The first of three dance performances of the 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival took place at Kalev Central Stadium in Tallinn on Friday night. A total of 8,500 dancers in 585 folk dance and gymnastics troupes are taking part in the dance festival.
The three sold-out dance festival performances, the second two of which will take palce at 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, are based on the Estonian legend of Dawn and Dusk and tell the story of the keepers of a treasure being passed down from generation to generation.
Dance producer Kadri Tiis explained that while one may see more elements drawn from traditional folk patterns at dance festivals, youth dance festivals instead feature more classical formations. "In addition to characteristics of the four seasons, elements of the festival's logos such as 'my roots' or 'my land' will also be formed on the field," she added.
Preparations for the dance festival began two and a half years ago. In addition to traditional and well-known dances, original works were also commissioned especially for this year's festival, including the premieres of "Tita tots ja tulitilgad," "Pärglipolka" and "Talitrallirein," reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
The performance, which played through the year's four seasons, were tied together by Maian Kärmas' "Solstice Songs" ("Pööripäevalaulud"), performed by Grandfather (Vanaisa), Dawn (Koit) and Dusk (Hämarik).
Ratas: Song and dance festivals illustrate ties with country, traditions, history
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas greeted the performers in the 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival "Here I'll Stay" ("Mina jään") on Friday night.
In focus at this year's youth festival are one's ties with their country, culture and older generations. "Song and dance festivals are very Estonian and beautiful events, even in the rain," he said. "They illustrate our strong tie with our country, our traditions and times gone by. They are truly our own Estonian thing."
He noted that while the Republic of Estonia will be celebrating its centennial next year, the country was already celebrating 100 years since the creation of the Estonian state and that the youth festival was part of this celebration.
"I call upon you to consider all of these beautiful moments and time spent together here at the dance festival as a birthday gift for our free country as well," said the prime minister. "It is precisely such gifts that our country needs."
A total of 8,500 dancers and more than 25,000 singers are taking part in the 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival this weekend.
Second performance canceled due to wet weather
The organizers of the Youth Dance Festival have decided to call off the second performance of the festival, scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, due to this weekend's rainy weather.
Those who had purchased tickets to the second performance can either request a refund or attend the Youth Song Festival on Sunday with their dance festival ticket.
The sold-out third performance of the dance festival, which begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, will not be canceled. Gates will open to visitors at 5 p.m.
ETV and ERR.ee will broadcast the third dance performance live beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Editor: Aili Vahtla