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Photo by Saare Vikat

This summer our Saare Vikat Rahvatantsu Team performed at ESTO 2019 in Tartu as well as the Ühendusmaa on Eestimaa performance at Vabadus Väljak in Tallinn.


The entire journey was surreal and one that will remain deep in our hearts for the rest of our lives. The members of Saare Vikat have grown up with a profound love for our Estonian heritage, and the ability to have performed rahvatants in Eesti during the 150th and 85th anniversaries of Laulupidu and Tantsupidu festivals, respectively, made it even more memorable and impressive.


After two long years of practicing and traveling across the United States for rehearsals, we felt a deep sense of fulfillment folkdancing in the country of our ancestors. Wearing my grandmother’s rahvariided and performing with my best friends in front of hundreds of people in Vabadus Väljak gave me happiness, honor, and pride to be Estonian. Välis-eesti folk dance troupes represented many countries including Finland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Australia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

 

Each of the väliseesti dance troupes had its own exciting stories and traditions which were revealed through their performances. These performances showed the importance of väliseesti communities, as well as keeping Estonian culture alive outside the homeland.

 

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Although we did not perform at Tantsupidu, it was empowering to be in Eesti to watch the final Tantsupeo dress rehearsal, to march in rongkäik, and to dance in performances dedicated to honoring väliseestlased.

 

We would like to thank all of our supporters, especially Eesti Üliõpilaste Toetusfond USAs, Eesti Abistamiskomitee USA's, and Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides, and fans along our journey to Eesti.

 

Hard work, dedication, and love from our friends and families allowed us to pursue this dream.

 

We will carry this experience with us for the rest of our lives, and one day tell our children and grandchildren the value of preserving our beautiful Estonian culture.


Aitäh kõigile!

Arden Ashford

 

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