A heritage of farming culture, the “Contradanza” dance arises as rural dance during harvest festival.
Arisen as a court dance during the Norman domination period, the Contradanza was initially a society dance but then it spread or was imposed among local populations up to become the most performed dance during wedding celebrations and especially during Carnival.
Sicilian contradanza is also called “cumannata” (ordered dance) because dancers’ steps are directed by the “maestru ri ballu” (dance master) or “bastoniere” (scepter-holder). Today it is still danced in some villages in the Province of Palermo where the peculiar alternatives of this dance are handed down from fathers to sons.
It is said that people used to dance, from the night to the morning after, directed by a music that seemed to reproduce the rhythm of the song of cicadas, while the high-pitched sound of a "whistle" represented the joy of couples who gleefully danced and created harmony through reverential gestures and dance sequences.