Moreška is a traditional sword dance from the town of Korčula, on the Croatian island of the same name in the Adriatic. Dating back hundreds of years, the Moreška is an elaborate production involving two groups of dancers, engaging in a mock battle over the fate of a veiled young woman. Originally performed rarely on special occasions, in modern times the Moreška is performed weekly for visiting tourists.
The two sides of battling dancers were originally Moors and Christians, recalling the Spanish battles of the Reconquista in the Middle Ages. However, at some point in the 19th century in Korčula, the sides changed from Christians vs. Moors, to Turks vs. Moors, or simply “White” and “Black”, with the non-Moor side emerging victorious.
The Moreška in Korčula dates back to at least the mid-17th century, from the several hundred years of battle between Muslims and Christians in Spain, during the Reconquista. The version danced in Korčula appears to be the only one in modern times which uses two swords held by each soldier in the elaborate mock battles.