Basque dance varies across the region, but overall, the Basque culture has a deep love for traditional dances. There are over 400 types of traditional folk dances performed by the Basque people, each one having its own significance and backstory.
Many types of Basque dances involve staves or swords that dancers use as a part of the choreography. These can be used to create rhythms or mock swordfights. One such dance is the ezpatadantza or “sword dance,” which is danced in Durango during the Corpus Christi feast. Many Basque dances are traditionally only performed by men, but some are dances only by women, and others with all genders.
Two popular dances are the Dantzari Dantza from Durangaldea (Biscay) and the Sorgin Dantza from Oria (Gipuzkoa). The Dantzari Dantza is a cycle of nine dances that are performed on local festival days. The choreography has reportedly remained the same since the 19th century, and involves swordfighting. The Sorgin Dantza, the “dance of the witches,” is a comedic dance that sometimes features people in costumes. The dance is composed of wild movements that are entertaining to watch.
Basque folk dance is a historical and cultural touchstone for the Basque people, representing and continuing a long culture and sport.