The Villablanca International Dance Festival came into being in 1980, with the aim of demonstrating a traditional shepherds' dance that was the sole preserve of men around the 16th century.
This dance has been performed year after year in front of a statue of Nuestra Señora de la Blanca, the town's patron saint, for centuries. The strength and tradition of this dance is proven in its very existence - Charles III prohibited it in any religious procession or function. The dancers come together, and a "manigero" (the leader of the troupe) marks out the rhythm of the nine "mudanzas", or steps, which make up the dance. Of these, the first is especially emblematic. It symbolises a meeting between shepherds. There is also another where the dancers cross their sticks. Once upon a time this was so that the Marquises of Ayamonte could pass underneath.
Villablanca International Dance Festival
Villablanca, Huelva (Andalusia)