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50 Years as Basque dance ambassadors

Fifty years ago, a young group of Basque-Americans dreamed of creating a troupe to preserve and perform the unique dances of their ancient heritage. They journeyed to the Basque Country in the summer of 1960 in pursuit of this dream.  In the midst of the mountains and sea coast where the Basque culture began, the young people met a group of dancers from the town of Donostia (or San Sebastian).
  The founding members of the group in the Summer of 1960.

The American visitors accompanied the dancing group to rehearsals and festivals that summer and the two groups became fast friends. In the enthusiasm and dedication of this dance troupe the American Basques saw a perfect model for their own group in the United States. 

One of the earliest big performances for the group was the trip to the World's Fair in New York City.


The friendship between the groups, born of a common heritage and love of the Basque tradition of dance, lead to the naming of the Basque American "dream" group after their Basque Country friends. They named the new group "Oinkari" (meaning one who does with his feet, or dancer in Euskara, the Basque language).

Upon their return the Boise Oinkari soon began rehearsals under the direction of Albert Erquiaga and Diana Urresti, and with the expert musical accompaniment of Jim Jausoro and Domingo Ansotegui, the Oinkari's made their debut at the annual gathering of area Basques, the Sheepherder's Ball, at Christmas time in 1960. The dream at last came true.

  The group averages dozens of performances each year, representing themselves, their community, and all of us as Basques--and they make us proud.

The hard work continues and the dream endures, as the Oinkari Dancers have become a source of pride to the Basque community as well as to the State of Idaho. In the best tradition of folk customs, the dances have been taught to hundreds of young Basques throughout the years.

The original musicians when the group began--and for many years thereafter--were the late Domingo Ansotegui and Jim Jausoro.


Dancers and instructors from the Basque country have visited Boise and enriched the group's traditional repertoire.  Some members have also had opportunities to travel to the Basque Country and learn additional dances.

  The Oinkari present a wide array of Basque folk dances that originated in the Basque homeland of Euskal Herria.  Here the men are performing a series of dances from the town of Lesaka in Nafarroa.

Oinkari Dancers are not professional performers, but their respect for their cultural heritage makes the Oinkari performances a whirl of flying feet, snapping fingers, ancient music, and shouts of exhortation a thrilling combination of precision and enthusiasm.

This enthusiasm has spread to appreciative crowds in World's Fair exhibitions throughout North America including Spokane, Seattle, New York and Montreal. In 1973 the group visited six Western states on a tour and traveled to perform at a folk festival in Washington D.C. 

In 1985 to celebrate the its 25th anniversary, the group made a return voyage to the Basque Country, and again since then, where they performed throughout the seven Basque provinces. 

Oinkari Basque Dancers Mission:  

Through the art of traditional Basque dance, we, the Oinkari Basque Dancers of Boise, Idaho, share our culture with our local and global community while continuing to preserve our unique heritage for future generations.


The Oinkari Dancers continue to travel to national Basque gatherings at various states.  The group also performs dozens of times each year for local charities, hospitals, and nursing homes.  Here's looking to another strong 50 years!

Beste 50 urte!


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