Iivi Zájedová (Tallinn University/ Estonian Literary Museum/ visiting lecturer- Charles University of Prague)
In the first decade of the twenty-first century, several innovative movements related to Estonian folk dance have arisen, such as the Dance Celebration of Estonian Men, the first Festival of Estonian Female Dancers, Kaera-Jaan to Europe, Dance Relay. The year 2011 was proclaimed the year of folk dance in Estonia. The folk dance movement began as evenings celebrating national culture and grew into major folk dance events directed by recognized folk dance leaders. This process can be viewed as one of increasing social cohesion.
It is important to take into account that after World War II, Estonian national culture became geographically divided into that of expatriate Estonians and Estonians in Estonia, and folk dance in both communities developed in isolation from each other. Researchers aim to understand how major events take place in Estonia and abroad today, when political collaboration is no longer as important as maintaining culture and tradition. What changes has folk dance undergone?
While trying to find answers to this question, the main objective of this presentation is to explore the role of folk dancers in maintaining Estonian culture through performances at major events and how the repertoire of “Estonian dance” is constructed in Estonia and abroad.