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The Dances of Guadassuar


Tale typology
Local traditions

Age Suitability
This video is suitable for 5 years old children

Tale summary
The tale Dances of Guadassuar is a Spanish legend representative from Valencian area, more exactly for Guadassuar. This tale has been transmitted from generation to generation and became one of the biggest local celebration, even though it is not registered in any file. The story of the dances is connected with the chapter of the visit of King Jaime I in Guadassuar to inaugurate the new canal. The visit turned into a celebration and a tradition where all the locals reunite and join forces to prepare it by making dresses, preparing songs and dances. It is an example of cultural heritage that connects the younger generations with their history.
Educational potential / Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:
- Understand what is cultural heritage;
- Describe touchable (tangible) and untouchable (intangible) cultural heritage;
- Recognize how cultural heritage, by nature, is complex and diverse and that all types of human heritage demonstrate and celebrate this diversity;
Full Plot
A legend inherited from parents to children is the one of the Dances of Guadassuar, performed during the visit of king Jaime I to inaugurate the new canal. A large number of single girls came from the surrounding farmhouses of Aurí, Fentina, Tarragona, Maranya, Montortal, and many of them were left without a dancer because there were times of war. When King Jaime I understood the situation, he granted to the single ladies the right to choose a dancer to their liking from his companions who were simply spectators. Then, each one of them chose a dancer and the dances were danced. The dance was preserved for a long time and in the Town Hall of Guadassuar the chair where the king had been sitting to contemplate the traditional dances was conserved there. “The dances” is a holiday since then and it was an offering brought to the king as the highest figure of the kingdom. And that is a very important thing because in those times there were no cars or other fast vehicles and the king and the other authorities couldn’t reach easily all their territories. According to the legend, he reached Guadassuar and the people when they’ve heard he will come prepared a special chair for him. This disappeared for several years, apparently was stored on a roof so no one could reach it and stole it.
Being a celebration not linked to any civil or religious authority, the Dances are not registered in any file. Its root can be derived from the pagan festivals that were celebrated after the summer harvests. At the beginning of the 20th century, dancers began to wear different costumes to the traditional dancers on holiday. One of the most remarkable peculiarities of the Danzas de Guadasuar is its participatory nature and open to everyone. It is not a party that affects only a small commission of festeros or a small group of dancers. Almost all the people participate one day or the other dancing, making dresses, looking for and leaving complements for those dresses, as a musician, as a fester. According to tradition, the woman is the one who must seek and choose the dancer, and not vice versa; she takes charge of making the dress and she has to invite the dancer as a symbol of gratitude.

One Lesson Plan
Introduction Activity: The class listen the story called the dances of Guadassuar. After that, the teacher asks them:
1) Who arrived in Guadassuar to inaugurate the new canal?
2) How the villagers prepared for the arrival of the King Jaime the first?
3) What the king told to his soldiers to do during the celebration?
4) How the people of Guadassuar are celebrating today the Dances of Guadassuar? How your family is preparing for this celebration?
Main Activity: My family Heritage poster
Materials needed: My Family Heritage Poster printable, Chart paper, Markers, Camera, Glue, glue sticks, or scrapbooking glue dots for attaching photos
Step 1
Before beginning the lesson, take a picture of each student and print a copy, or ask students to bring pictures from home.
Have students bring in a family picture or pictures of family members. Make a copy of each picture for students to glue to their My Family Heritage Poster printables. If photos are not available, students can draw pictures of their family members.
Make a copy of the My Family Heritage Poster printable for each student.
Complete a My Family Heritage Poster printable as an example.
Next, follow the steps described above.
Step 1: Post the three vocabulary words: Heritage, Culture, Tradition
Discuss and brainstorm with the pupils the meaning of each word.
Step 2: Explain to pupils that each of us has our own heritage and our own culture and traditions. Discuss some of the things that families might do that are traditions or celebrations. Record pupils answers on chart paper for pupils to share and reference.
Step 3: Share your completed My Family Heritage Poster printable with your students. Review the questions and statements they will answer:
My name
My parents' names
My grandparents’ names
My ancestors are from
My parents were born in
My grandparents were born in
My family speaks these languages
My family celebrates these holidays
One tradition my family has is
One thing I like to do with my family is….
Step 4: Model how to fill out the family tree section of the poster. Pupils will write their mom’s name, their dad’s name, and their grandparents’ names. (If pupils do not know those names, they may complete this portion at home.)
Step 5: Have pupils complete their My Family Heritage Poster. They may start in class and then take it home to finish with help from their family, or you can send this home as homework.
Step 6: When pupils have completed the written portion of their My Family Heritage Poster, help them glue the pictures of themselves and their families onto the posters. Encourage students who did not bring in family photos to draw their families on their My Family Heritage Poster printable.
Step 7: Share and display the student posters.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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