More than 550 groups qualify for Estonia's 2023 Youth Dance Festival

Folk dance troupe Tantsutallad.
Folk dance troupe Tantsutallad. Source: Kristiina Kõiv ()

A total of 559 folk dance and gymnastics groups involving more than 8,000 dancers and gymnasts have qualified and been officially invited to perform in "Bridges," the Youth Dance Celebration performance of Estonia's XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival "Holy is the Land" in Tallinn this summer.

The Artistic Committee of the XIII Youth Dance Festival has sent invitations to 431 dance and 128 gymnastics groups (link in Estonian) to perform in this summer's Dance Festival performance "Bridges," Song and Dance Festival Foundation director Margus Toomla said according to a press release.

The 559 groups include a total of 8,342 dancers and gymnasts.

Children's and youth groups will be joined by family groups as well.

"The preliminary rehearsals for the dance festival began in mid-January already, and lasted through the end of March," said Agne Kurrikoff-Herman, chief choreographer of the Youth Dance Festival. "It was a great pleasure to see that the intervening [COVID-19 pandemic] periods haven't diminished young people's desire to dance, and knowing that a dance festival is coming up soon has seen children and young people return to dancing as well."

Kurrikoff-Hermann also acknowledged the dedication and effort shown by the instructors involved as well, as the intervening years have been fraught with serious challenges.

"I'd like to thank from the bottom of my heart all the instructors, school directors and parents who continue to support youth folk dance culture," she said. "A lot of work has been done learning and refining the dances, and following these pre-rehearsals, we can say we're moving together toward the festival."

The festival's Artistic Committee is now continuing to work with the dances to choreograph them into what will eventually be patterns on the field at Kalev Stadium; group leaders are already scheduled to meet on April 16 in Paide, where the movements and patterns of all dances will be reviewed together.

"The groups also have to learn the final dance now," the chief choreographer added, acknowledging the excitement of this moment in the production as more than 8,000 dancers will take the field at once for the performance's concluding dance.

In recognition of those who put in the effort, all groups who nonetheless didn't qualify to perform in the XIII Youth Dance Festival will be invited to the performance's dress rehearsal at Kalev Stadium on June 30. 

Tickets on sale

The XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival "Holy is the Land" ("Püha on maa") will take place in Tallinn from June 30 through July 2, under Youth Song Festival artistic director Pärt Uusberg, Youth Dance Festival chief choreographer Agne Kurrikoff-Herman and Folk Music Festival director Juhan Uppin.

Tickets to the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival can be bought online at or via all Piletilevi sales channels.

XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival "Holy is the Land"

Friday, June 30

-7-9 p.m. Youth Dance Festival I performance, Kalev Stadium

Saturday, July 1

-12-3 p.m. Folk Music Festival, Freedom Square
-3-5 p.m. Youth Dance Festival II performance, Kalev Stadium
-7-9 p.m. Youth Dance Festival III performance, Kalev Stadium

Sunday, July 2

-9:30 a.m. Youth Song and Dance Festival Parade
-2-9 p.m. Youth Song Festival, Song Festival Grounds


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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