Main areas in which we are currently working:



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Compilation of the steps and choreographies of Traditional Basque Dance, in DVCAM 1/2" digital video system

Thanks to the awarding of an important subsidy by the Provincial Government of Bizkaia at the end of 2000, BIZKAI euskal folklor elkartea, has largely updated its analogue professional video recording system, to the present DVCAM 1/2" digital system.

Starting in 2001, BIZKAI euskal folklor elkartea has continued its field work, compiling the steps and choreographies of the different dances of the Basque country, in digital format.

Aim: Research, compilation, filing, study, dissemination and revival of our traditional dance.


Creation of a video library on Basque folklore

The work of recording the steps and choreographies of traditional Basque dance first began about thirty years ago, initially on S/8 film and subsequently on U-Matic 3/4" video.
We are now continuing this work using our new DVCAM 1/2" digital video system.

In early 2001 we began transferring our existing video library - which had already begun to suffer from the progressive deterioration of the video tapes with some loss of images - to the new digital system and thus save it for posterity.

With the material recorded on video we are building up our video library of Basque folklore.


Courses of traditional Basque dance

Upcoming courses:

BIZKAI Ohiko Euskal Dantzaren Eskola XXVI
. Ikasturtea. (26th Annual Course of Basque Folk Dancing). To be held from November 2003 to May 2004 inclusive.

Durango Merinaldeko Dantzen ikastaroa (erromerietan egiteko)

BIZKAI Ohiko Euskal Dantzaren Eskola. Baztango folklorearen III. Ikastaroa. Third Course on Traditional Dance of Baztan. The classes will be given by the best Dantza-maisus in Baztan, Xabier and Patxi Larralde from Arizkun during the months of October, November and December.

Ohiko Euskal Dantzaren Eskola Ikastaro trinkoa. Gabonak 2001. Intensive course in traditional Basque dance. To be held in December-January 2003-2004.

BILBO DANTZAN. BIZKAI elkartearen Euskal erromeria

Ohiko dantzarako gunea Bilboko Arenalean

Traditional Dance Zone in El Arenal, Bilbao

This is one of our flagship projects. The first edition has already been held and was a great success. We are now working on the second edition, which will run from 5 January to 7 December 2002 inclusive.

Sponsored by Bilbao City Council.

The event will be organised on the first Saturday of each month in the El Arenal square, in Bilbao.

From 5.30 to 6 pm there will be a parade through a number streets in the town by the local guest group, accompanied by traditional musicians.

From 6 to 9.30 pm we will hold the the BILBO DANTZAN. BIZKAI elkartearen Euskal erromeria.

For enthusiasts of traditional Basque folklore and dance this means three and a half hours of authentic traditional Basque dance, open to anyone wishing to participate.


National Danza-jauziak and Mutil-dantzak Day

Migel Anjel Sagasetari omenaldia
(Tribute to Father Migel Anjel Sagaseta)

Remembering Beñat Hirigoyen «Galtxetaburu»

Bilbao, 29 September 2002

These two highly important families of dance - known as Dantza-jauziak and Mutil-dantzak - originate from Lapurdi, Nafarroa beherea, Nafarroa garia (Luzaide and the Baztan Valley) and Xiberua and share a common origin. We want to institute them as the National Basque Dance.

Our idea is to create a Dantza-jauzi eta Mutil-dantzaren Egun Nazionala (National Dantza-jautziak and Mutil-dantzak Day).

Every year, this important festival will be held in a different venue in one of the four territories, although the venue for the first edition will be in Bizkaia, since Bilbao is promoting the national festival. The event will be a milestone in the history of traditional dance in the Basque Country.

By celebrating this special day, dedicated to the Dantza-jauziak and Mutil-dantzak, for the first time in Basque history, local folk groups representing the two families of dance will meet in Bilbao to dance some of their Dantza-jauziak and Mutil-dantzak in unison. The result will be a unique dance spectacle of great visual impact, beauty and authenticity.

There are a number of technical difficulties involved and we are working hard to overcome them. These include:

— The nomenclature. All the territories participating in the event have different names for the steps, and this will make marking the steps difficult;
The tempos of the dances, which also vary greatly from province to province;
Differences in the performance of the steps;

Our reasons for instituting the National Danza-jauziak and Mutil-dantzak Day:

The Basque Country's need for a national dance that will identify it as a nation, at home and abroad.
Large-scale revival and dissemination of these families of dances, conserving the variants and peculiarities of each place of origin.
The creation of a folk day, which will help to reinforce the national identity of traditional Basque culture.

