Basque and Scottish folk dance: a two-way journey

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2019-03-28

As part of the Scotland Goes Basque programme, a street performance combining traditional Basque and Scottish dances will be premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

As part of the Scotland Goes Basque programme, a street performance combining traditional Basque and Scottish dances will be premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

Considering the Edinburgh Fringe is the most prestigious performing arts festival in the world, this is fantastic news. It’s no wonder the event is billed as ‘world´s greatest platform for creative freedom’. Challenging the status quo has been the Fringe festival’s leitmotif ever since the first Edinburgh Festival in 1947. That year eight companies took to the streets after being refused entry in the official programme, hence the name ‘fringe’. Since then it has become the most popular gathering of art and culture from around the world. The Fringe runs for three weeks each August in the Scottish capital, featuring a huge variety of plays, performances, and exhibitions of all kinds. In 2018, there were over 50,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues, including dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, spoken poetry and exhibitions, among others. The sky’s the limit at the Fringe, where internationally acclaimed artists mix with up-and-coming talent.

In addition to folk dance, modern Basque stage arts will also have a place at this year’s international showcase, with a performance by Maria Martin and Judith Ruiz of the Krego-Martin dance company; HQPC Kolektiboa and Akira Yoshida will perform at Dance Base, Scotland’s National Centre for Dance; and Tio Teronen Semeak will take to the street. 

The Basque and Scottish folk-dance show is a two-way journey. A Basque dance group will travel to the Highlands to work with a local Scottish company. Afterwards, the result of their work, a fusion of the two dance traditions, will debut in Edinburgh. The show will then travel back to the Basque Country and in September be featured at the Atlantikaldia festival in Errenteria.   

In the context of the relationships forged with the Scotland Goes Basque programme, Atlantikaldia and Scottish Traditions of Dance will work together on this project. Since 2014, the Atlantikaldia festival has been a gathering place for music and culture of peoples of the Atlantic. Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust (STDT) has been working since 1995 to conserve, research, and foster Scotland´s dance traditions. STDT organizes performances, workshops and courses, providing opportunities for dancers to perform and for people of all ages to enjoy and participate in traditional dance. 

The initiative perfectly embodies the spirit of Scotland Goes Basque. Besides spreading Basque language and culture in Scotland, the programme wants to promote cultural exchange between the two cultures, combining their past and their present, encouraging initiatives that are mutually enriching and promoting contact between cultural stakeholders and creators of both countries.

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