"Ibiza is known throughout the world as the place where the party never stops, where anyone and everyone is welcome to dance"
Consequently, Ibiza has a long history connected with dance. Nowadays, it’s a vital component of the island’s lifeblood, with dancefloors full at clubs across the island every night of the week. But the heritage of primal movement stretches back much further than that and to this day traces of Ibiza’s love affair with movement can be seen on the streets – you just need to know where to look for it. Those who do are rewarded with a rich display of tradition, or as locals call it, Ball Pagès in full flow, often in front of a church or up within the walls of Dalt Vila.
Ball Pagès is also known as the peasant’s dance. The traditional folkloric performance of Ibiza and Formentera, its origins are unknown, and yet it’s an ancient reminder of the island’s dedication to dance and music. It also serves as a form of courtship. Men, dressed all in white bar for a red cloth belt and red woolen cap or barretina, grab the women’s attention with a strong crack of castanets that they hold in each hand. And then they dance, seeming to skip over the surface of the floor, interspersed with high kicks and hops in a display of pomp and parade.
The women meanwhile, wear typical peasant dress, with long skirts and scarves tied round their heads. They’re also adorned in opulent jewellery, most notably an emprendada – a necklace with filigree decoration, a cross, a glass medallion, and a series of glistening gold rings. In contrast to the men they cut a demure figure, weaving round their partner in a figure of eight with small flicks of the feet, and then curtseying before returning to the outer rim of the circle in which they’ve performed.