The Neapolitan Tarantella


The Neapolitan Tarantella originated in Naples at the start of the 18th century, at a time when marriages were arranged between the families concerned. Love between betrothed couples had to be purely Platonic. Indeed, it was extremely difficult for young men and women to have any sort of physical contact before marriage and most had to make do with an exchange of meaningful glances and smiling languidly at one another. When parents became aware of a reciprocal interest between their offspring, parties were organised which invariably concluded with tarallucci biscuits and wine (this was just about all that could be afforded!)
Given that no family was without a mandolin and a tambourine in those days, it was inevitable that, as the festivities began to draw to a conclusion, a Tarantella would be performed. Some years later, the great Neapolitan Maestro, Raffaele Donnarumma put pen to paper and officially composed the first tarantella which was soon illustrated in various paintings, demonstrating how the dance provided a host of opportunities for the participants to look each other directly in the eyes, and feel for the first time that much longed-for physical contact; where the simple grasp of hands could communicate the intensity of a love about to blossom, and an embrace promised the transformation of momentary happiness into lasting love; indeed, to this very day, many dancers of the Tarantella are united in wedlock!
The Tarantella quickly spread through almost all the regions of southern Italy, and many musical variations were born (Tarantella Luciana, Tarantella Internazionale, Tarantella Siciliana, Tarantella Calabrese, Tarantella Sorrentina etc.).
On the island of Capri, in 1903, the first ballerina of the Tarantella was Carmelina, a stunningly beautiful 14 year old, originating from a farming family. Such was her charm and talent that she never failed to entrance the tourists with her dancing and drum playing, called the Tarascone..Later, the Taraascone, dance based on the simple sound and rhythm of the traditional tamburello, was adopted by Costanzo Spataro { 'Scialapopolo' } and taught by him to his children and grandchildren. 'Puti Pù', the island's first band, was formed in 1920 by Mastro Pasquale De Rosa - the grandfather of the famous Peppino di Capri. Mastro Pasquale De Rosa, seeing the artistic abilities of the Scialapopolo, imparted his invaluable experience and also donated various instruments to Costanzo. Today the group continues the ancient tradition thanks to the collaboration of the younger generations of the family. Scialapopolo's granddaughter Isabella, singer and dancer in the group, currently teaches the Tarantella to the children of Capri and has taught, produced and interpreted the most important tarantella of the island from the International Tarantella for 12 dancers to the Caprian Tarantella for 8 dancers, from the Tarantella known as Pulicinella for 12 dancers to the Tarantella Saracena for 9 dancers, and finally, the famous Tarantella Nera which, involving all the participants, expresses the true character and personality of the islanders.
 
       
     
   
Ass. Scialapopolo Gruppo Folkloristico
Via Dalmazio Birago, 11/A - 80073 Capri
Mobile +39 333 4229779
info@scialapopolocapri.com