The sardana (Catalan pronunciation: [səɾˈðanə]; plural sardanes) is a musical genre typical of Catalan culture and danced in circle following a set of steps.
The dance was originally from the Empordà region, but started gaining popularity throughout Catalonia from late 19th century to beginning of the 20th century after the modernisation done by Josep Maria Ventura i Casas.
Men and women join together in a circle by holding hands and facing inwards to dance either the historical sardana curta (with an approximate duration of 5 minutes) or the present-day sardana llarga (with a duration of approximately 12-13 minutes).Other more unusual sardanes are the sardana de lluïment and the sardana revessa.
The steps are meticulously counted as two- or three-step movements taken sideways within the circle. The direction of the steps is alternated. The hands stay on the hip or shoulder level depending on the step structure. The pattern of the choreography has jumping intervals changing with the music. Usually there is more than one circle with varying tempo and levels of dance knowledge.
Throughout villages and towns in Catalonia on its National Day or DIADA, the 11th of September, you can see human towers and Sardana dancing.
Anyone can join in the circles of sardana dancers, making it one of the most democratic dances in the world!