Basque Dance

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Author: John M. Ysursa

Format: Paper
Pages: 120
ISBN: 9781886609037
Published Date: 1999

Basque Dance provides both Basque and non-Basque readers with an introduction to an ancient art form that still endures. The Basques have succeeded in preserving a rich and varied collection of folk dances. From village to village and province to province, the music, steps and costumes change, but the Basques’ deep love of dance remains a constant. There are approximately 400 distinct Basque folk dances, each with its own story and significance. Many include the use of sticks and swords that the dancers strike together as they progress through the movements of the dance. The more recent social dances derive from early celebratory dances but are today devoid of any sacred function. They are characterized by differences in style and function, and allow for dual-gender participation. Early immigrants brought their knowledge of local dance traditions with them to the United States. These dances, as well as those performed in the Basque Country, fit into two broad categories: traditional or ritual dances and the more recent social or recreational dances. Ritual dances are those set aside for particular events and require specific circumstances and, initially, were performed by male dancers.

Author Bio
John Ysursa graduated from Boise State University with a degree in History. He then continued with graduate studies and completed his Masters at University of California, Riverside where he wrote a thesis on the Basques of Southern California. He continued at UCR to complete his Ph.D. studies and wrote his dissertation on Religion and the Coming of the American Civil. Previously he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of history at the University of Redlands and more recently a Senior Lecturer at San Diego State University. John is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Boise State Department of History, where he is working as part of a team seeking to establish a Basque Studies. In addition to working with students and offering courses and workshops in Basque Studies, he will be helping in the formation of a Basque Studies Consortium that seeks to embrace various departments at Boise State as well as state, national and international academic institutions engaged in Basque Studies while pursuing community engagement efforts.