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Youth Song and Dance Festival gets sign language and visual description

Dance celebration.
Dance celebration. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Through the use of sign language and visual environmental description interpreters, the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival will also be accessible to people with visual and auditory impairments.

"We have been looking for ways to improve the youth festival experience for people with special needs at a mass event of this scale," Margus Toomla, head of the Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation, said.

Aet Urbas, the head of the accessibility committee for this year's youth festival, said that they had already hired professionals from prior years to continue working with. "In the field of visual descriptive translation, for example, I turned to Piret Aus, who was also in charge of visual descriptive translation for the 2019 dance festival."

"Overall, I have had contact with a large number of people with special needs and their organizations," she went on to say. The Estonian Chamber of People with Disabilities has been a fantastic partner, providing important information on what kind of assistance people with special needs will require to enjoy the event."

"Children with special needs attend the festival as well, and they are accompanied by volunteer chaperones. We also have students with autism who are excellent performers but require assistance on the rehearsal field and during the celebration," she explained.

Urbas applauded the fact that the concept of accessibility has become much more defined, and that an increasing number of people with special needs are becoming involved.

For the dance festival's "Bridges" major rehearsal performance, there will be on-site descriptive translation, as well as tactile dance festival drawings and a tailored program.

The concert will also be broadcast live on ETV on July 1 at 18:45, with extensive interpretation available for those who want it. Furthermore, on July 2 at 14:00, the song festival will be broadcast on ETV2 with sign language interpretation.

Tallinn hosts the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival from July 30 to July 2. The main dance performance "Bridges" takes place on June 30, followed by the folk music celebration "Päriselt" on July 1. On July 2, the procession and song festival "Holy is the Land" takes place. The creative director of the XIII Youth Song Festival is Pärt Uusberg, and the principal performer of the XIII Youth Dance Festival is Agne Kurrikoff-Herman. The Folk Music Festival's general manager is Juhan Uppin.

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Editor: Maiken Tiits, Kristina Kersa

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