Historic record in Catalonia’s human tower building

First ever ten-story human tower rocks Terrassa, near Barcelona

After last weekend, few people still believe that there are insurmountable limits to human tower building. The event hosted by Terrassa’s Minyons blew to smithereens the myth of the allegedly impossible-to-build “quatre de deu amb folre i manilles”: a ten-story construction, with four “castellers” per level and supported by additional people on levels two and three (“folre" —literally, the lining— and “manilles" —handles—).

Neither the sudden temperature drop last Sunday nor the extreme difficulty of this construction were enough to deter the Terrassa club from meeting their ten-story challenge head-on. The group entered Terrassa’s Plaça Vella following an imperial storm trooper, as their drummers and pipers played the main theme of Star Wars. It is precisely this subversive personality that gives Minyons their character and allows them to face up to unimaginable challenges.

On Sunday they began their performance with the most precious construction in their repertoire: “tres de deu amb folre i manilles” (a ten-story construction, with three “castellers” per level and supported by additional people on levels two and three); but rather than what you do, quite often the most important element is how you go about it. To start the day with such a construction to soothe everyone’s nerves is quite a statement; but when you disassemble it with such ease as the Minyons did, you begin to wonder whether anything is impossible.

The challenge came during the second round. Up until last Sunday, nobody had ever managed to get past the seventh story when trying to build a  “quatre de deu amb folre i manilles”. The sheer weight of such a monumental structure had always made it impossible to culminate the construction. But the Minyons broke the curse and not only did they manage to assemble the tower, but were also able to disassemble it. It was celebrated with tears, hugs and standing ovations. The Minyons produced an exceedingly solid base, an impeccable trunk and “manilles” that did their best to achieve the dream of any builder of human towers. Even though they only managed to build a “tres de nou amb folre i agulles” for the second time ever in their history, Terrassa’s Minyons ended their momentous day on a high note: a pillar of eight with “folre” and “manilles”.

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The Castellers de Barcelona built a “nou de vuit” (an eight-story construction, with nine “castellers” per level) but it collapsed, thus hindering their performance. They went on to build a “tres de nou amb folre” (nine stories, with three individuals per level) and culminated their exhibition with a pillar of seven. The Castellers de Sants also struggled with the top of the range towers. After managing to assemble a “tres de nou amb folre”, their “dos de nou” collapsed as it was being disassembled. They finished off their performance with a “cinc de vuit” and a “dos de vuit” with “lining”.

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