Youth song and dance festival to bring 37,000 performers to Tallinn

Children participating in the 2011 Youth Song and Dance Festival. Source: (Stanislav Moshkov/Denj za dnjom/Scanpix)

Monday marks the beginning of the 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival week, which will bring to Tallinn nearly 37,000 singers, dancers, gymnasts and musicians as well as tens of thousands of spectators.

More than 19,000 youth will be housed in Tallinn school buildings this week, as rehearsals for nearly 8,500 dancers and gymnasts are scheduled to begin in the city's stadiums and on its training grounds on Tuesday. Singers participating in the song festival are to arrive in Tallinn on Friday.

In addition to local choirs and dance troupes, 17 guest collectives are also to take part in the festival, including choirs from as far away as Ukraine, the U.S. and Canada. The only dance troupe to arrive from abroad will be coming from Riga.

"Organizationally, everything is ready for the festival," confirmed song festival chief conductor Heli Jürgenson, dance festival chief director Margus Toomla and folk music celebration creative director Juhan Uppin. "The culmination of more than two years' of work will arrive following a joint rehearsal this weekend, when dancers, singers and folk musicians will share what they have learned with the public."

Police presence to increase

Police presence will be increased during the days leading up to as well as the days of the festival itself, as such an increase in crowds in the city will significantly affect traffic in Tallinn.

"The main emphasis will be placed on traffic safety, public order and ensuring the safety of festival participants," said North Prefecture Central Police Station director Kaido Saarniit. "Heading to and from the festival, we recommend you plan for extra time as well as plan your route. If possible, use public transport or travel by foot or by bike."

People are also cautioned to take special care traveling around children, especially at crosswalks and near schools where performers will be staying.

The festival parade, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 2, will significantly impact traffic in Central Tallinn and along Narva Highway and Pirita Road. Drivers are asked to adhere to temporary traffic patterns and take alternative routes. Nearly 40,000 participants are expected to take part in the parade, whose route to the Song Festival Grounds is over 3.5 kilometers long.

Tickets to some events sold out

Tickets to the Youth Song and Dance Festival can be purchased from Piletilevi online or at its points of sale across Estonia. A few thousand tickets for numbered seats and plenty of general admission tickets remain for the song festival.

The second and third performances of the dance festival are already sold out; tickets remain only for the first performance, which begins on Friday at 7 p.m. at Kalev Central Stadium.

A free folk music concert will take place at Poolamäe Park, next to Kalev Central Stadium, at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

This year's festival focused on one's roots

The 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival, titled "Here I'll Stay" ("Mina jään"), is focused on the younger generation's ties with its land, culture and older generation, all of which are tied to the central theme of "roots."

The song festival will feature works by a new generation of composers and give a number of young conductors their first taste of conducting at a song festival.

The dance festival will focus on the Estonian legend of Dawn and Dusk (Koit ja Hämarik), the passing down of eternal values from generation to generation and the responsibility for keeping them.

The chief conductor of the song festival is Heli Jürgenson; the chief director of the dance festival is Margus Toomla; the creative director of the folk music celebration is Juhan Uppin.

The 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival will take place from June 30-July 2 at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds and Kalev Central Stadium, respectively.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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