If you want to get to know the Pitiusas Islands from their most authentic side, you have to watch a Ball Pagès (Peasant's Dance). It is the traditional dance of Ibiza and Formentera, a folkloric performance unrivaled in the Mediterranean. Of uncertain origin, this dance reflects the island´s ancient faith and music. The dance is usually held at folk festivals of the two islands. That's why it will not be difficult for you to be part of a dance. Immerse yourself in the culture of Ibiza and Formentera and enjoy this centuries old dance.
One of the most picturesque events you can visit on Ibiza or Formentera is their traditional dance, the Ball Pagès. The Ball Pagèscombines different dances with small variations. The dance shows you the characteristics of each village of Ibiza and Formentera. The different styles are characterized by the style of the footsteps, the music and the costumes of the dancers.
If you look at the feet of the dancers, you can feel the archaic character of the Ball Pagès. The movements of the men and the women are quite different; while men constantly bounce and jump, and cast large castanets to arouse the woman, the woman behaves hieratically and with very gentle movements to emphasize her curves while she is lateral or in front of the man. The symbolic force of these female movements, which represent the different phases of the moon, gives you the origin of these dances, because Tanit, the goddess of the moon, was the goddess of Ibiza.
In the accompanying music you can also recognize the folkloric spirit of this dance. Drum and flute, the espasí(a metallic percussion instrument that looks like a sword) and large castanets create a rhythm that is unique in the Mediterranean area. Another striking characteristic of the Ball Pagès is the costume of the dancers. The men dress all in white, with a vest with filigree bells, a red cloth and a dead barretina (a bag-shaped, red or dark-violet woolen cap). The costume of the women is even more attractive: the typical peasant dress is enriched with a lot of jewelry. The most important piece is the characteristic emprendada (a necklace with filigree decoration), a cross and a glass medallion, as well as numerous gold rings.
If your visit to Ibiza or Formentera coincides with one of their folk festivals, you can surely attend one of these singular dances. They are usually performed on the main squares or near the oldest wells. You can also see these dances on weddings, under the arcades of the churches; they are danced to the honor of the bride and groom. But if your visit does not coincide with a folk festival or a wedding: in Sant Miquel the ball Pagés is performed every Thursday, and in the Sant Pere fortress, in Dalt Vila, Ibiza, every Friday.