the sardana in the gothic quarter

one of the things i love about catalan culture is the fierce pride that transcends each generation and is palpable throughout the streets of barcelona. on a sunday evening outside the gothic cathedral you can find dozens of people from all walks who have dropped their shopping bags to join in on the sardana, the national dance symbolising catalan unity.

a description from

Sardana dancers link hands with raised arms, forming circles which grow bigger and bigger as more people join in. Traditionally, couples can join in at any point, but cannot cut in between a man and his partner on the right. When the circle gets too big, the dancers form more circles. People of all ages and ranks in life join hands and dance as if to emphasize that whatever their differences, they are first and foremost Catalans. The spirit of unity generated by the sardana is truly impressive. An extremely disciplined dance, the sardana calls for exact movements and expert timing, provided by a leader in each circle. For this reason, unless you think you’ve really got the knack, it’s generally inadvisable for visitors to join in – one wrong move can put the entire circle out of step.

people dancing the sardana in barcelona

it’s quite moving to watch…and makes you want to be part of the club. what other culture do you know where people will spontaneously join in on the national dance?