Thirty years in a row giving the cane in Valls

The Valls Cane Dance is celebrating this year. It is 30 years since his recovery. For the Fiestas de San Juan in 1992, the cultural association danced again after it had been done for the last time for the Decennials of 1941, he comments to the Daily Jordi Robert, member of the board of directors of the Ball de Bastons de Valls, one of the oldest dances since it dates back to the 18th century.

The entity became the second – after the Unión de Anillas de la Llama – to recover elements of the Cortejo Popular.

The recovery work was not easy, admits Robert. "We found one or two witnesses, who explained how she danced in the 40s." They also had the advice of two cane walkers from the dances of L'Arboç and Esbart Santa Tecla –entities that sponsored the first outing, together with the horses of Sant Feliu de Pallarols–.

The recovery of the costumes was based on the photographs of Pere Català and Pic from 1931. «It is very faithful to the one from the 1930s. Tomasa Padilla, from Valls, made it with clothes from Teixits Pluvinet».

In the first outing there were twelve dancers, who were accompanied by a group of six grallas and a pair of drummers. Then they only went out through Valls (through San Juan, Tomb de Poble, Compline and Fiesta de la Calçotada) and through some towns in the region.

Jordi Robert comments that in these 30 years there have been different phases of social evolution, «because initially we were closely linked to the Escola Candela, which served as godmother as an entity when baile was recovered. And for many years the entity and the dance had their headquarters in the school.

When he was on site, that intense relationship was lost, because most of the people who danced came from the school».

In 1992, the Ball de Bastons got off to a very strong start, with some 14 dancers and a large group of grallers. But between 2001 and 2010 there is a significant loss of muscle in people, "these are the weakest years," remembers Robert. The Decennials of 2011 represent a turning point upwards.

The children's group is consolidated, despite being there since 2006. And in the last six years "we have had a considerable mass of people again", when there has also been an evolution even in the way of dancing and the musical sound.

In 2017, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary, they make a musical change. They stop being accompanied by crows and drums and change these instruments for a violin –which was already being made many years ago–, the piccolo and the tamboril. That same year, with the help of Francesc Sans, they incorporated two of their own historical melodies from the Ball de Bastons de Valls, which they incorporated into their repertoire.

This increase is so important that the last batch of children «has put us to the limit since we don't have any more clothing. But we haven't had to say 'no' to anyone."

New dance and melody

The background of the Excursionist Center of Catalonia had a historical video of the Vallense Courtship from the 1930s. And the Ball de Bastons in motion appears. It's just a 15-second snippet., “This year, we've taken what we've seen and put on a dance. And we asked Àngel Vallverdú for music for that choreography. We will premiere it for Santa Úrsula ».

This year, in addition, the espadrilles have been renewed. And next year it will be vests and skirts.

Currently, the group consists of 22 adults and 12 children. Jordi Robert says that for the future "we have to consolidate what we have, keep improving, rehearse more and consolidate the group of little ones".

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