Pärnu hosts national girls' and women's folk dance competitions

Folk dancers.
Folk dancers. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

450 dancers performed for the judges during the 13th women's and fourth girl's folk dance competitions held in Pärnu over the weekend. The folk dance ensemble Sõprus and the Estonian Dance Agency (ETA) won the women and girls' categories, respectively.

The two-day dancing event was attended by women's organizations from all over Estonia. Surju Sõbratarid, a traditional dance collective, organized the festival.

This was their responsibility as the previous competition's winners, which is also why they are not competing this year. The previous event was scheduled for 2020, but it was pushed back due to the pandemic.

On the first day, there were rehearsals, and guests had the opportunity to meet in Pärnu. On Sunday, the competition took place, but there were warm-up dances in another hall before the judges arrived.

"Today, we have the honor of hosting 26 women and six girl's collectives. I am really pleased with the results, as the competition was fierce. We said first come, first served and that's how we got all these participants here. There are approximately 450 ladies dancing here and it has taken us at least half a year to figure out where they will stay, eat and practice," Kadri-Aija Viik, a festival organizer, said.

Astrid Vaizene, the instructor of the Harku Harakate ensemble, explains that competition is centered on a single story and dance, which all competitors must perform. It was "Kalurineiud" ('Fishergirls") this year, and after that you choose your own story.

Who chose the theme for this year? 

"In the world of folk dance this year marks the 120th anniversary of Ullo Toom, so our group has decided to pay tribute to him. While Toom did not have any dances for women and girls, his students did. We selected dances from an early collection of dances titled 'Kalurineiud' ('Fishergirls') and 'Kip-kõpsadi,'" the leader of the Surju Sõbratarid ensemble, Ülle Alanurm, explained. The first dance was for women groups and the second was for girls.


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Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Kristina Kersa

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