On float (from l-r): Jeff Zelek , Mauno Kork, Marie Eliise Luts, Deborah Klepp, Lauri Tankler, Age Landra-Robinson, Harry Klepp, Jessie Ots LaFortune, Eve Tisler, Jyri Erik Kork, Arnie Smit. Kadri Kallas is missing from picture. Photo by Janno Luts
Pillerkaar, Estonian Folk Dancers of the Washington, DC Metro Area danced again at the annual NATO Festival in Norfolk, Virginia on 23 April 2016. Participating in the festival parade, Pillerkaar dancers displayed a variety of colorful traditional national dress from multiple areas of Estonia, and proudly represented the beloved country of their forefathers at Norfolk’s annual NATO Festival.
The thousands watching the Grand NATO Parade applauded for the floats of each NATO nation, as well as the many marching bands and other parade participants. But one of the biggest crowd favorites was the Estonian float, festooned with billowing blue, black, and white flags, and a life-size village swing. Onlookers cheered the seemingly tireless dancers who performed next to the float and the five swingers in folk dress who waved Estonian flags as they bobbed precariously back and forth on the moving float.
After the Grand NATO Parade, hundreds of spectators watched performances by various groups and visited the booths of each country. Pillerkaar began its half-hour performance with the fast-paced “Igavene labajalg” (Eternal Flat-footed Waltz) and “Kanga kudumine” (Weaving Fabric) followed by waltzes – “Külavalss” (Village Waltz) and “Meremeeste valss” (The Seamen’s Waltz) and Aavo Pärt’s wistful “Ukuaru Valss/Usalda” (Trusting Waltz).
The crowd was riveted by Lauri Tankler, who coped with one, then two, then four women fighting over him in “Jooksupolka” (Running Polka).
The men then cavorted with pipes in “Piibumeistritants” (Pipemaker’s Dance), followed by the crowd-pleasing “Tuljak” (Wedding Dance), with some audience members singing along. Pillerkaar then invited onlookers to join them in ” Perekonnavalss” (Family Waltz) for a captivating conclusion to its program.
by Deborah Klepp &