Reasons for choosing
the Dantza-jauziak and Mutil-dantzak to be the Basque national dance:

The Dantza-jauziak and the Mutil-dantzak, are two families of dance with a common origin and are the most widespread of all the dances performed in the Basque Country. Indeed, they have spread beyond the borders of the Basque Country and are performed in other regions of France too.
The huge variety of elegant steps, with their nomenclature in Basque.
The slow, elegant and lordly gait required of the dancers.
The relative ease of performance, meaning that the dances can be performed by men and women, young and old alike.
The antiquity of the dances is undeniable. Proof of this can be seen in the fact the dance requires the formation of a circle or various concentric circles. When we asked old people when these formations dated from, they all gave us the same answer - "always".
For circle dancing, no special number of dancers is required, and the number of people participating is therefore unlimited.
Although originally the dance was only performed by men, nowadays both sexes participate. The only exceptions are Baztan and Luzaide, although we feel that this situation will most probably change in the near future. For the moment, though, we shall naturally respect the decision of these two communities.

For all of these reasons, we consider that these two families of dances are best fitted to be made the BASQUE NATIONAL DANCE.

*   *   *

BIZKAI euskal folklor elkartea considers that the celebration of the Dantza-jauzi eta Mutil-dantzaren Egun Nazionala, in El Arenal in Bilbao next September would be an ideal opportunity to pay tribute to a man who dedicated so much of his life's work to compiling valuable oral and written documentation on traditional Basque dance and particularly the melodies, dance steps, directions, forms and tempos of the Dantza-jauziak: FATHER MIGEL ANJEL SAGASETA.

FATHER MIGEL ANJEL SAGASETA was born in Ituren-Nafarroa garaia. His book, Danzas de Valcarlos, was of great importance for traditional Basque culture. Published in Iruñea (Pamplona), under the auspices of the Provincial Government of Navarre and the Institución Príncipe de Viana it has long been out of print.

It is a fine work, and an important treasury of the traditional dance of the Basque Country. Thanks to Sagaseta's work, today many dances which had almost been forgotten are now performed regularly.

FATHER MIGEL ANJEL SAGASETA was assigned to a parish in Luzaide for seven years and from here in his free time he set out on his small motorcycle, travelling through Lapurdi, Nafarroa beherea, Xiberua and all the districts of Luzaide.

Thirty years ago, interest in the Dantza-jauziak, had waned amongst the communities of Lapurdi, Nafarroa beherea, Xiberua and Luzaide. The dances had largely been forgotten and there were very few musicians left who know how to play the melodies correctly. Nonetheless, these had been amongst the most important dances of the different territories, and many had previously been preserved and performed by countless generations in the town square. Sadly, today we only know a few of these dances.

The current situation may not be very good, but it has improved greatly. This type of dance is being taught in Iparralde and in Bilbao-Bizkaia to an extent which would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

BIZKAI euskal folklor elkartea has been working to disseminate these dances for nearly thirty years. Indeed, the first steps of these dances in Bizkaia came from the BIZKAI Ohiko euskal dantzaren eskola. And naturally, we intend to continue this work.

*   *   *

On 29 September 2002, from the early hours of the morning, different traditional music groups, mostly from Iparralde, will parade through the streets of Bilbao in kalejiras.

The celebrations will include different spectacles of dance, music, song and bertsolarismo (improvised verse), all carefully chosen to give the festival as much local colour as possible, with the tribute to FATHER MIGEL ANJEL SAGASETA forming the days' central event. This celebration will be held in the El Arenal square in Bilbao.

The presentation of a new edition of his important work, Luzaideko iantzak, extensively amended and extended, and presented to the public on the occasion of this tribute to the author, will put the icing on the cake of this important event for traditional Basque dance.

In attendance will be between three hundred and fifty and four hundred dantzaris and musicians, from the different historical territories of the Basque Country.


Dance Centre Folk archive

This is the future Centre of Traditional Music and Dance.

It is a cultural centre dedicated to traditional music and dance and all matters connected to folklore in general, with particular emphasis on Basque folklore.

The Dantza-etxea will be the venue for courses and exhibitions of traditional Basque and international folk dancing.

In its studios courses will be given on traditional Basque dance over the Internet to any international centre that so wishes.

Training courses will be held at the Dantza-etxea on traditional music and musical instruments.

The Dantza-etxea will promote international exchange with local dance groups.

It will provide a venue for anyone wanting to practise traditional Basque dance for fun.

There will be a library specialising in traditional dance, and dance in general.

The shop will sell dance utensils and objects, publications and audio-visual recordings on traditional music and dance.

There will be a department with DVCAM audio-visual resources, in combination with BIZKAI euskal folklor elkartea.

The centre will include a video library on Basque and international folklore, in combination with BIZKAI euskal folklor elkartea.


Training of traditional dance teachers

DWe also train Dantza-maisus so that they can teach at the BIZKAI. Ohiko Euskal Dantzaren Eskola and any other schools that may be set up.

Autonomia kalea, 44 behea. 48010 Bilbo-Bizkaia. Euskal Herria
Eusko Jaurlaritzaren Kultur aretoan. Tel./fax 94 421 01 61