makila given to Zenbat Gara by Argia
Gipuzkoako ezpata dantzari - Zenbat Garagona gorriaThe dances of Gipuzkoa are considered pre-classic. The steps are codified and precise.   Dances such as Agurra and Ezpata Dantza were historically, and continue to be, presented before foreign monarchs and dignitaries.

The man responsible for recording the dances, their steps, music and social context, was Juan Inazio Iztueta from Zaldibia.  He wrote his master work, Gipuzkoako Dantza Gogoangarriak, in 1824.  It was a manual for the proper execution of traditional dances as well as an effort to preserve them before they disappeared. It is relied upon heavily even today by Basque dance groups, and has been the subject of other Basque writers.

Other important early dance masters of the Gipuzkoan tradition who followed the teachings of Iztueta were José Antonio Olano and José Lorenzo Pujana.   Many Towns in Gipuzkoa have distinctive dances performed on their feast days.   Some of these are Tolosa, Zumarraga, Oñati, Andoain and Legazpia.

Ezpata Dantza in Zumaia 1992The Gipuzkoan tradition includes a cycle of dances performed with implements such as swords, sticks and shields, small and large arches.  There is also an important genre known as Soinu Zaharrak or Old  Melodies in which dancers display their virtuosity.

While the woman's costume shown above is not exclusive to Gipuzkoa, its red skirt was common there and is representative of the Atlantic Basque style.



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Images on this and other Cyber Dantza pages Copyright 2001 © Lisa Corcostegui