Hemen zaude: Hasiera Hemeroteka 'Arrantza': tradition meets innovation; a new Basque dance is born

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'Arrantza': tradition meets innovation; a new Basque dance is born

Egilea
Igor Lansorena
Komunikabidea
eitb.com
Tokia
Boise, Idaho
Mota
Albistea
Data
2010/07/31

In front of a sold-out Morrison Center, various groups of Basques from both north and south of the Pyrenees, from the US and also, for the first time ever, a non-Basque group, danced and sang to celebrate Basque culture as part of the Jaialdi 2010 festivities.

Festa'ra, Friday's main event on the International Basque cultural festival being held in the capital city of Idaho, featured two dance groups from the Basque Country, Txorimaloak Soinu Taldea and Mutxiko Elkartea; Boise's Oinkari Basque Dancers, the year of their 50th anniversary; bertsolaris Iratxe Ibarra and Xabi Paya, Boise's Biotzetik Choir; Basque soprano Amaia Arberas and Boise's contemporary ballet company, the Trey McIntyre Project.

There were standing ovations for many of the groups but it was Arrantza, the interpretive dance by the Trey McIntyre Project, that grabbed the limelight. According to the group, their new piece is designed to "ruminate over Basque culture from the outside in, by weaving poetic extensions of Basque folk influence through a dreamlike structure of story".

"It was great. It was a great display of Basque culture, not the old culture but Basque culture continuing into the 21st century," said, Javi Zubizarreta, a film student from Boise who recently produced a documentary film about Basque shepherds and has a fictional film based on Basques currently in the pipeline.

Sean Aucutt, of Boise band Amuma Says No, enjoyed the Oinkari Basque Dancers but really liked the piece by the Trey McIntyre Project. "I thought it was good; they had a lot of information from other dances about Basques, and they put all that in their choreography, stories, and heart, and content, it was there. It was really cool," he said.

There were some, like Mark and Rick, of Basque heritage but who grew up in Idaho, who preferred the more traditional part of Festa'ra. "I liked the Oinkari dancers, they are from here, I grew up here so that is what I am more used to," said Mark. "I liked a couple of the local dances," adds Rick, who is enjoying his third Jaialdi.

For Iñaki Goirizelaia, President of the University of the Basque Country, Arrantza was wonderful. "It means a great step forward in the world of dance. Tonight I was able to see Basque steps, Basque rhythms and our way of dancing," he says.

Iban Ithurbide, a dancer from Bayonne who is in Boise for his first Jaialdi, was also amazed by the TMP piece. "There are more and more people becoming interested in Basque culture and that is really exciting," said Iban.

Poetry school

Xabi Paya and Iratxe Ibarra, two bertsolaris from the Basque Country, represented the more traditional side of Basque culture. Instead of simply improvising verses, however, they decided to teach the audience what Bertsolaritza is about and even sang some verses in English, which the audience really liked and received with warm applause.

"I think tonight was a beautiful mixture of old and new, the contemporary with the old tradition. It was very diverse, you really had all the flavor of the Basque art community," said Judith Walls Balis, from Boise.

The culture from inside

For the dancers of the Boise-based ballet company, it was also a very special night. It was the premiere of Arrantza and the first time that a non-Basque group performed in the Jaialdi.

"It was an honor to be invited into the Basque culture and be able to represent them and see the culture from inside," says Ashley Werhun, one of the dancers. "I had no idea how the audience was going to respond, but people jumped to their feet within the first two seconds. That was exciting, very exciting, very exciting," added John Michael, dancer and executive director of the company.

This is sure to be a taster of what is to come next year, when the dance troupe travel to the Basque Country to perform Arrantza

in several Basque cities.

Jaialdi 2010. Photo: Jon C. Hodgson

 

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