More than 8000 dancers selected as participants at the “Bridges” dance celebration

The 274 regional preliminary auditions for the dance and gymnastics groups participating in the 13th Youth Song and Dance Celebration “Holy is the Land” have ended and the groups that will perform at the festival have been selected. A total of 431 dance collectives and 128 gymnastics groups will take part in the “Bridges” performance of the dance festival.

According to Margus Toomla, Director of the Song and Dance Celebration Foundation, the artistic committee of the 13th Youth Dance Festival sent out invitations to 559 collectives comprising 8342 dancers and gymnasts. In addition to the usual school youth groups, family groups will also take part.

“The preliminary rehearsals for the dance festival started in mid-January and ran until the end of March. It was a great pleasure to see that the corona years have not dampened young people’s enthusiasm for dancing, and the knowledge that a dance festival is just around the corner has also helped children and young people to return to dance,” said Agne Kurrikoff-Herman, chief organiser of the Dance Festival. She added that the dedication and effort of the instructors is admirable, as the last few years have been a real challenge.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the instructors, school principals and parents who contribute to the preservation of the folk-dance culture of young people,” she said. “A lot of work has been done in learning and refining the dances, and after the end of the preliminary rehearsals we can say that we are moving towards a summer highlight together.”

The artistic team will now continue to work on the dances so that they can eventually be drawn into beautiful patterns on the stadium lawn and, according to the chief director, will work on getting the dancers moving in unison. The collective leaders of the dance festival will meet in Paide on 16 April to review the movements and patterns of all the dances. “Now the groups will have to learn the final dance,” said Kurrikoff-Herman, adding that this is an exciting moment in the making of the production, with more than 8,000 dancers meeting on the square for the final dance.

The list of the groups dancing at the festival can be found here.

All the groups that bravely made the journey but did not make it this time will be invited to Kalev Stadium to watch the main rehearsal on 30 June. More information about the free tickets has already been forwarded to the groups’ supervisors.

The 13th Youth Dance Festival focuses on the young person and their relationship with the world around them. Agne Kurrikoff-Herman, the artistic director of the Dance Festival, describes the symbol of the bridge at the heart of the festival as follows: “The young people grow up surrounded by us and relying on us. All the values that are ours, both the values of home, linked to the heritage of our ancestors, our land and our roots, the values of time and modern truths, we pass on to them.”

The 13th Youth Song and Dance Festival will take place from 30 June to 2 July in Tallinn. On 30 June and 1 July the dance performance “Bridges”; on 1 July the folk music festival “Päriselt”. The “Holy is the Land” procession and song festival will take place on 2 July. Pärt Uusberg is the artistic director of the 13th Youth Song Festival and Agne Kurrikoff-Herman is the artistic director of the 13th Youth Dance Festival. Juhan Uppin will be the general manager of the Folk Music Festival.