Alpargate dance

Alpargata dance

The dress code at the end of XIX century was very strict. You would never see a lady in the street without her hat and gloves, a gentleman would always wear a suit and leather shoes. By the way, not very comfortable  shoes.

This dress code was OK for your everyday use. What about this look for the week of the running of the bulls? And what about really running with the bulls?

I remember my grandpa’s shoes, trust me, they were extremely beautiful, but at the same time extremely uncomfortable. Grandpa, as well as the rest of men in town, would change those shoes , to run with the bulls to the more comfortable, white espadrilles. After the run it is moment to celebrate that you are alive and that you didn’t get hurt by a bull, so we go dancing.

On the first floor on top of Café Iruña, in Plaza del Castillo, we find Pamplona’s most conservative gentlemen’s club, Pamplona’s Nuevo Casino. Everyday at 8:30, right after the run everybody comes to have breakfast, talk about the run and celebrate by dancing. As you can imagine there was a “law” in the club saying that gentlemen had to wear leather shoes at all time in the club. The exception was during this morning dance, were we could wear espadrilles. This is the reason why this dance is known as the Espadrille Dance or   Baile de la Alpargata.

Today you can only enter the dance with an invitation and it is one of the  few places in Pamplona that is still for locals. If by any chance somebody invites you in, really be thankful because it is a very special thing. You will see grandmas dancing with their grandkids, teenagers trying to look sober after a long night, politicians, artists and once in a while, even a Hollywood start.