It’s springtime so time to start thinking about Feria and Sevillanas! The Feria de Abril en Sevilla is an annual event with lots of dancing, eating, drinking and socializing takes. There are carnival rides and many little tents or casetas that belong to eminent local families, groups of friends, businesses, clubs, trade associations and political parties. Most of the casetas are private and open only to members and their guests. However, there are some that are open to the public. As dancers, we just love, love the dresses and the flowers that we see at the Feria. So feminine and fun!
Sevillanas is the partner dance that is danced all day and all night during the Feria. It’s a set choreography in 4 sections or coplas but there are unlimited amounts of personal variations in the form of tempo, styling and musicality. You can definitely learn one style of Sevillanas and dance with someone who has a different style because you both will be turning and passing each other at the same time so it all works out!
I was first introduced to Sevillanas even before I started taking flamenco classes! I was studying in Spain and had travelled to Sevilla. My travel companions and I met some guys (this is in the way before time of my current married life LOL) and asked them to take us out dancing. They took us to a bar that only played Sevillanas over and over and over again. So, I “learned” that first copla in between drinks. I don’t think I was very successful at it back then but it was soooooo much fun.
Sevillanas isn’t technically Flamenco, but we dance them a lot in tablao shows or student shows and they can become “flamencofied”. Every flamenco dancer needs to learn these at some point!
Each of the four coplas is divided up into 3 sections of tercios (thirds). And each tercio marked with a paseillo (Sevillana step) and a pasada (passing step). It’s these two steps that really keep each dancer in tune with each other even though they may have different styles.
The compás is in 6’s- starting on 1 and ending for the strong accent on 5- and the overall structure of each copla goes generally like this:
- Salida (entrance, generally a rhythmic pattern on the guitar)
- Cante introduction (an important moment that flows into the dancer’s opening cue)
- Vuelta normal and/or opening pose
- 1st dance variation (which includes pasos sevillanas and other steps)
- Pasada (the partners switch places here through a series of short steps)
- 2nd dance variation (steps and patterns vary)
- Pasada (identical to the first pasada)
- 3rd dance variation (steps and patterns vary)
- Cierre (closing/ending, which can include a turn or bien parado)
And if you want to get *really* detailed, here is a written out version of the choreography. How I usually identify each one to my students is say something like, “the first copla has all the pasadas, second copla you go around each other, third copla has the footwork and the fourth copla has the careos.”
WRITTEN CHOREOGRAPHY of 4 COPLAS
First Copla- La Primera
|(1)5 Sevillana steps|
4 Esquinas (to the side)
Second Copla- La Segunda
3 Rond de jambe
6 Pas de basque (side, back step)
|(3)7 Pas de basque (circle)|
Third Copla- La Tercera
Vuelta to the right, step/step marcaje
Vuelta to the left, hold left
3 sides redobles Vuelta/Pasada
Fourth Copla- La Cuarta
Vuelta to the right, step out hold
Vuelta to the left, step out hold
Pas de basque (side back step)
Here are some of my favorite Sevillanas. Can you tell which copla is which???
La Farruca and Sergio Bueno. Sevillanas at the mall!
Sevillanas, Tablao style with castañuela at Café de Chinitas
Sevillanas competition at the Feria de Abril
Sevillanas flamencas in the time of Covid. I created a whole new choreography and it’s inside the Online Flamenco Studio. You can learn more about the choreography here.
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