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Hemen zaude: Hasiera Hemeroteka Basque traditions continue with new generation of dancers

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Basque traditions continue with new generation of dancers

Dee Holzel
Silvelrl Pinyon Journal

The Dantza eta Edan began when a small group of four dancers decided to get together for a session of Basque dancing. The group soon expanded to eight and has continued to grow as more adults expressed an interest.

Kody Young, who helped found the group, commented, “This is more than just dance; it’s about the culture and language that not too many people know any more. We wanted to learn and study the dance and culture so we could pass it on.”

Young has been performing with Basque dance troupes for six years in both Winnemucca and Elko.  He said Dantza eta Edan  performs traditional dances – with a twist as they’ve expanded their music from just traditional instruments, such as the triki (accordion), pandero (tambourine), txistu (flute), tabor (drum), and alboka (horn), to include modern instruments like the electric guitar.

“It’s a little more rock ‘n roll,” he said with a laugh.

The group meets two times a week for rehearsals, and they currently practice Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings at the High Energy Dance Studio.  The practice has paid off as Dantza eta Edan has begun performing in the community and is looking forward to dancing during the festival season in June and July.

Young said the group would appreciate new members -- even those who haven’t danced before but who are willing to learn.  Membership is restricted to those who belong to or are eligible for membership in the Winnemucca Basque Club.

For more information email Kody Young at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Kody Young and Nikki Chafin

(shown) Kody Young and Nikki Chafin demonstrate the grace and athleticism of Basque dancing.  There are two types of shoes:  the leather "abarkak" and the rope soled "espadrilles". The shoes must be special ordere; Young recommends  Etcheverry Basque Imports of San Francisco.
Members of the Dantza eta Edan perform the Fandago

The dance in this picture is called the "fandango".  It could take a new dancer roughly 1.5 hours of practice to learn the steps. (shown) Maite Hernandez, Katie Garijo, Mayelen Bengochea, Nikki Chaffin, and Kody Young.

(front row) Mayelen Bengochea, Katie Garijo and Maite Hernandez (back row) Nikki Chaffin and Kody Young

Each dancer makes his or her own costume; though, some special pieces are ordered. These are "baserri" or peasant costumes, which are designed to show a more authentic look at how vibrant the clothing once was. Each dancer picks the colors for her costuming.
The lapurdiko ihauteriak

The stick dance is called "lapurdiko ihauteriak". It is from the Basque province of Lapurdi. It is traditionally done to purge evil or insects from crops, and to prevent disease and plague. It is traditionally performed during Mardi Gras festivities.

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