Main choreographer: Estonian Dance Celebration gives chance to reflect on what's important

  • 2019-07-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - After "Tuljak", a choir song composed by Estonian composer Miina Harma with lyrics by Karl Ferdinand Karlsson and choreography by Anna Raudkaks, had brought together some 10,540 dancers and gymnasts at the 20th Dance Celebration at Kalevi stadium in Tallinn, main choreographer of the festival Vaike Rajaste said that the journey provides an opportunity to think back on what is important.

"Everyone made a maximum effort, there was a lot of kindness and love in the air," Rajaste said. "This entire journey that has led us to this day, both in the short and long perspective, has been wonderful. As to the Dance Celebration performance, it was important for me to look back on where we come from. For that reason, we have brought back some old treasured dances, which have not been performed for decades, but nevertheless form a quintessential part of the Dance Celebration for many people, such as "Solesepad" ("Broochmakers") or "Kullaketrajad" ("The Spinners of Golden Yarn"). In my opinion, this choice paid off as without looking into the past, moving forward is difficult. One way or another, we are all going round in circles -- after all, everything new is well-forgotten old," she added.

The 20th Dance Celebration entitled "My Fatherland is My Love" culminated with the third performance on Friday evening, after which the festival fire was extinguished only to be reignited at the Song Festival Grounds on Saturday.

The 20th Dance Celebration is dedicated to the 85-year dance festival tradition, with the program for each category of dancers including classic dances from previous festivals. The festival includes newer dances as well, however, with seven of the 28 dances commissioned and choreographed for this year's jubilee dance festival. Participants in the event included altogether 713 groups comprised of 15,540 dancers and gymnasts.

Rajaste noted that one of her aims was to have the choreography convey a range of alternating moods, which was best illustrated by two consecutive dances -- "Pikseloits" ("Chant of Lightning"), created by Helju Mikkel and Lille-Astra Arraste and choreographed by Rajaste, and "Kulvajad" ("Sowing the Field") by Helmi Tohvelmann.

"During the long tradition of dance celebrations, only a few main choreographers have been women, whereas women have always played a key role at the celebration," Rajaste said. "Looking at our male dancers, I am absolutely certain they are ready to stand up for their country here and now, too," Rajaste said, adding that this Dance Celebration undoubtedly conveys the fullest respect and admiration towards Estonian women who, together with their men, are upholding their homes and local customs.

The executive director of the 20th Dance Celebration was Vaike Rajaste, musical director Tonio Tamra, conductor Edmar Tuul and dramaturg Liis Aedmaa.