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They Dance Alone



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Sting wrote this after he saw a brief news story about women dancing in the streets of Chile torn apart by the Pinochet regime. The women were dancing in the streets with pictures of their husbands, fathers, brothers or sons pinned to their clothes or they were holding the pictures and dancing with them. (thanks Carole - St. Augustine, FL)
Branford Marsalis played the sax.
This was released as a single along with a Spanish version of the song, "Ellas Danzan Solas." It didn't chart.
Jackson Browne said in a 2008 issue of Rolling Stone: "'They Dance Alone' is one of my favorite examples of how to speak to people. He magnified an appropriated image and passed it on to the world."
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Comments (11):

Sting, NYC, NY: This song is not about Palestine. No one to my knowledge hace written about this: They Dance Alone was written in regards of the thousands of people that the government of the dictator Pinochet dissapeard in Chile.
- marino, santo domingo, Dominican Republic
This song was written by Sting about the genocide of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Many women have lost loved ones: sons, husbands, brothers, fathers...
- sting, NYC, NY
This song was written by Sting about the genocide of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Many women have lost loved ones: sons, husbands, brothers, fathers...
- sting, NYC, NY
This song is just BEAUTIFUL-another TRUE CLASSIC by my favorite artist-Sting. Cueca Solo paints a very detailed picture of the hardships(and that's an understatement), the women under Pinochet's rulership endured. I just LOVE the Ruben Blades solo in Spanish, the sound of Branford's sax and the lyrics....what more can I say? Sting is A-1.
- Christina, Baltimore, MD
This is a beautiful song, but I agree with Sting. The song is not the important part - it's the 'event' he was able to magnify. The woman of 70's Chile took a chance that Pinochet would realize that had he ordered his soldiers to stop the protests using violence, the specter of soldiers gunning down women in broad daylight for dancing would have brought more political pressure and publicity than he would risk. And they were right, so they never opposed this form of protest. The drama lies in the image of all these woman using a peaceful symbol of a Dance as a form of protest set against a backdrop of police stations and soldiers who's weapons and tanks were rendered useless. This is a very powerful and dramatic image.
- Frank, Cambridge, MA
The person who spoke the verse in spanish is Ruben Blades.
-Orben, Bronx, New York
- orben, Bronx, NY
Annabelle, and anyone else who wants to know what the Spanish translates to. It's really just the corus in Spanish. It means (roughly):
They dance with the missing,
Dance with the dead,
Dance with Loves invisible
With silent anguish
Dance with their fathers
with their sons (could be translated children, but because of previous verses, I think sons is more appropriate)
with their spouses (husbands)
They (women) dance alone
(They) dance alone
- Maria, Sacramento, CA
Who was the one that did the spoken part in Spanish? I wonder what the spoken part translates to.
- Annabelle, Eugene, OR
Sting actually visited Chile as part of the Amnesty tour. I think he may have witnessed La Cuerca Solo. He explains it in the insert to the Nothing Like the Sun album.
- Tiffany, Castro Valley, CA
my drama class used this song in a play we performed last year about these women. the situation is so sad and horrible, it's great that someone has written a song explaining the terrible ordeal these women have to go through. everyone cried by the end of our play.
- tegan, Darwin, Australia
Whew.....from Nada Como El Sol...that's Nothing Like The Sun in Spanish. One of the best in the album. Like 'Russians', it's set on the theme of war, and about personal loss at a macrocosm. Mr Marsalis is just so damn haunting.....
- Arka, Calcutta, AR
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