The tarantella dance --  A lush folk dance popular of Southern Italy, it is built in 6/8 'abbastanza mosso tempo', and executed by couples -- generally more than one couple -- who play cartanets or tambourines while dancing. It represents an enblem of southern colour and Mediterranean vitality. The name Tarantella derives from the name of an insect. In fact a person bitten by Tarantula might begin jumping from the pain -- this is the first step of the Tarantella dance. Others think this dance was born as 'courtship dance'. The steps of the male dancer seem to express his love for the girl who is dancing with him.

It has rapid, whirling steps that "combines energy with grace and tells a love story in pantomime" (Art Journal 1886 p.169 quoted in Ormond and Kilmurray p. 68) and The Tarantella Dance

Link sent to me by  Stephanie
Updated 10/4/2001