El country dance (ball pagès), declared Intangible Cultural Interest Property in 2012, it is one of the most beautiful and ancient traditions of Ibiza and Formentera. Although its exact origin is not clear, it remains that it is a Primitive dance associated with courtship. It is danced in groups called 'colles' and never missing in the popular parties of each town.
It all starts with a touch of strong and dry castanets, an act with which the man invites the woman to dance to haunt her. It is then that the dancer begins to move vigorously, jumping and touching the castanets while the country house turns gently around it.
There are Three types of Payés dance: Sa curta, Sa Llarga and Ses nou rodades. These, in turn, possess variants like Ses two balladores, Sa filera or Es cambi de parella.
Apart from the leaps of the dancer, if there is something that stands out about this primitive dance, it is its music. The 'colla' itself is in charge of playing the melodies with the following typical instruments of the island:
-The flute. It is made with a branch of oleander, is touched with one hand and is usually decorated with different symbols.
-Xeremia. It is one of the most popular wind instruments in Ibiza. It is made with cane and has five holes.
-The drum. The main instrument in traditional Ibizan music. It is usually made of pine and rabbit skin, lamb or goat.
-The peasant castanets. They are, together with those of the Canary Islands, the largest in the world. They are made with gin or cherry and are essential in the country dance.
-L'espasí. It is a metal sword-shaped percussion instrument. It is played with a metal bar and its sound resembles that of a triangle.
The attire of the dancers payeses and payesas
The dress of the dancers does not go unnoticed, especially that of the peasants who, sometimes, can wear costumes centuries old. Although they suffer small variations from one town to another, in broad strokes we can identify four for women and three for men.
The payesas they decorate with him white dress, colored, gonella or work. They are usually voluptuous attire, since they are made up of different layers, and colorful.
El peasant for its part, it can carry the white suit, the "gonella" or work.
Accompanying these costumes highlight the man's barretina, the sash, hats, scarves and the mythical scatter. They also tend to decorate their braids with colored ties Each of them has a specific meaning: pink for single women, green for fiancees, blue for married women and black for widows.
The beautiful Ibizan venture
One of the most colorful elements of the dancers' clothing during the peasant dance are the jewelry and ornaments, in this case called undertaken from Ibiza. It usually comes from a family inheritance to the daughter when she marries, To decorate the wedding dress.
There are two types of entrepreneurship: The oldest and the most popular. The first is done in silver and red coral. It is formed by courses of coral necklaces, a silver cross with filigree and details in mother of pearl, precious stones or coral. The second is made with laminated gold worked with filigree. It is made up of the "collaret", the cross and the jewel and two gold chains.
To complete the Ibizan “emprendada”, the boyfriend had to give 24 rings to his wife to prove his wealth. They are gold or silver and are made of filigree. Some represent the family seal and others carry symbolic decorations.
The pending earrings they are also an important part of the "undertaking". Generally made of gold, they are made with symbolic filigree.
Finally, we find the buttons. Very worked, give a sound touch to the dance. They are usually gold for women and silver for men.
Our Ibiza jewels have managed to adapt to the new times and, today, There are jewelers who continue to work them by hand. Their beauty, colorfulness and the industriousness of their confection have made them truly coveted pieces within the fashion industry.
In addition to being a beautiful tradition, dance in Ibiza has become an attraction increasingly valued by tourists. It's not hard to bump into a pretty Typical "ballada" especially, as we mentioned before, in the village festivities. To know when they are celebrated, you can on request our agenda
To learn more about the peasant dance in Ibiza, visit the page of the Federació de Colles de Ball i Cultura Popular d'Eivissa.