The audio-visual content of the Olaeta Ballets is made up a diverse group of films in Super 8, 8 mm, Video 8, VHS, Betamax and Betacam. Its origin is in the collection that the Olaeta brothers made of their trips and performances, as well as recordings of classic ballets which they use amongst other things as inspiration for the preparation of new choreographs. The content has been enriched by the selfless donations of films by ex-students of the academy and TV producers. The content has been digitalised by the Filmoteca Vasca (Basque Film Library), which will keep the originals, from which we have selected 130 DVDs which are currently being catalogued. Four short films have been prepared from this documentary content which can be seen in the exhibition’s audio-visual room and the Olaeta documentary is currently being filmed called “Olaeta: una vida en danza” (Olaeta: a life of dance), directed by Pedro Olea and produced by IDEM Producción Audiovisual.dantzaris

The document content contains posters, smaller printed items and programmes, photo library, press cuttings and periodical library, choreography documentation and originals, and costume designs. The photograph collection has 2,000 black and white, and colour, prints, and well as glass negatives which, in different formats, show the evolution of the ballets from the 1940s to present.

The press archive and the periodical library has a thousand cuttings from Spanish, French and American periodical publications (Euzko Deya, La Gaceta del Norte, Hierro, Correo Español, La Croix, La Dépéche, Sud-Ouest, L´Aube, Euzkadi, etc.) between 1938 and 2000, with reviews, interviews, advertising and programs.

The document archive includes documentation from between 1926 and 2006, with about a thousand units. It contains, on the one hand, documentation relating to the financial and business activity of the Olaeta Ballets, and, on the other hand, an interesting section of correspondencekept by the members of the family with different figures from their period’s cultural scene (Guridi, Padre Donosti, Ucelay, Severo Altube, la Sociedad Coral de Bilbao/Bilbao Choral Society, the President of the Diputación Foral de Bizkaia/Provincial Council of Bizkaia, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, etc.). Of particular interest are the original librettos and scripts, and the choreographies and notes on dance steps. We could also mention the short Basque Dance Dictionary prepared by Lide de Olaeta, which translates into Basque/Euskera the Classic Ballet steps, thereby providing some innovation.

Finally, all of the documentation relating to the tours of the USA and Canada, their planning, hand programmes and correspondence.

The costumes or wardrobe content contains 700 costumes made between 1920 and 2005 in Paris and Bilbao. There are dresses of incalculable value, both in historic terms and due to their fabrics (silks, velvets, organzas, wools, skins, …), and their tailoring.

This curious ensemble of costumes consists of both tutus and stylised folkloric costumes or modern versions of medieval, renaissance and nineteenth century traditions. The content is completed with tailored shows made in Paris and ballet shoes.


Finally, we highlight the attrezzo or props, with beautiful parasols, headdresses, baskets, hoops, swords, a caixa, cestas puntas (pelota baskets) and suletino accessories.

Although they should really belong to the document section, here we include the most artistic part of this content, whose historical and ethnographic value has still to be researched. These are the artistic originals of choreographs and costumes. This section covers about 80 beautiful artistic originals in gouache, tempera, watercolour and ink, mainly by Manuel Esquibel, Eduardo de la Sota and Dorita Roda. The creativity and innovation surrounding various generations of ballerinas deserve separate acclaim.