Beti Alai Dancers
In Euskera, the language of the Basques, Beti
Alai means "Always Happy." This is the name of the
Ontario Basque Club Dancers. Beti Alai is composed of the
children of Ontario Basque Club members. The group performs at the
club's Annual Dinner Dance and other events such as America's Global
Village, The Malheur County Fair, Jaialdi, and local
Beti Alai Dancers range in age from 4 to
early teens and are instructed by veteran Ontario dancers Maria
Barinaga Tipton, Lisa Corcostegui and Enrike Corcostegui. The group performs
dances from several regions of Euskal Herria, the Basque Country.
Their repetoire includes the Jota and Porrusalda, Txontxongilo, Zagi Dantza,
Matelota, Zapatain Dantza, Tamborrada, Olagueko Esku Dantza, Makila
others. For more information about the Beti Alai Dancers contact
Maria by clicking here.
History of the Ontario Basque Dancers
The mission of the original Basque Ladies Club founded in 1947
was to promote and preserve the Basque heritage through language and
dance. An organized dance group was formed in 1960. The
Ladies Club's first costumes were remade for this pioneer group.
Along with dancing the children learned Basque songs. This early
group was instructed by Becky Platt and Timmie Echanis in dancing
and Lucia Egurrola in song. Dancers in the 1960 group were:
Toni Acaiturri, Carmen Calzacorta, Maria Elena Calzacorta, Frank
Echanis, Jim Echanis, Kathy Echanis, Mike Echanis, Pat Echanis, Jim
Mendiguren, Phillip Mendiguren, Tommy Mendiguren, Ben Plaza, Lewis
Plaza, Ramona Plaza, Kenny Vandewall, Vicki Vandewall, Kitsy
Ybarzabal, Bob Yturri, Evet Yturri, and Mary Yturri.
To see an Argus Observer photo of this 1960 group click here.
Past Instructors of Ontario Basque
|Over the years the following individuals have been among the
instructors for the dance group: Timmie Echanis, Becky Platt, Lucy
Egurrola (singing), Elena Calzacorta (singing), Ramona Plaza, Maria
Calzacorta, Frank Echanis, Cecilia Calzacorta, Joanne Mainvil, Tim
Anacabe, Chris Franks, Dick Franks, Kathy Franks, Theresa
Pagoaga, Maria Barinaga Tipton, Juli Plaza Gundle, Sage
Benintendi, Tara O'Connell, and Holly DeTassigny. Grace Mainvil also
dedicated many hours over the years to helping with the dancers,
coordinating performances, and acting as announcer.
For more photos of the dancers visit
the photo gallery.
Dantza - an online source for information about Basque folk
- an online magazine for Basque-American Dancers and Dance