Berlin, Germany. Berlin’s Basque dance troupe had a brilliant debut last Sunday, participating in the massive Karneval der Kulturen 2011 parade. Thousands of people gathered in the streets of Berlin to see demonstrations by the various communities in their city. The Basque dancers performed dances from the seven Basque Provinces for more than five hours.
In spite of the dance marathon, the club representatives assured that the overwhelming public response provided more than the energy necessary. “What we enjoyed the most was the reception we received from the audience. People joined us and tried to dance with us. We danced as if we were at a festival back home, there was such great atmosphere!” related Ainhoa Añorga, club president, to EuskalKultura.com.
[The Euskal Etxea was #56 in the parade(photo Berlin Basque Club)]
In all, the dance group was comprised of about fifty people, which included fifteen kids. The dancers wore traditional Basque costumes and danced tirelessly pieces such as Arin-Arin, Lantzeko Inauteria, Zazpi jauzi, Esku dantza and San Petrike, along with various improvised kalejiras where audience members were included.
“We began practicing in January, holding dance workshops twice a month. Even though we had people who had danced Basque before, we also had some Germans, Turks and an American who had never danced, and so for them this was their debut in front of an audience,” explained Mikel Aristegui, the group’s coordinator.
[Young and old alike participated in the performance of what they had learned throughout the year (Photo Olga R. Trukillo/Casal Catalá Berlin)]
Debuting in front of such crowds didn’t scare the Berlin dancers; instead, they took full advantage of the occasion. “Nervous? Not really we were more about wanting to participate and introduce the Basque culture in Berlin," said Aristegui.
The Basque club also succeeded in promoting Euskal Herria as a tourist destination: “We hung posters of Euskadi on either side of our float and many approached us to ask where they were from, showing much interest,” said Añorga.
[Thousands of spectators followed the parade of Berlin’s different communities (photo Berlin Basque Club)]
The trikitilari Ander Salaberria provided the music and had to really exert himself in order to be heard over the loud speakers of the other groups. “In spite of the wonderful event organization, we were right in front of a group that had music that was five times louder than ours, and so we had to keep our distance in order to be able to hear our music. That meant that we had to run sometimes to catch up to our float,” commented Aristegui.
[The Basque club’s float decorated with images of the Basque Country and the club’s website (photo Olga R. Trujillo)]
After the parade, the center continues to organize upcoming activities, such as a tribute to the German linguist Humboldt, Basque scholar, on June 22nd. As for dance, they will soon begin preparing for their next important event: the Basque Choreographers Festival II, to be held from December 9 to 11 in Berlin.
-The club’s website: www.euskaletxea.de