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The Depression brought the folk dance revolution to Estonia

The Depression brought the folk dance revolution to Estonia

The Estonian folk dance world has never seen anything comparable over its last century of existence.

This past summer’s Folk Dance Celebration themed “Meri” (English “The Sea”) left hundreds of people standing behind the gates due to lack of seats in the stadium. It did not matter that the same concert was performed on three occasions. People were shocked – this is impossible?

The Dance Celebration is similar in scale to the Olympic Opening Ceremonies with over 7500 dancers performing on the big field at once. As recent as the turn of the millennium, it was believed that Folk Dance Celebrations would need to be dropped from the Song-and-Dance Festival scene due to lack of audiences. Nevertheless, folks had different opinions and the crowds came to the Folk Dance Celebration. There were not enough seats even after rows of bleachers were added at the last minute before the concerts.

In past year three of Estonia’s leading folkdance groups – Leigarid, Kuljus and Tartu University Folk Ensemble – have celebrated their anniversaries with large scale concerts. There were doubts that a folkdance concert would fill up 1800 seats at the prestigious Nokia Concert Hall at Solaris Center in Tallinn or at the Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu.

This summer’s men-only folkdance festival in Rakvere is close to being sold out and it is only early spring. The Man’s Folkdance Festival has attracted dancers from among the prominent people of Estonia - all the way to the government.

The women dancers have now announced their “own” dance festival.

What‘s up with all this?

As of today, the “Kaerajaan going to Europe” campaign is approaching 10,000 participants who have joined this crazy idea. This popular folkdance has been danced not only in Estonia and Latvia, but even in the USA. When the campaign was announced on Facebook, it took only 24 hours to get 100 members from 12 countries.

Folk dance teachers can tell you of the interest of folk dancing among teenagers - a trend very unbelievable in the recent past.

Professor Marju Lauristin said the prophetic words a year ago as she described the human development of a depression era. She stated that “During a depression, the real values will surface”.

As the result, it is a pleasure to see that the folkdance teachers who have carried on with the Estonian folk traditions throughout the years and taught folk dance in cold and small rooms, while being compensated just pennies, will see that their work has value.

It is also my pleasure to see the tens of thousands of folk dancers, whose senseless jumping has been compared to that of a ridiculous country boy, know that their dancing has cultural value.

And thirdly, as a person of Finno-Ugric ancestry, I am aware of the inferiority complex of our people as we think that folk dancing, regi songs and Kaerajaan are not worthy to be called a culture.

We have a tendency to think that culture is where we are not. The Irish had to be ashamed of their Step Dances and the Finns of their Jenka dance before they believed that these had real value.

Thanks to the depression, we Estonians can see these changes in our beliefs and self worth - the true acceptance in our values.

Author Rein Sikk/Eesti Päevaleht Daily
Translation by Tiina Oviir and Don Vendetti

Original in Estonian:

More information:

FB group - Cool Estonian folk dance Kaerajaan is going to Europe

FB fanclub - Kaerajaan ja Kaera-Jaan Euroopasse

FB group - How many Finno-Ugric people are there on Facebook?

Estonian Folkdance and Folk Music Association

Contact: kadri@errs.ee , reinsikk@hotmail.com


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Комментарий от: Saarelainen Urpo, Апрель 11, 2010 в 7:00pm
Kas keegi võiks seletada, mille jaoks see Friends of Estonia grupp on ja mis keeles oleks kõige viisakaim või parim vestelda? Kahjuks ma ei oska vene keelt.
Комментарий от: Ortem, Март 15, 2010 в 12:04am
Делегация посольства Эстонии намерена посетить соотечественников, живущих в Хакасии

Власти Хакасии объявили о намеченном на 15 марта визите делегации посольства Эстонии в России в республику с целью посещения мест компактного проживания эстонских переселенцев. Как сообщили «ФедералПресс» сегодня, 12 марта, в пресс-службе республиканского правительства, делегацию возглавит чрезвычайный и полномочный посол Симму Тийк.

«Визит эстонской делегации продлится с 15 по 20 марта, — заявили в пресс-службе. — За это время гости посетят места компактного проживания эстонских переселенцев — деревню Верхний Суэтук Каратузского района и деревню Хайдак Партизанского района».

Как сообщили «ФедералПресс» в пресс-службе правительства Хакасии, в составе делегации прибудут посол Симму Тийк, первый и второй секретари посольства Кайри Лейво и Сийм Криспин и советник по культуре Хэлене Тэдре.
Комментарий от: Rein Sikk, Январь 16, 2010 в 3:02am
Life in Estonian villages. Up to now group in English and Estonian. But if Ypu join You can use Russian too :-)
Комментарий от: Rein Sikk, Январь 16, 2010 в 2:55am
How many Finno-Ugric people are there on Facebook? Welcome, communication in Russian also: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=99235712109
Комментарий от: Rein Sikk, Октябрь 11, 2009 в 2:14am
Комментарий от: Outi Sane, Сентябрь 28, 2009 в 9:36pm
Szia Tünde! :-)
can you write me a mail in my email:

I will send you a link. :-D

Köszönöm szépen!!!!
Комментарий от: Tünde Tóth, Сентябрь 28, 2009 в 9:16pm
Hei, Outi! Maybee I can help. I'm Hungarian. Just tell me what to do. :)
Комментарий от: Outi Sane, Сентябрь 28, 2009 в 12:00am
An article of the translating open content:

Estonian proofreaders still missing!

Greets Outi
Комментарий от: Outi Sane, Сентябрь 21, 2009 в 6:28pm
Hello Friends!
As you can see, I am trying to find proof readers in various languages. We have now Udmurt and Veps translations under work for Parley KDE Educational Project - THANKS TO IGOR AND VALERY!

Hungarian proof readers are still missing, even though we have now one person.

My question: who would like to check my list for Estonian language?
It is really easy list for a person, who is fluent or native. Like "a girl, to ask, avarage etc..."

please contact me soon outi.sane@voxhumanitatis.org

More information:
Situation now: http://www.voxhumanitatis.org/content/new-language-packages-parley
Parley page: http://edu.kde.org/parley/

Kiitos! TV: Outi S.
Комментарий от: Rein Sikk, Июль 8, 2009 в 12:22pm
Estonian Song and Dance celebration text in english + videos + photos

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