|Every year for ihauteriak (carnival) young men from Arizkun in the
Baztan valley perform the ritual Sagar Dantza or apple dance. The dancers,
accompanied by musicians, make their way around the village doing a zortziko, a
dance that serves as locomotion, and repeat the Sagar Dantza, in several
locations. Between each set of dances they rest and have a glass of sagardoa
In 1928 a version of this dance for women was
choreographed for a theatrical production in Donostia. While the new dance retains some of
the same melodic and choreographic themes, it is quite different than the original dance
from Arizkun. The women's dance is much more balletic, while the dance from Arizkun
emphasizes male strength and agility.
lunch members of the general population come out in costume and participate in the
communal ihauteriak. Figures representing a bear, hartza, and a
bear trainer also roam the streets engaged in their own struggle. During this part of the
day, chaos rules.
Another distinctive dance from Arizkun is Eskalpoin Dantza (The
Wooden Shoe Dance). Wooden shoes were used traditionally in many parts of the Basque
Country. Usually other footwear was worn inside the eskalapoinak and straw
was stuffed in to take up any extra room. This protected the wearers' shoes from
soggy and muddy conditions common to a climate in which rain is frequent.
Eskalapoin Dantza belongs to the area's typical genre of Mutil
Dantzak which traditionally were danced only by men. The lyrics to Eskalpoin
Dantza were recorded by Azkue and are included in his collection of Basque songs.