(By Strength, balance, courage i seny) Yesterday i had the opportunity to attend a special Castellers de Barcelona rehearsal, as they were hosts of a group of New Yorkers. The youth football school – oh, sorry, “soccer” school – Manhattan Kickers FC came to Barcelona for their yearly trip, and one of the activities scheduled were castells.
They actually knew nothing about castells when they crossed the door of the building, but I bet they will remember that evening most of their life.
The visit started with some explanations from some members of Castellers de Barcelona about what castells are and what they mean to Catalan culture, and the screening of the video made when castells became UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage:
The little players and their parents were very impressed about the fact that castells may fall, and actually one of the questions was precisely about the injures. Dídac, one of the organisers, make the audience laugh when he said “Castells are safer than playing football”. Well, he was in front of a football team! Afterwards, they went downstairs to the rehearse track (I have to say that the building of Castellers de Barcelona is really huge) where they witnessed the rise of three welcome pillars by the Castellers. and then, some of them got sash-rolled.
It’s a fun moment, when you sash-roll somebody who has never seen a castell in his or her life, because most of them don’t know what are they going to do. They are confused and excited at the same time. The excitement of a first-timer is always a lot of fun.
So they started making some “columns” (at least is the way I say in Saballuts) or “stairs”, in that case. This is: kids learn how to climb and parents learn how to carry weight leaning in a stair, in this case, or a wall, in many cases. That was a lot of fun. Some of the people also dared to make that off the wall. And even without supervision (something that me and the rest of castellers do not advise to do when you’re a first timer).
Most of the kids who dared to climb over their parents’, or any other adult’s shoulders, were pretty good climbing actually. But most of them failed estrepitously when they tried to unclimb! Of course there was a huge idiomatic barrier, too. Most of the castellers talk little English and it’s understandable that for a kid who knows nothing else but English can feel cohibited when he is doing something with a certain risk. As it’s climbing. And when the teacher doesn’t know much English… But nobody got hurt!
At least this time. LOL.
Actually I got really impressed when the Castellers brought a couple of US people to act as a baixos of a tower of 5. It’s a very basic construction, but still. Those guys held the tower straight and nice and they can be proud of doing that.
The rehearsal finished with the raise of 3 pillars, with the enxaneta of each carrying a Manhattan Kickers FC scarf, an Estelada and a US flag.