On Saturday, April 25th Keerutajad put on its annual performance of song and folk-dance. There are 20 in the group, average age 65, who faithfully practise every Monday night through spring fall and winter accompanied by pianist Tarmo Viitre. Our folk-dance instructor, Enno Paat, pointed out we were the largest such group in Canada. The second largest being the younger Vancouver folk-dance group, the Kilplased....who by the way dance like heavenly spirits.
Not only are the Keerutajad and Kilplased the biggest folk-dance group in Canada, astonishingly they appear to be the only two active dance groups left! Few folk-dance groups seem to have survived in North America aside from the Pillerkaar in the Greater Washington DC metro area and those in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles.
It is possible that Lääneranniku Eesti Päevad, the biannual West Coast Estonian Days' cultural programme has kept the traditional folk-dancing on its feet so to speak. The next such Days will be held in Seattle, Washington from August 26 to 30, 2009 where skirts will twirl and rustle. In 2011 the Days will take place in Portland - a pulsating Estonian cultural hive renown for its choral choir and superb folk-dancing troupe. One year they danced in our old barn-like structure built next to the woodland giant firs of Mission, B.C. leaving us with the most exquisite memory of folk-dance perfection.
Estonian Folk-dancers: a rare breed (1)