Tag Archives: Seville

Renaissance Christmas skits

Since the fifteenth century—perhaps even earlier—a group of young choirboys known as los seises has danced for feast days in the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede in Seville. These cantoricos were performing in Christmas Eve plays by the beginning of the sixteenth century.

Documents from 1505 record expenses for masks for the boys’ performance as singing and dancing shepherds, and toward the middle of the sixteenth century the Council Acts indicate performance of a farsa de Navidad. As described in 1541, these brief skits were often associated with lively dance numbers from the contemporaneous Spanish theater. These diversions appear to have caused some offense, as a 1549 decision banned the performances, allowing only devotional singing.

This according to “Los seises in the golden age of Seville” by Lynn Matluck Brooks (Dance chronicle V/2 [1982], pp. 121–155). Below, los seises perform in 2010.

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Filed under Dance, Dramatic arts, Renaissance