Makila txikiena
Makila handiena
Uztai txikiena
Uztai handiena
Doinu zaharrak
Punta motz
Ehun eta bikoa

          explanation of the dance
The dancers line up in two lines headed by their leader. When the music starts the leader dances the zortziko, performing all the combinations of steps that he knows and showing off his skill. Then all the dancers perform the main call, followed by the zortziko. After the main call the set of moves of the stick dance begins: it is danced first by the whole group, then the call is danced and the moves are performed again by only the central quartet. Then the whole group dances the call again on the spot, then the last set of moves is repeated.
  1. Zortziko by leader
  2. Main call on the spot
  3. “Four groups” Zortziko
  4. Main call danced
  5. Whole group performs set of moves
  6. Main call on the spot
  7. Set of moves by central quartet
  8. Set of moves by whole group


At the beginning of each phrase in the set the dancers give a small jump and put their left feet forward. Each dancer remains in position and performs the set with his partner in the other line. In the second part of the set – which each dancer begins with the dancer in the same line – they take four steps in time with the music. Starting with their right feet, they must change position while they perform the four steps so that at the end of the fourth step they are in their new positions with their left feet forward.


During the “four groups” zortziko and the set of stick dance moves the structure of the group changes. A bird’s eye view would show the dancers initially in two vertical lines; in the second position the two lines shift to the horizontal, in the third the return to the vertical and in the fourth they move once again to the horizontal.

The dancers perform the “four groups” zortziko with the step known as the zortzikoko sentziloa (single zortziko). When the step is performed with the right foot, the dancers end up looking straight forward from the position of the group. In other words they go through the relevant position changes and at the end of the step are looking forward in the new direction. Position changes begin with the dancers in the different lines crossing over, always on the right hand side. When the “single zortziko” step is performed with the left foot, each dancer faces the dancer opposite them in the other line as the first txingo is performed, and they dance the left foot single zortziko facing each other.

As the four groups zortziko is performed the group changes direction with each movement, generally anti-clockwise, so that in the second position the group faces to the left, in the third to the rear and in the fourth to the right. The first dancer in the right-hand line (marked “2” on the diagram) can be taken as a reference point for the turns. In all positions, this dancer is at the front of the group, so the direction in which he faces is the direction in which the group must turn for the next position.

In the set of moves performed by the whole group the positions of the lines are also the same, but the whole group does not face forward in each position: instead the lines join together lengthwise and end up facing each other. In the set of moves by the quartet of dancers, the position changes are made anti-clockwise. In both the full group and the quartet moves, each performer must change position in four steps and complete the change by taking up the new position with his left foot forward.

The dancers make two main movements with their sticks: a hitting movement and a movement to take the hit.

Hitting movement: the dancer always holds the stick in both hands, upright close to his body on the right hand side, gripping the bottom with his right hand and the top with his left. To make the hit he raises the stick and at the same time slides his left hand down from the top of the stick to meet his right hand. Wielding the stick with both hands together, he beats it hard against the stock of the dancer opposite.

Receiving movement: the dancer holds the two ends of the stick, raises it to eye level and holds it parallel to the ground to take the hit from the dancer opposite.

The basic set of moves for the two sticks comprises four hits. This sequence of four hits is performed twice in each position: starting the first time with the dancer in the other line and the second time with the dancer in the same line. The first sequence of four hits is performed without changing positions, and the second while the dancer moves, with each blow marking a step.

Dancers are traditionally divided into jotzaileak (beaters) and hartzaileak (receivers). The distinction is based on the first blow, i.e. on whether the dancer makes or receives the first hit. The first hit is made by the front dancer on the right of the group, who is followed by the others in a zigzag pattern. Following the numbers on the diagrams, the “beaters” are dancers 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11. The others act as receivers. The pattern is reversed for the second set of blows, so that this time it is the receivers - dancers nº 1, 4, 5, 8, 9 & 12 – that make the hit on the sticks of the dancers opposite.

Hit By whom
On whom
Type of hit
1 Beater Receiver Between lines
Left forward no position change
2 Receiver Beater Same line
Left forward no position change
3 Beater Receiver Between lines Left forward no position change
4 Receiver Beater Same line Left forward no position change

1 Beater Receiver Between lines
Set with right
2 Receiver Beater Same line
Step with left
3 Beater Receiver Between lines Set with right
4 Receiver Beater Same line Step with left

See the video of the set in makila handiena (dance of the long sticks)