The history of Portuguese dance includes traditional, regional folk dances, modern dance, and ballet. Portuguese folk dances have historic origins in the country's varied regions and are based on traditions associated with the historic provinces. At least by the 18th century, these folk dances, performed in traditional garb, were popular and became differentiated by region. In the south of the country, there were colorful, passionate lively dances by rural folk in the Algarve, the corridinho; and in the Ribatejo, the fandango, the dance most celebrated and known outside Portugal. In northern Portugal, even more folk dances were developed and preserved in each historic province. In Trás-os-Montes, there were the chulas and dancas do pauliteros, in which dancers used sticks and stick play. Each region had its own special folk dances and costumes, with typical jewelry on display, and with some dances reflecting regional courting and matrimonial traditions. Perhaps richest of all the provinces as the home of folk dance has been the Minho province in the northwest, with dances such as the viras, gotas, malháo, perim, and tirana. For the most part, folk dances in Portugal are slower than those in neighboring Spain.
   Various factors have favored the preservation of some of these dances including local, regional, and national dance organizations that, for recreation, continue this activity in Portugal, as well as abroad in resident Portuguese communities in Europe, the Americas, and Africa. As a part of entertainment for visitors and tourists alike, performances of folk dances with colorful costumes and lively movements have continued to interest onlookers from abroad. Such performances, usually accompanied by singing traditional folk songs, can occur in a variety of settings including restaurants, fado houses, and arenas. Such dances, too, are performed in traditional, commemorative parades on the Tenth of June from Lisbon and Oporto to Newark, New Jersey, Toronto, and France.
   In modern dance activities, Portugal has made a diversified contribution, and in recent decades ballet has received intense attention and commitment as a performing art. An outstanding example has been the professional company and its performances of the notable Ballet Gulbenkian, established and financed by the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. Founded in 1964, Ballet Gulbenkian became an outstanding ballet company, featuring both Portuguese and international ballet dancers and directors. For decades, Ballet Gulbenkian made a distinguished contribution to the performing arts in Portugal. In 2005, unexpectedly and controversially, by fiat of the Foundation's administration, the Ballet Gulbenkian was closed down. The extinction of this ballet company provoked strong national and international protest among fans of ballet, and amounting as it did to a crisis in one division of the performing arts in a country that had expected unstinting financial support from the Foundation established from the financial legacy of notable collector, philanthropist, and financier Calouste Gulben- kian, a resident of Portugal from 1942 to 1955.
   See also Music.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.


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