The ripe fruit, the pests, the rain on the parched soil, the crops. Sowing and harvesting. It turns out that the work of the field has much more to do with the dance than what a priori could think. And in the Basque dances, folklore rooted to the earth, even more. Dantza, by Telmo Esnal, is not only a visual enjoyment of complex choreographies, generous doses of digital effects, impressive landscapes and imaginative costumes, but through dance delves into anthropological research, going beyond what could be a mere musical.
Esnal, director of Urte berri on, love! (2011), and who is immersed in the postproduction of Agur Etxebeste! co-directed with Asier Altuna -with whom he already did the first part-, recognizes that the challenge has required an unthinkable effort of concepts before starting the filming of Dantza, already on display throughout Spain. "When we started the movie, the sculptor, Koldobika Jauregi, author of the aesthetic universe of the film, and I joined the folklorist and choreographer Juan Antonio Urbeltz ". Urbeltz has brought a surprising anthropological investigation to the film. "He has been publishing work for four decades on dances, his origin, his clothing … He also dances[appearsleadingtheparadeofthesequenceinthe[apareceencabezandoeldesfiledelasecuenciaenlasquare of Leitza], and has made a hypothesis about the birth of the dances. "The choreographer and historian bets for another history far from the official one." For example, when we see a dancer with a sword we think of the warrior dancer. He, on the other hand, realizes that in Basque the sword is ezpata, but that ezpara is a gadfly. He bets for a dancing gadfly rather than for that warrior, and makes explicit that those dances with swords are conjuratory choreographies against plagues. In a peasant world what sinks your life are the plagues, "recalls Esnal, the director decided to follow that thread, which opened a" fascinating "field of vision:" I felt I could do incredible things, like dancers on the water, recreate a whole symbolic world that will illustrate a relationship with the land. "And he extrapolates the research to other regional folklores." For example, the Moors and Christians. The Moors are evil, and in reality, they are not an exact parallelism, but they also derive from the plagues. In other dances the devil appears on horseback, and that is not an equine, but actually symbolizes the lobster. "Hence, those suits that resemble all kinds of insects.
The first part of Dantza it illustrates that symbolic world – "very complicated to do, in which we have broken the steps of dances" – that elevates the film beyond musical precedents. "We set out to build a village on a set, because Koldobika had work for it, but it was unfeasible, we went out to natural settings, and we made our lives difficult because we have danced to dance in very difficult locations. I was dantzari, I went home a few days fucked up, because they are not professionals, they have their jobs, and here we have asked for extraordinary efforts, constant repetitions, "recalls the director. That first part portrays a powerful symbology, and Esnal was aware that he could ballast the footage: "The second part, the human, the one that started in the 19th century, with the string dances, and that ends in the couple dances and the habaneras, we have focused it closer to the faces, in the end, it is a timeless journey, but at the same time bordered by life ".
The trip has not only been complicated by the choreography, the locations and the coordination of 250 dantzaris from 15 companies. Also for its financing. In DantzaEsnal has been involved for seven years. "I have researched a lot, we have fought for the money, the project has gone through many difficulties. boom I do not believe Basque cinema. I continue working in the same conditions. Making movies is learned … doing. And it costs us a lot. At least the technicians do link projects. "
And in return, he recognizes the enjoyment of the project and the responsibility for the future: "I am aware that what I shot will remain as a document – care, not a documentary – of these dances, which is why I have sacrificed narrative to adapt to the choreographies, I have also kept a close eye on the short shots so that those who want to learn the steps in the future may see them there ". But, with a smile on his lips, he emphasizes: "The dantzaris have not seen each other, it will hardly be shot something like that, and that's why it was the great opportunity." I danced, and if someone had proposed something like that, I would have been happy "