab some tapas, and I got some frito mallorquín - a classic meat and potatoes dish, with fennel greens and roasted red peppers.  As I was eating it, I was having a hard time determining the meat, because there was a lot of liver texture happening, but not every piece was liver-y (and it was really well-cooked liver - it's a fine line).  Turns out, the recipe calls for both lamb and lamb liver, so I was half right.  I washed this goodness down with a beer and continued to enjoy walking around, also waiting for the dancing to start.

Reading up on this, I realized I missed els gegants - these massive puppets that I saw around the square - apparently they make them dance too!

But really the highlight of the evening was the dancing.  Though my girl Emma never actually said it, "If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution."  Tonight reminded me of seeing the sardanes in Barcelona, except with better music, and also of many nights singing and dancing in the Carpathians, because there I'm able to participate more naturally.  Any planned spontaneous expression of folk culture is so authentic and vibrant -- I cried watching this tonight, it was so amazing.  Besides the good boleros and happy people, the greatest thing was that authentic folk culture was articulated through dance, in a popular and natural format.  Like doing the sardanes or čardaš, how better to assert identity and 'advertise' traditional cultures, especially as a minority, than with dance?

The ball de bot is like a flash mob every time a dance starts -- people mill around the square clicking their castanets and then the music starts up and immediately a graceful pool of movements begins.  It's a bit like kolo dancing maybe, as you don't have to have a partner, but you can, and it's circles of all ages, kids learning by watching and joining in, and lots of people absolutely grinning from ear to ear with obvious pleasure: 

Sometimes they line up in rows, sometimes they're in circles - either way, there's plenty of opportunity to witness authentic electricity firing around among the dancers.

Right as I was leaving they busted out the bagpipes, shame I didn't catch more of them.

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