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The Dance of the DwarvesDeze pagina in Nederlands
Every 5 years La Palma celebrates the festival of Bajada de la Virgen de Las Nieves (Our lady of the snow) - The patron saint of the island.
During the festival a short show is given which has 2 distinct parts. The first part is performed in a somber and stiff manner, after which the players disappear into one side of a small tent and re-appear, magically transformed, a few seconds later on the other side dressed as dwarves with large triangular hats. The dwarfs then perform an amusing and traditional dance.
The show is short and repeated several times in the "theatre area" and then throughout the whole night at strategic points along the main street of the old town ending up at daybreak near the ship (Barco de La Virgen).
Performing in the show is considered an honour, but also very very hard work, because of the weight of the costumes, and the number of times the performance is repeated throughout the evening and night. The secret of the transformation is handed down from father to son.

Thephotographs here do not do justice to the show, but we were too late to get tickets and thoroughly enjoyed watching the show from the hill above the harbour.
The festival takes place in July and August every 5 years - the next one is in 2010.

Place: Santa Cruz de La Palma
Date: 2000
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services Santa Cruz harbour during the Bajada festival.
A view of the specially made performance area. The "stage" is in the open air and is part of the harbour car park (center right) with public stands on three sides.
There are huge queues of ticketholders on the roadside, and another queue (out of picture) to the right. The small brightly lit area on the extreme left of the picture - in the park - is an open air outside broadcast television studio.
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services A television camera team reports on the events around the Bajada outside the harbour where the Dance of the Dwarves took place in 2000.
 
Place: Santa Cruz de La Palma
Date: 2000
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services The public is quickly ushered out of the arena so that the next performance can begin. Not an easy task when old friends meet!
 
Place: Santa Cruz de La Palma
Date: 2000
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services The bishops perform a dance before going through a gateway and being magically transformed into dwarves.
Sorry about the camera shake - we hope to get better quality photo's of the performance another year.
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services    
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services    
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services The bishops disappear into the tent and appear seconds later as dwarves. The secret of how they do it is kept secret.
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services    
 
Place: Santa Cruz de La Palma
Date: 2000
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services The dwarves in grossly oversized triangular hats do a funny dance after their transformation. The faces of the figures are often based on chariactures of politicians or local dignitaries.
The antics of the dwarves cause much hilarity in the audience.
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services    
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services At around midnight the dwarves leave the stage area and perform their dance again and again along the main street of Santa Cruz until the early hours of the morning.
 
Copyright: Brian Smith, BTS Internet Services    
 
 
The Dance of the Dwarves, La Palma, Canary Islands
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