|Perhaps the most well-known dances from Bizkaia
are the set of Dantzari Dantzak from the area of Durango. Some of these dances
use implements such as large sticks and swords. One of the pieces belonging to this
set is Agintariena in which the flag is first saluted by each dancer then whirled
energetically above the group as they kneel and bow. Other dances of the set are Zortziko,
Ezpata Joko Txikia, Banako, Ezpata Joko Nagusia, Binako, Launako, Makil Joko and Txontxongilo.
An excellent written source on these dances is J.L. Etxebarria
Goiri's Danzas de Bizkaia/ Bizkaiako Dantzak (1983). It contains
explanations, instructions and many illustrations.
Etxebarria Goiri states that traditionally in Berriz, the 20 best
dancers were selected to try out for the celebration of San Pedro 2 or 3 weeks ahead of
time. These individuals practiced in the evenings and on the Sunday before San Pedro
they were tested after mass by the txistulari, who was generally also the dance master.
Eight from this group were chosen for that year's celebration.
These dances grew very popular and were extended throughout nearly all
regions of the Basque Country due to the influence of the famous Basque nationalist Sabino