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DANCERS » DANCE GROUPS » TRADITIONAL AND FOLK GROUPS
Valletta, Republic of Malta
Malta, with a population of 400,000, is the largest of the three inlands in the heart of the Mediterranean. It is situated south of Italy and its civilisation dates back to 4000 years before Christ.
The national costume had a head-dress which is unique to our Islands. It is known by two names Ghonella (pronounced Onella) or Faldetta. Historians suggest that it was introduced in Malta as early as 1227 A.D. These costumes were worn by country folk and noble women alike, varying only in the quality of material used.
As you can see there are two versions to the costumes: Black and White. The black was the one most commonly used and the white which first made its appearance in the 15 th century when it was worn by the young noble women on their wedding days.
We open the performance with "Iz-Zifna ta` l–Ghonella ", which is dedicated to this particular feature of our national costume.
• LADIES AND GENTELEMAN - The "GHONELLA DANCE"
The Maltese islands have been influenced by the various people who ruled and occupied them, including the Knights of Malta, the French and the English. We have a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures. The next dance has a Sicilian influence. It welcomes autumn and the coming of the rains, which is most welcomed on our islands.
• EJJEW HA NISFU
• COME LET'S DANCE
Though our homeland is tiny and has been conquered by so many different civilisations, we Maltese are proud to have retained our own language. This you will hear in the song called " Marija ta' Wied il-Ghajn" It tells the story of a young girl, Marija, who left her home one morning never to return. Her lover still waits for her in vain.
The lace worn is handmade on our sister island of Gozo. We call it Bizzilla. You can see the Maltese cross, which was worn by the Knights of Malta when they ruled our islands from 1530 to 1798.
• The next dance is called
• Noffru ix-Xema
• Offering of the Candle
It evokes the Good Friday celebrations of Holy week. The candle symbolises the light of life and has a strong religious nuance. You will also notice a slight eastern influence in the arm movements
(It is not always possible to use real candles due to fire regulations)
• TFAJLA TAL-IRDUM is the title of the next song.
On a cliff overlooking a valley - a young girl dreams of a young handsome lover with long hair and brown eyes, about to carry her off with him on a white horse. On the other side of the valley a young man awaits his love. The two never meet.
"Girls for marriage" is the title of the next dance.
It is the time when pre-arranged marriages were a normal feature. The parents introduce the young girls to their future husbands and prospective in-laws. The matchmaker, whom we called "Il-Huttaba", was an established figure. Fortunately this is now all history.
Vapour turns the windowpane into a sketchbook.
We trace a winged horse darting from clouds of fire.
We trace a man with a musket riding his horse of war under a silvery night sky.
And the redness trickles down that vapour sketchbook.
This is the subject of the next song "Thazziz" – Scribbles
The final number concentrates on the COURT FAN DANCE. This dance was performed at the grand balls held in the numerous palaces in Malta. Elegance and grace in movements, costumes, and music enriched the Baroque halls, which to this day still fascinate all those who visit them.
• LADIES AND GENTLEMAN - THE FAN DANCE
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