On several days of the year, students from the island's music and dance school perform the ball de bot - baile de salto or baile de bote in Spanish - in Palma, a dance that originated in Mallorca in the 17th and 18th centuries and which is made up of several types of dances: the jota, the fandango, the bolero and the copeo. This type of dance is the result of an adaptation by the popular class of a dance, derived from the theatre, introduced by the higher social classes of society.
The costumes stand out because of their colours, design and history. The woman wears a piece of white cloth that covers from head to chest, leaving the face uncovered, and a wide skirt over several other layers of clothing. The man's costume, on the other hand, consists of a white shirt with a waistcoat, a sash that covers the hips and part of the trousers, which go down to the knee.
In the exhibitions you will see dancers of all ages, young and old, enjoying the set of steps and movements of hands, arms and legs in pairs accompanied by stringed and wind instruments.
It is a unique experience that brings you closer to the authenticity of Mallorca, where the dance teachers are former students, so it is a tradition that is taught from teacher to student over the years thanks to their experience. Variety stands out in this dance school as the age of the students varies from 18 to 65 years old.
The days you can enjoy this visual and auditory experience are the day of the Balearic Islands, March 1st, which is the official holiday of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands, it is a public holiday in all the islands and for this reason different events are celebrated in all the towns. In the city of Palma there are gastronomy exhibitions, very interesting handicraft stalls with traditional crafts of the old times, also the regional houses set up a stall with their typical food where tourists and residents can taste the typical dishes of those regions. One of the most visited areas is the medieval market for its charm and for being something different that takes us to another era. On this great day, people take the opportunity to visit Palma's old town, as there are concerts and open days in Palma's museums. Another way to make the tour on this day is the fabulous Bus city sightseeing as it has stops very close to where all the events are held and the institutional buildings such as the Consolat de la Mar.
And the other date to enjoy this dance is the 31st of December in the Plaza de Cort, right in the centre of Palma where the Town Hall is located, and in the same place there is a parade from the same square to the Cathedral of Mallorca, and also on the day of the Beata, which is celebrated on the third Sunday of the month of October.
Boleros and copeos mallorquines: A Dance Tradition in Mallorca
The vibrant culture of Mallorca is best exemplified through its traditional dances, particularly the “Boleros and copeos mallorquines”. These dances, performed by students from the island’s music and dance school, are a testament to the island’s rich history and cultural heritage. Originating in the 17th and 18th centuries, these dances are an adaptation of theatre dances introduced by the higher social classes.
Understanding Boleros and copeos mallorquines
The “Boleros and copeos mallorquines” are part of a dance form known as ball de bot or baile de salto in Spanish. This dance form comprises several types of dances, including the jota, the fandango, the bolero, and the copeo. Each dance has its unique steps and movements, performed in pairs, and accompanied by stringed and wind instruments. The performances are a unique experience that brings spectators closer to the authentic Mallorcan culture.
Costumes of Boleros and copeos mallorquines
The costumes worn during these performances are as significant as the dances themselves. The woman’s costume consists of a piece of white cloth that covers her from head to chest, leaving the face uncovered, and a wide skirt over several other layers of clothing. The man’s costume, on the other hand, includes a white shirt with a waistcoat, a sash that covers the hips, and trousers that reach the knee. The costumes, with their vibrant colours and historical designs, add an extra layer of authenticity to the performances.
Performances and Celebrations
These traditional dances are performed on several special days throughout the year, such as the day of the Balearic Islands on March 1st, and the 31st of December in the Plaza de Cort in Palma. On these days, the city comes alive with gastronomy exhibitions, handicraft stalls, concerts, and open days in museums. One of the highlights is the medieval market, which transports visitors to a different era with its charm.
Another special date is the day of the Beata, celebrated on the third Sunday of October. On this day, a parade takes place from the Plaza de Cort to the Cathedral of Mallorca. These celebrations provide both tourists and residents with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of Mallorca.
Whether you are a resident or a visitor, experiencing the “Boleros and copeos mallorquines” is a must. It’s not just about watching a dance performance; it’s about understanding and appreciating a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. So, the next time you find yourself in Mallorca, make sure to witness this beautiful dance tradition.