Folk Festival to Stream Live!

Ri Ualanegli knows how to produce a Folk Dance Festival!  If you can’t get to Pontelandolfo – and I encourage you to get here – you can see the festival streamed live on and on FaceBook Ri Ualanegli Pontelandolfo.  Save those links!  Save the dates – July 31, August 1 & 2. At the end of the blog there is a complete schedule of events – don’t forget the time difference if you want to catch the live stream.  The commercial will wet your appetite for folk dance and if that doesn’t work, read on about the two other Italian companies that will be in the festival – Urbanitas and La Pacchianella.

Associazione Culturale & Folcloristica Urbanitas

Based in the town of Apiro, Urbanitas, formed in 1933, shares the rural traditions and culture of the 19th-century Marches.  This was a period of abject poverty.  There were rare occasions for festivals.  Because they were rare, the festivals were incredibly unique and intense.  The peasants of the Marches, accompanied by sprightly music enjoyed themselves dancing that bordered on the phrenetic.


The company was included in the filming of Dino Risi’s Straziami ma di Baci Saziami, starring Nino Manfredi.  They have also been seen on both regional and national television.

Since the 1970s, Urbanitas has collaborated with the town of Apiro and produced an annual international folkloric festival, Terranostra Apiro.

La Pacchianella

This folk group claims to be one of the oldest – founded in 1923 – and most famous Italian group.  They come from  Monte Sant’Angelo in Foggia – noted for the white line of terraced houses and in the Christian world for its ancient rocky shrine where in 490 The Archangel Michael appeared.  I thought it was interesting that their costumes hint of Spain and reflect the Spanish rule of the area.  Lots of color, tons of gold – bling personified – is fun to watch and adds panache to the dances.  They have toured the world and made a number of films including one by Disney on folk lore.  This video has them dancing in front of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower!

folk poster


San Antonio Di Padova and Me

San Antonio is the Patron Saint of Pontelandolfo.anthonyp

Now, I’m not sure what a Patron Saint does.  I asked Jack who went through 16 years of Catholic Education and he said, ” Nothing now, they’re dead”.  After I tossed an apple at him he continued.  They used to do miracles, now they are a conduit to God.  Folks ask them for help.  Ah, I said.  Believing there are no coincidences, I began to wonder why in the play I just finished, Mamma Mia – La Befana?! one of the characters asked San Antonio for his help.  I thought I had used the name San Antonio because I was finishing the play, here in Ponteladolfo and the festa for him was plastered on posters everywhere.  When I looked him up on Wikipedia it said:

St Anthony is venerated all over the world as the Patron Saint for lost articles, and is credited with many miracles involving lost people, lost things and even lost spiritual goods.

Woo woo time.  In Mamma Mia – La Befana everyone is looking for the little lost girl, Mary. (This is a secret commercial for my new play, Mamma Mia – La Befana?!,  which is perfect for Italian American Clubs, schools, children’s theaters. It is a modern spin on the traditional Italian tale.)

Friday night, June 13 a large percentage of our local community went to the piazza to honor San Antonio. The night started with a mass –

Mass was in Chiesa Madre the “Mother Church”

moved on to procession  –


A band led the procession.

and culminated with fireworks.


It was fun to see the whole community participate.
It was fun to see the whole community participate.

In the middle, was a performance by the youth dance company, I Bebiani di  Circello and our favorite – Ri Ualanegli Juonior, the junior company of Pontelandolfo’s folklorico troupe.  The company tours internationally!

Before I share a video of the local favorite, I need to tell you that the woo woo gets better. I asked a few people why the children’s company seems to always dance for San Antonio. The answer – he is also the dude who watches over children.  Boy did I score a home run picking him to be part of my play about a lost child!

Enjoy the video clip of our young dancers on June 13!

(Think about asking me about Mamma Mia – La Befana?!)