Song and dance celebration week begins

This is the week of the 12th Youth Song and Dance Celebration, which is bringing to Tallinn some 37,000 participants and tens of thousands of spectators. More than 19,000 young performers from out of town are being offered accommodation in schools across Tallinn.

From tomorrow, around 8,500 dancers and gymnasts will be holding practice sessions at the capital’s stadiums and training grounds. On Friday the singers will arrive in Tallinn. Besides Estonian choirs and dance groups, 17 troupes from abroad will be taking part in the celebrations. There will be choirs from neighbouring countries and further afield, including the United States, Canada and Ukraine. The only visiting dance group is coming from Rīga.

“All of the organisational work has been completed, and those preparatory efforts, spanning more than two years, will culminate in the joint performances this weekend, with all the assembled dancers, singers and folk musicians sharing their talents with the public,” said song celebration chief conductor Heli Jürgenson, dance celebration head producer Margus Toomla and folk music celebration creative director Juhan Uppin.

In the days immediately before and during the event the police will be patrolling the city in force, because the arrival of tens of thousands of participants and spectators will affect traffic in Tallinn. “We are focusing on ensuring traffic safety, public order and security during the celebrations,” said Kaido Saarniit, Head of the City Centre Police Station of the Northern Prefecture. “When going to and returning from the event, please give yourself enough time and plan your route in advance. Use public transport wherever possible, or go on foot or by bike.”

Drivers should pay special attention to children and teenagers, particularly at pedestrian crossings and near the schools where the young performers are staying. The parade starting at 9:30 on Sunday 2 July will result in substantial traffic restrictions in the city centre and along Pirita Road, which is why all drivers should familiarise themselves with the temporary traffic arrangements and choose alternative routes. Approximately 40,000 participants will take part in the parade.

Youth Song and Dance Celebration tickets are available from all Piletilevi sales points in Estonia. Several thousand song celebration seated tickets are still on sale, as well as plenty of standing area tickets. As at Monday morning there were also a few tickets left for the three dance performances. At 15:00 on Saturday a free folk music concert will be held in Poolamäe Park next to Kalev Stadium.

The theme of the 12th Youth Song and Dance Celebration is the connection between the younger generation and their homeland, their culture and the older generation – their roots.

The song celebration showcases the works of younger composers, with young conductors gaining their first festive experience alongside older, more experienced conductors. The dance celebration is based on the legend of Dawn and Dusk. It is the story of passing on everlasting values from one generation to the next and of the responsibility to maintain them.

The chief conductor of the song celebration is Heli Jürgenson and the head producer of the dance celebration is Margus Toomla. Juhan Uppin is the creative director of the folk music celebration. The 12th Youth Song and Dance Celebration will begin on 30 June and end on 2 July at the Song Festival Grounds and Kalev Stadium in Tallinn.