Following years of preparations, learning and rehearsals, including several days of mass rehearsals in Tallinn, the jubilee XX Dance Festival opened with its first of three sold-out performances at Kalev Stadium on Thursday evening.
The Song Festival flame, first lit at dawn on June 1 in Tartu, the home of the first Estonian Song Festival in 1869, was delivered to Kalev Stadium in a three-wheeled electric vehicle just in time for the beginning of the performance.
The XX Dance Festival is dedicated to the 85-year dance festival tradition, with the program for each category of dancers including classic dances from previous festivals. The festival includes newer dances as well, however, with seven of the 28 dances commissioned and choreographed for this year's jubilee dance festival.
"Maa hing," a new dance dedicated to the jubilee Dance Festival, was written by Helena-Mariana Reimann and choreographed by Helena-Mariana Reimann, with music and lyrics by Triinu Taul. Music performed by Triinu Taul, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra (TKO), the VNSO Choir and the XX Dance Festival Ensemble, under the direction of Edmar Tuul.
"Tuljak," an indisputable favorite of dancers and spectators alike, was written by Anna Raudkats, with music by Miina Härma and lyrics by Karl Ferdinand Karlsson. The dance was arranged for the XX Dance Festival by Vaike Rajaste, Ülle Feršel, Helena-Mariana Reimann, Agne Kurrikoff-Herman, Erika Põlendik and Urve Keskküla.
All of the more than 10,500 dancers and gymnasts took to the field for the final dance.
Watch the final two dances of the opening performance of the XX Dance Festival, "Maa hing" and "Tuljak," below:
The second and third performances of the XX Dance Festival will take place on Friday at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
The executive director of the XX Dance Festival is Vaike Rajaste; musical director Tonio Tamra; conductor Edmar Tuul; dramaturg Liis Aedmaa.
Estonia celebrating double jubilee
The XXVII Song and XX Dance Festival "My Fatherland is My Love" ("Minu Arm" in Estonian) began on Thursday, July 4 and will run through Sunday, July 7.
Click here for information regarding the schedule, tickets and more.
Don't have tickets or can't make it to Tallinn, or even Estonia? Click here for more information regarding ERR broadcasts of several performances of the Song and Dance Festival.
Editor: Aili Vahtla