Boise, Idaho, USA. For over 40 years a group of young Basque Americans dreamed of creating a troupe to preserve and perform the unique dancers of their ancient heritage. To get started, they went to the Basque Country. That was in 1960. There they met with a group from Donostia and started attending their practices and festivals. From there the dream began.
Once they returned to the United States, rehearsals started. Albert Erquiaga and Diana Urresti, along with the music of Jim Jausoro on the accordion and Domingo Ansotegui playing the tambourine, the Oinkaris were ready for their first performance at Boise's annual Sheepherder's Ball.
[There are currently more than 70 dancers in the Oinkari Group. This is a photo of the group in a parade for the annual Trailing of the Sheep festival in Hailey, Idaho (photo Oinkari.org)]
The friendship between the dancers from Donostia and the troupe from Boise grew close during the trip to the Basque Country. The two groups had a common love for their heritage and dance. The group was eventually named Oinkari meaning one who dances with their feet or dancer in Euskera.
[1) Oinkari men at a Boise performance; 2) The two dancers shown, are cousins, John Aldape (left) and Jude Gary (right) 3) The Oinkari ladies line up for a performance on Boise's Basque Block to perform 'Uztai dantza' 4) The Oinkari boys dancing at one of their many performances they take part in throughout the year (photos Oinkari.org)]
The Oinkaris have performed at World Fairs throughout North America, at Basque Festivals in Euskadi, Argentina, and the United States. They continue to travel to national Basque Festivals throughout the year. The Oinkaris are also known for sharing their talents throughout the year at local charities, hospitals and nursing homes.
Original musicians included Jim Jausoro and Domingo Ansotegui. After the passing of Domingo, Juan Zulaika took over until his recent retirement. Edu Sarria plays the txistu. Currently musicians include former dancer and other young players in Boises Basque Community.
Oinkari - The Basque Dancers of Boise, Idaho
Basque Community of Boise, ID
Boise Basque Center, Boise, ID
Boiseko Ikastola, Boise, ID
Biotzetik Basque Choir, Boise, ID
Cenarrusa Center for Basque Studies, Boise, ID
Basque Studies Center, Boise State University, Boise, ID