Marín Danza de las Espadas

Children's team in Marin. 2011

Children’s team in Marin. 2011

Centers of Control: Finding the “Rules” In Marin’s Danza de las Espadas

Abstract: Every year on the 25th of September the Mariners’ Guild of Marin Spain celebrates the Dia de San Miguel by processing through the streets and dancing a dance with wooden swords. The dancers perform a significant number of quite complex figures, outlining geometric shapes, weaving between each other and forming tunnels using the swords. This essay examines how dancers know when perform their individual roles within the context of this larger group. Using Eastern-European structural analysis as a starting point, I use the Galician city of Marin’s Danza de las Espadas to explore ways of understanding and analyzing dances in which individuals’ footwork patterns and their relationship to the music are not the dominant feature. I propose that dances which require one or more performers to move in a coordinated way require “centers of control” that dancers must rely on for cues to determine when to perform an action.

Click here for the full text of Centers of Control: Finding the “Rules” In Marin’s Danza de las Espadas on my profile.