Igor Yebra, “Ivan, The Terrible”
Saut de Basque, Basques dancing far from the Pyrenees
IRATXE DE ARANTZIBIA /BASQUE TRIBUNE
People who reside, or rather skip about the foot of the Pyrenees, and who are called Vasques or Vascons. That is how Voltaire described Basques in The Princess of Babylon (1768).
Itziar Mendizabal dancing “The Firebird”. ©Nigel Norrington
The close relationship between Basques and dance goes a long way back in time. In fact, classical ballet is considered to have been influenced substantially by traditional Basque dance. Ballet is a French creation, and The Royal Academy of Dance, founded in 1661 by Luis XIV, documents 25 Basque ballet dancers in its first years of existence. That is why there are three steps in the academic jargon that show this common root: pas de basque, grand pas de basque and saut de basque.
Left: Alicia Amatriain and Friedemann Vogel, “Black Swan” © Stuttgart Ballet. Right: Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino, “Swan Lake” © M. Logvinov.