Overcoming many difficulties and adapting to the time constraints of the pandemic, folk dancers from Latgale have successfully danced the XII Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Festival, which will be recorded in history books as perhaps the strangest of the experienced. Although the participants are happy that they had the opportunity to participate in the “e-song and dance festival”, they very much hope that the next event so important for Latvia will be able to celebrate real togetherness.
Gabriela, a member of the Preili dance group “Dancari”, a 5th grade student, is proud that even before the pandemic, in “peacetime”, the ensemble won a place with a great performance at the XII Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Festival. Everyone was looking forward to the important event for Latvia and was already thinking about things to meet other dancers and singers at a “party” in Riga. When Latvia was taken over by the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no clarity about the future, but everyone hoped that the coronavirus would be eradicated soon and that they could meet again. Even forbidding to meet each other, Preili “Dancari”, like many bands, continued to train the dance step in their own homes, showing the skills of band leaders in video format.
Online rehearsals took place on the Zoom platform. Sometimes, when we could, we met on the school square. Sometimes there was a bad internet, so music used to disappear. Once by one, we trained the movements sent by the teacher at home, somewhere outside, in nature or on rural property. We thought about diversity, because the apartment is not spacious enough to dance. The hosts helped with filming, we sent a video. Children adapt faster. It may seem difficult for adults, but children adapt faster.
Remote dance training was a serious test for both children and adults – team leaders and parents of children, Inese Zuģicka, Daugavpils Unit Primary School dance group “Džiguni” and Daugavpils City Municipality institution “Vienibas nams” children’s dance group “Pienupīte” spoke in a conversation with “Bez Tabu”. ”Manager.
We all learned to adapt. I studied, the children learned. We learned to set up cameras, find a place in the room. Many were shy to dance in front of the camera, so there were children who connected rarely, but over time, their shyness gave up. Later, in the spring, we danced outside. When allowed, we met outside in small groups. I want to thank everyone, including the parents, for their support! My dancers have wonderful parents!
While training in unusual conditions, Latgale dancers were also wondered for a long time whether the 12th Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Festival would take place at all. When the green light was given to the festival, 629 dance groups both in Latvia and abroad learned the dance steps of the video project “Celebrate the Sun”. As part of this, each group immortalized the dance in their home towns and villages. The film was later turned into a six-minute video. The video was created reflecting the realities of the time – distance learning, zoom platform lessons, dancing alone, with distance, at the same time emphasizing that the Song and Dance Festival tradition, love for dance and readiness to dance, create and be together even in these times, is stronger than anything. A special choreography has been created especially for the video project, which has been mastered in the distance learning process. Everything filmed is connected in video post-processing so that everyone can be together again.
The usual Song and Dance Festival procession, which traditionally brings together festival participants in Riga, was replaced this year by the “Sunflower” process. Its symbol – the sun wheel – brought the feeling of a song and dance festival to children in all regions of Latvia, although for a moment it allowed to feel this festival, even though this year it was not possible for everyone to be together. In the municipalities, waiting for the organizers of the festival, the children demonstrated dances, sang songs and gave musical performances to the guests, in exchange for thanking them for their work.
This holiday will definitely go down in history! History books will definitely write! This format gave some joy.
The dancers listened to “Without Taboos” expressed hope that at the next Song and Dance Festival they will be able to gather in one place together with thousands of participants from all over Latvia.
Until November, the work of the festival participants, which has been recorded in video format for a long time, will be broadcast on television. Find out more about and around the 12th Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Festival here.