Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spain - Folk Dances, El Aurresku & La Rueda 2009

The folklore from Castilla and Euskadi features in this Popular Dances series with two large stamps devoted to La Rueda and El Aurresku.

El Aurresku
In the Basque country, the richness and variety in dancing is such that each region and town have their own dances though the origin of many of these is uncertain. One of the most popular throughout the Basque region is El Aurresku which has its origins in the Sokadantza or rope dance. A group of men take the dance floor making a rope or soka by holding hands or holding a handkerchief. The first and last dancers, the aurreskulari and the atzeskulari are the most important. The dance begins with the music of the txistu (whistle) and a small drum and a walk around the main square. When the dancers are facing the public authorities, the aurreskulari performs his entrechat steps throwing his beret on the floor. Two or four dancers step out from the circle and go to fetch the partner of the aurreskulari who performs some steps before her. The same ceremonial is performed by the atzeskulari and his partner and by the rest of the members of the group and their respective partners who hold hands through a handkerchief. Then the desafio (defiance) takes place between the aurreskulari and the atzeskulari who perform some steps displaying their skill. Currently the Aurresku is performed by a solo professional dancer, usually the aurreskulari, in public, religious and political events.

La Rueda
La Rueda (wheel) is a characteristic dance of Castilla y León and takes different names depending on the region. Whilst in Burgos and León it is called La Rueda, in Valladolid and Segovia it is known as Corrido and Charrada in Salamanca. It is performed outdoors, mainly in town squares by a large number of dancers who build up La Rueda (wheel). Couples dance separately with their arms in the shape of the cross performing the same steps. Then the men stand outside the circle and surround the women and both circles begin to dance spinning around faster at each turn. The most representative and old rhythm is a 5/8 compass accompanied by a small drum and a dulzaina, although bagpipes and tambourines are also allowed. This type of dance is performed all over the world and is very common to Mediterranean countries.

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