The Ardi Baltza Dantza Taldea is proudly comprised of both Basque and non-Basque members who are committed to preserving the ancient culture of the Basques. Weaving emotion and story-telling into their performances, Ardi Baltza aims to capture the mysterious essence of Basque folklore. The group pulls choreography from both traditional and contemporary Basque dance, along with other classical dance styles.

Ardi Baltza endeavors to inspire future generations to continue the perpetuation and evolution of Basque dancing.


The troupe is lead by Founding Director Kiaya Memeo, Accordionist Anamarie Lopategui, and Lead Choreographer Franci Mendive.

Ardi Baltza has been featured in many cultural events across the country including Jaialdi in Boise, ID and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.

 

 

 

From left to right: Hannah Hill, Olivia Rice, Alicia Westmoreland,

Franci Mendive, Natalia Moiola, Amanda Kerr

 

Dancer Biographies

 

Kiaya Memeo (Sabala) - Founding Director
Kiaya is a fourth generation Basque-American who was born and raised in Elko,NV. She began her Basque dancing career at the age of three, dancing with the local club. In late 2012, she decided to start her own Basque group that would focus on balancing tradition and modern Basque culture. The group she envisioned would welcome both Basque and non-Basque members, connecting more local families with the strong local heritage. She believes that in order to perpetuate the Basque culture, it must become relevant to current and future generations. Kiaya is the proud mother to three young Basque dancers and wife to Alboka- enthusiast, Joe Memeo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dancer Biographies

 

Franci Mendive - Dancer & Lead Choreographer
Franci was born and raised in Elko,NV. She has been involved in Basque dancing for 15 years and has a background in modern dance. Franci was one of the original members of Ardi Baltza. Like the group, she has evolved her dancing styles and has become a key component in the groups choreography. Franci took on the role of Lead-Choreographer early this year. At home, Franci enjoys learning and speaking some Basque with her father. She is also a talented painter and baker.

Olivia Rice - Dancer
Olivia was born and raised in Elko, NV. She has been dancing ballet for 13 years and has danced with Ardi Baltza for the past five years. Olivia has become known as the "Basque Ballerina." She brings a classical component to the group along with her unfaltering positive attitude. She is currently a Junior in High School and enjoys running track and competing for a local dance company. She is also very involved with the local theater groups and performs regularly on the stage.

Natalia Moiola- Dancer
Natalia is a first generation Basque-American. She speaks fluent English, Spanish and Basque. She began Basque dancing at the age of three with the local Basque club in Elko, NV. Natalia joined Ardi Baltza in their second year. She specializes in traditional Basque dance, but likes to step out of her comfort zone into the contemporary realm. Natalia plays the txistu and is also a talented seamstress, helping to create the traditional costumes for the group.

Amanda Kerr- Dancer
Amanda was raised in Winnemucca, NV, and began Basque dancing at the age of three for the local Basque club. During her college years, she became a dancer for the Oinkari dance group in Boise, ID. Amanda has been dancing with Ardi Baltza for two years. She brings a seasoned dancers perspective to the group, but is always up for trying something new. Amanda is the proud mother to two young Basque dancers and enjoys ranching life in Starr Valley, NV.

Hannah Hill- Dancer
Hannah is the newest member of Ardi Baltza and has 13 years of dance experience in ballet and modern. Growing up in Winnemucca, NV and Elko,NV, she has danced for both local Basque clubs. Hannah joined Ardi Baltza at the beginning of 2017. She adds a graceful quality to the group and is also a book of knowledge on dance technique. Hannah is currently a Junior in High School. She enjoys competing for one of the local dance companies and is currently valedictorian of her class.