The Moreška, its origin in the Mediterranean, and Capoeira, native to Africa, have been danced for centuries.
The Capoeira dance has its origin in Brazil, from the old days of slavery and symbolises the struggle against slavery. The struggle was very successful and resulted in the founding of the city of Palmarasa which became a free zone for slaves, and as such it has survived for many years. After the resistance collapsed, the Capoeira was prohibited and it has been preserved as a folk dance.
Capoeira has survived to modern times, and is growing in popularity around the world. Its Mediterranean counterpart is Moreška, a warrior sword dance which has its origin in Spain. It celebrated victory over the Moors (Moro in Spanish, Moresco in Italian). In our region, it first appeared in Trogir in the 12th century and in the 16th century it came to Korčula where it grew into a traditional dance preserved to this day, danced by many generations of Korčulans.
Today's Korčula boasts an exquisitely preserved old town, of the same name and which is the centre of the Moreška dance; everyone born in Korčula 'has been dancing it since childhood'.. The Moreška dance, unlike Capoeira, has in itself parts of both drama and romance, as it represents the struggle of the Black and White King and their armies for Bula (the girl) and is played with swords with a musical accompaniment.
Surely now you are asking yourself what would be the outcome of the fight of Moreška and Capoeira dancers? We believe just as uncertain as the clash of Croatian and Brazilian national football teams at the World Cup Championships. Local patriotism suggests we would give preference to the Moreška dancers though , because of three very specific reasons: they are better dressed, they have swords and finally they win the girl.
If you are planning to travel to the very southern part of Dalmatia, take one evening to enjoy a live performance of this knights' game.The skills of the dancers will leave you breathless! And, when you already are on this beautiful island, you can finish the evening by enjoying local fish, Žrnovo macaroni, delicious klašuni (cakes) and authentic Grk wine, perhaps the best white wine in the world.