During the last photowalk, organised by Marche Tourism, in Cupramontana, the participants had the chance to assist to the traditional dance of our region.
Indeed, the more southern you travel through Italy, the more rhythmical folk dance you will find; Le Marche is no exception, and we boast as well our typical regional dance. It is called “Saltarello”, from the word saltare, jump off. The basic moves are indeed a never ending jumping of men and women on a very rhythmic melody.
The first record of Saltarello dates back to mid 14th century with a musical transcription that is now preserved in the British Museum in London. Antonio Cornazzano mentions the Saltarello in his handbook on the art of dancing from the year 1465 as one of the four fundamental movements of the noble Renaissance dance (together with piva, bassadanza and quaternaria). It was not until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that ordinary people in central and northern Italy practiced a dance called Saltarello.
Yet it is not clear how the “noble” dance differed from the popular one. During the mezzadria age, people used to dance and play folk music in the farmyard, the so-called aia, after the harvesting period.
Saltarello is usually danced in couples, both woman-man, but also man-man or woman-woman. The instruments that are played along the dances differ in every part of the region, but traditionally we can find a simple kind of accordion and tambourine.
Nowadays, thanks to dance groups such as “Il Massaccio” in Cupramontana, this folk tradition is kept alive also among the young generations. If you would like to assist to one of their exhibition, you can check their website to keep updated on their agenda or, you can try in one of the many festivals around the region, especially in summer.
And if you would like to have a look at some dance moves, here is a short cut taken during the 82th Sagra dell’Uva, the Wine Festival of Cupramontana: