Moreska- romantic war dance with swords
Moreska is a romantic war dance with swords that spread originally from the Mediterranean countries in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Moreska arrived in Korcula in the 16th century, at the same time as it did in Dubrovnik, most probably from Sicily or Southern Italy, via Venice. An indication of this is that two of the dance “figures” have Italian names: the “Rujer” and the “Rujer di fori via”. “Ruggero” was the name of a Sicilian war-dance, a version of the Moreska, in which the Saracens are shown fighting against the Norman Prince Ruggiero d’Altavilla — a powerful family who ruled over Sicily and Southern Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries, which suggests a possible link. There are, however, no written records of the Korculan dance until the beginning of the 18th century. Latterly and up to the first World War the Moreska was “fought” only every few years — protagonists were often wounded and replaced by ‘seconds’ during the dance — between 1918 and 1939 it was performed every year under the aegis of the Gymnastic Society of Korcula. Nowadays it is an exclusive Society (and ‘club’) of its own and the Moreska is performed much more frequently for the benefit of the many tourists who visit the Island.
Moreska was named after the Moors – Moriski. That explains the origins of the Spanish adjective ˝ morisco ˝ and of the Italian one ˝ moresco ˝, in fact, the war dance with the Moors – Moriski is called MORESCA in Italian.
It is supposed that the first moresca was performed in Spanish Lerida in 1150 as a reminiscence of the expulsion of the Moors.
It can be summarized as the story about the fight for a girl and in that sense it has its roots in the traditional Mediterranean stories and legends, of which perhaps the oldest and the most famous one is the one about the Trojan war, although there are some different characters in Moreška from Korčula.
Moreska is performed with a music accompaniment and several different musics have been composed throughout history. Today, Moreska is accompanied by the brass band, the score for which was composed by Krsto Odak in 1947.