How to Learn the Tarantella- Italian Dance

Written by marisa swanson
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The traditional Italian Tarantella dance is said to have originated between the 15th and 17th centuries. The beginning of the dance is related to a disease called tarantism. Tarantism is a hysterical state in which victims bitten by tarantulas convulse and dance for lengthy periods of time. They must dance in order to sweat the poison out. Today, the tarantella is danced in many traditional Italian weddings and parties. Over the centuries, many pieces of instrumental music have been written in honour of the dance, and it has been featured in films such as "The Godfather." Learning how perform it can come from books, personal instruction or videos.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Library
  • Dance studio

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    See the Tarantella

  1. 1

    Watch a video of the tarantella performed. (You can easily find videos of the tarantella dance online. Type "Tarantella videos" into any search engine, and the top choices will come up.

  2. 2

    Watch a tarantella performance live. If you desire (after watching a video) to see the tarantella live, you can search again online for "tarantella performance." In order to narrow down your search, add in the area you wish to see the performance in. You can also call your local theatres or check the performance listings of dance troupes or ballet companies in the area.

  3. 3

    Attend an Italian party, family gathering or wedding. If you have an invitation to an Italian wedding, don't skip it. The tarantella is often performed at them.

    Research Steps, Learn, Practice

  1. 1

    Check out a book from your library. Once you have seen the dance and know the way the body moves, you can begin to learn the specific steps. If your library doesn't have any books on the tarantella steps, you may be interested in reading about its history.

  2. 2

    Learn the steps. There are a few ways to do this. You can look at a tarantella video and mimic the steps as best you can. You can call dance schools in your area and ask if there are any classes or teachers that instruct in the tarantella (this is likely), or if you're lucky enough to have an Italian friend or family member who knows the dance, she may be able to give you personal instruction.

  3. 3

    Practice. As with anything new, practice will give you the ability to learn the dance intimately. Try out the steps at home, after instruction is over. There are many recordings available of tarantella music that you can use at home. You can try for downloads or visit a music store to buy a record or CD.

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