Monday, 5 October 2009

First Day in a Proper Casteller Shirt

Saturday, October 3, the human tower team Bordegassos de Vilanova for the third time celebrated its late leader (cap de colla) Albert Salvany (a personality on whom I commented shortly last year). This was an important day. For the colla (team), it was an opportunity to return to its established levels of difficulty, which had not been achieved during the last two weeks’ performances, in Valldoreix and Badalona, respectively. For me, this was my fifth performance as a member of the colla, but the first one in my adopted hometown and with my own casteller shirt, in the earthy yellow tone typical for the Bordegassos.

The performance (actuació) took place in the beautiful Plaça de les Cols and we had two visiting colles. The Xicots de Vilafranca (Alt Penedès) built the most advanced human towers: they crowned (carregar) and disassembled (descarregar) a '4 by 7' and a '3 by 7', both 'dismantled via a pillar' (4d7 amb l’agulla i 3d7 amb l’agulla) and then also a '4 de 7' which was “clean” (4d7 net), i.e. without a base (pinya) supporting the lowest two levels (baixos and segons). I formed part of the pinya, which was there, just in case, but which did not touch the construction.

The Castellers d’Esparreguera (Baix Llobregat) seemed very happy with their results: they crowned and dismantled a '4 by 7', a '3 by 7' and a '5 by 6' (4d7, 3d7 i 5d6).

Finally, we, the Bordegassos, started with a '5 by 7' (5d7). Already before this day, had I been in the pinya when a human tower has started to tremble and then collapsed, but what I will remember the most from the 2009 Diada d’Albert Salvany is an emotional experience of the opposite: how we, after the tower had been crowned and the dismantling had begun, felt strong vibrations and received warnings from the outer parts of the pinya that it would fall apart, but how there then was a mighty reaction - the power of a full group of people pressing their chests (pit) inwards – which helped to stabilize the structure. After that nervous opening, we followed up by crowning and dismantling a '4 by 7 dismantled via a pillar' (4d7 amb l’agulla) and a 4 by 7 (4d7).

My wife and children who had come to watch us went home at half time, and therefore missed how we rounded off with a pair of pillars of 5 levels. That was something which the Bordegassos had not accomplished for some time and yet another reason for us to be highly content. We have regained our confidence and it is time to take on new challenges.

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Technorati tags: Castellers, Catalonia, Garraf, Human Towers, Penedès, Vilafranca, Vilanova

1 comment:

Jim Morrison said...

That's great. I would love to be part of this. I just saw the Castellers d'Esparreguera performing in a festival here in Paris, outside the Sacre coeur.
130 of them came over from Catalonia.