La Danza de los Enanos in La Palma: a once-every-five-year chance to see the dwarves dance!

photo: Bajadadelavirgen

Tickets will go on sale at 10.30am on Thursday 18 June for an event in La Palma on 9 July that is traditional, rare, unusual and very puzzling – La Danza de los Enanos (the Dance of the Dwarves), part of La Palma’s fiesta in honour of the island’s patron saint, the Bajada de la Virgen de Las Nieves (the descent of our lady of the snows). The dwarves only dance once every five years – and 2015 is one such year. Interpretations of the dwarves and their dance vary. Some see it as connected with fertility and the summer solstice, while others see it more in line with the murga parodies and satire of the carnivals.

Whatever its roots, the video below gives an idea of how it all works. The participants walk into one side of a very small tent dressed as bishops, and walk straight out the other side as the dwarves who then perform their traditional dance throughout the night in the heavy costumes at various parts of La Palma’s capital, Santa Cruz. No-one to this day really knows how they do the amazing transformation, other than those who play the dwarves themselves, and they aren’t saying, and since the rights to perform are often kept within families, they aren’t likely to.

Anyone who is in La Palma or wants to get there to see this spectacle can buy tickets, which cost between €20 and €30, but those for the main area are quickly sold out – people queue up overnight to make sure of getting theirs, indeed some started queueing this morning. The event has a website HERE and a Facebook page HERE. The dwarves’ dance can be seen at many points throughout Santa Cruz, however, so next month is a good time for anyone planning a trip over to La Palma! And if you miss this year, the next one won’t be until 2020!

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