What is the pizzica dance?

Created mainly by “women” is a European dance form known as Pizzica. This “folk” dance is said to have originated from Salento region located in Southern Italy. Apparently, this dance gradually gained popularity within the country especially in regions such as Calabria and eastern Basilicata. Furthermore, this dance is basically performed by couple i.e. a male and female. In addition, this dance is mainly performed during festive occasions like village festivals.

a. History/origin of Pizzica Dance:

According to popular belief, it was commonly held that when someone, typically a woman, was bitten by the tarantula spider known as “taranta,” they would enter an altered state. To bring about healing, the intervention of Saint Paul was invoked through the power of music and rhythmic chanting. A traditional verse reflects this belief: “[…] Kindly Saint Paul, bring her healing, for the tarantula’s bite has affected her. If you notice her foot moving, it signifies her desire to dance. Let her dance, as she is ‘taranturated’ and carries the tarantula beneath her foot.”

b. Costumes used in the Pizzica Dance:

The costume used in this dance form varies according to the gender, and they are as follows:

1. For men:

The attire worn includes a white full sleeve shirt, an overcoat, a black trouser, a pair of white stockings, and a pair of shoes.

2. For women:

The attire worn includes a white full sleeves shirt, an overcoat, a red flowing skirt, a pair of white stockings, and a pair of shoes.

c. Music involved in the Pizzica Dance:

The musical instruments mainly used in this dance style mainly include the tambourines, guitars, violins, flutes, mandolins, and accordions.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Pizzica Dance:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the performer clapping hands and stomping the feet in rhythm to the accompanying music. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “ritualistic” folk dance has over the years mainly been performed in Italy.

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1 thought on “PIZZICA DANCE – ITALY”

  1. Could you please clarify ? In reference to “il pizzico” the region SALENTO is mentioned. There isn’t an Italian region by that name. Could you correct this please?

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