"A fandango"

A fandango is a type of dance, traditionally accompanied by guitars and castanets or hand-clapping (‘palmas’ in Spanish and Portuguese).

The dance, probably of Moorish origin (although some believe its roots lie in Greek and Roman culture), was popular in the 18th century and survives today as a folk dance in Spain, Portugal, southern France, and Latin America. It is usually danced by couples, beginning slowly, with the rhythm marked by castanets, hand-clapping, snapping of fingers; the speed gradually increases. The music is in 3/4 or 6/8 time. Occasionally there is a sudden pause in the music, and the dancers stand rigid until the music resumes. The dance is an expression of passion, and the partners tease, challenge, and pursue each other with steps and gestures. In another version, the fandango is danced by two men as a contest of skill. The first dancer sets the rhythm and steps, the second picks up the step and elaborates.


Spanish dancers performing fandango (early 19th century)
Public DomainSpanish dancers performing fandango (early 19th century) - Credit: Pierre Chasselat