Huesca thematic

Number 53. September-October of 2002. Spanish language  Principal menu

The Huesca Dancers

Origins, procession, ...

     It is not easy to specify in the time when and how the dancers in the San Lorenzo (Sant Lawrence) procession appear, of day 10 of August. Some manuscript exists that indicates that it was in century XVIII, although even seems very probable that this happened previously, centuries before. Still more, if we consider some opinions of historians, who consider that he dances of of these celebrations is a war cry, with Arab origins. This would not have to surprise to us, inasmuch as the influence of the Arab culture in our earth is very evident. The basil, without going more far, so significant of Huesca, is an Arab legacy .
    Trustworthy documentation on this grouping and dances, begins to appear around century XIV; they mainly formed market gardeners of the City of Huesca. In the procession of day 10 of August (day of Sant Lawrence), at the present time, single it appears the bust of the martyr in silver; but there was a time in which went with him the images of the saints also: Orencio, Paciencia, Vicente, Justo y Pastor, as well as crosses of the existing parishes. In agreement the procession progressed by the San Pedro Square, to him was added the image in silver of San Pedro, the Town Chapter of the Cathedral and the Policeman, the pedestal of Santo taken to shoulders by the agriculturists, etc....
    It only let leave the procession in a single occasion, throughout the last century; and it's wasyear 1936 indeed (Spanish Civil War).
    Traditionally, the dancers were in front of the pedestal of the Sant but it is by a greater procesional rigor, or to keep the forms with the Sant, it choses because they were behind. But never the dancers, let attend the procession of day 10 of August.
    From always, the dancers entered the Basilica of San Lorenzo a little before beginning the solemn mass, doing it by the right side, dancing soon before the Greater Altar. At the present time, the pedestal is in the chapel of the Sant

The Dances, Organization, Regulation, ...

    Several dances exist. The characteristic one of the procession, is the one "of swords". The calls dances "of woods", are not represented in this religious act, as it is not it either the well-known like of "degollau", demonstrative of warrior dances very old. There was a time in which the dancers executed their dance around the foreman, to that they put his swords in the shoulder, surrounding their neck. At the present time, no longer it is made on this foreman, but on the dancer who carries ribbons.
     Today day they are five you dance. That is to say: the one of "swords", the one of "old woods", the one of "new woods", the one of "ribbons" and "degollau". To Mr. Valentín Gardeta, the responsibility of both first, as well as the music and choreography are attributed to him of third. The dance of ribbons, corresponds to D. Emilio Gutiérrez; and of the teacher Roman it is the dance of "degollau" (its true name is "Memories of Huesca").
    The dancers usually try habitually two days nothing else. One of the tests takes upon maturity at the end of the month of July, meanwhile that the other, of general type - it is celebrated with the music band- is already made near the day of San Lorenzo (10 of August). The enclosures in which these tests are carried out, have been and are diverses; from the orchard of "Cacón", patio of the Salesianos, bullring, City council, schools of San Viator and Juan XXIII, to the old Provincial Residences. In principle, these tests took control of bandurria (a type of mandolin) and guitar, more of the times touched by such dancing. More ahead, Radio-Huesca would provide recordings in cassette.
     Formerly, the "Rapatán" in charge to occur all type of warnings to their companions, already was dates, hour and place of meetings, like trials performances.... but this has been disappearing. Now it belongs to the functions of the Secretary of the Grouping.
     Many it is known that the primitive dances of some cultures, were carried out to are of salterio ( psaltery). It is already in century XVIII when passage occurs to the gaita. And indeed at the end of this century, the oscenses request to the Oscense Council that a group of music of the capital accompanies in the procession. In 1986 begins to make it the Band municipal of Huesca, that is born under the batons of D. José Luis Sampériz and D. Manuel Bara in 1985.
    The Dancers of Huesca have a Regulation of Internal Regime. Day 17 of September of 1961, in total agreement with the components of the Grouping of Dancers, seems to be that the first regulating statutes settled down. There is the no news of other previous ones. It does not know either as it were constituted the Meeting. According to article 14 of the Regulation, that Meeting would be formed by the Foreman, second Foreman and 4 dancers.
    In August of 1959, already a record book of possible requests is qualified to integrate itself in the Association. Also, another book is designated to relate to the dancers by age order.
    The 14 of June of 1969, are created the Meeting by means of voting procedure. The dancer leaves chosen Jose Mª Ballabriga Chapullé like president, although the statutes do not contemplate that position; for that reason, unanimously, it is approved that the president will have to collaborate at any moment with the Foreman, arriving even to replace him in those cases that require it (accident, disease…). This way, they are not left doubts that the maxim representation of the Grouping, carries out the Foreman.

Of the book "Memories of a Dancer", Juan Andreu Cazorla, Pyrenean Editorial. Huesca.

* Gathered of diverse sources for M. Tomé

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