The Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival was held Nov. 7-13 at The Movies at Midway. On Nov. 10, as part of the film society’s Country Spotlight, two Italian cultural performances were held. The Sussex Dance Academy performed an Italian folk dance called the tarantella.
The tarantella is a lively folk dance performed to a distinct, upbeat musical style. The name “tarantella” is derived from the city of Taranto in southern Italy where the dance is believed to have originated in the 15th century. The name of the tarantula spider comes from the town of Taranto as well. The choreography and name of the dance are based on an old folk belief about the effect of a poisonous spider bite. It was believed that when someone was bitten by a tarantula, the only cure would be to dance the poison out of his or her system. For this reason, many consider the tarantella to be a healing or medicinal dance. Dance scholars offer various interpretations into the origins and meanings of the tarantella.