With the help of audio description, festivalgoers with visual impairments were able to watch the final dress rehearsal of the XX Dance Festival "My Fatherland is My Love" ("Minu Arm" in Estonian) on Thursday. Estonian Blind Union chairman Jakob Rosin told ERR that this allowed him to see the dance festival for the first time.
"I saw the dance festival for the first time ever," Rosin said in an interview with ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" following the performance. "Not with my eyes, because they don't work, but by various other accessible means that we are developing at this dance festival."
Rosin explained how audio description of the event takes place.
"How we made this dance festival accessible to people with visual impairments comprises of two parts," he said. "One is audio description, which means that we have two interpreters — Krista Fatkin and Zoja Triin Truumets — who have spent nights and days here at the stadium, beginning on Monday, and prior to that, weeks behind the computer, watched videos, listened to the music, and watched rehearsals. And so we describe all the patterns, all the costumes, and all of the movement, from the big patterns dancers create on the field all the way down to how the dancers' fingers are moving and what they are wearing. We have attempted to create a text that best conveys an overview of the dance to someone who cannot see."
A special book was also created allowing attendees to feel each dance's main patterns.
"For example, there is a dance called 'Broochmakers' ('Sõlesepad'), where you can also see the central pattern of the dance, which the interpreter also describes," Rosin said. "They describe very well how, at the end of the dance, the dancers form one large brooch, which is bisected with a pin. Picturing this can be fairly difficult, but it is an incredible shape. And if you can touch it as well, then I believe that the dance festival is fully accessible."
The first dance festival to be interpreted for people with visual impairments was the XII Youth Dance Festival in 2017.
For the first time, the XXVII Song Festival will also be interpreted into sign language for people with hearing impairments.
The Tartu Song Festival two weeks prior was interpreted live into sign language as well.
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