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Open circle dances in one or two rows
The most popular of the dances is the Aurresku, which means “first hand” in Basque, and is the name given to the first dancer in the Rope Dance and is in charge of leading the dance
Open circle dances, the most common kind of dances in the Basque Country, have a number of variations: Aurresku, Gizon dantza (Men’s Dance) or Soka Dantza (Rope Dance).
The most popular of the three is however the Aurresku, which means “first hand” in Basque, and is the name given to the first dancer in the Rope Dance, who is the most agile of the group and is in charge of leading the dance. This ancient and simple structure is repeated in virtually all of our local fiestas.
Still widely performed in Gipuzkoa are a variety of Gizon Dantzas, one of which is performed in San Sebastian’s Plaza de la Constitución on the eve of St. John’s Day. Others are those of Legazpi (May 3), Oñate (Corpus Christi), Abaltzisketa (evening of June 23), Tolosa (St. John’s Day), Zumarraga (July 2) and Aretxabaleta.
In Ordizia, on July 26, St. Ann’s Day, we can see a version of the Aurresku known as “Santaneros” which is performed by the couples who have married during the year.
Dances of this kind are still to be found in the Bizkaian towns of Abadiño (May 15), Berriz (June 29 and July 2), Forua (July 31, St. Ignatius), Garai (July 25, 26 and 31), Gernika-Lumo (Carnival Sunday), Iurreta (Sept. 29 and the following Sunday), Mañaria (Aug. 15), Markina-Xemein (Aug.29 and 30) and Elorrio (first Sunday in October). A number of versions are danced by women, as is the case of Lekeitio and Garai, performed on June 29 and July 26 respectively.
Variations likewise exist in Alava, such as the St. Isidore Dance (14 May) in Salinas de Añana and the popular Txulalai or Marmarisola danced on February 2 and 3 in Páganos, a neighbourhood of Laguardia. The Soka Dantza is also performed in Maeztu (June 17), and in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Aug. 5), at the “Virgen Blanca” fiestas.
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