The Song and Dance Celebration is the greatest cultural masterpiece of the Latvian people, and has withstood the test of time. The Celebration has become an event of national and international importance, bringing together people of different generations and nationalities, and uniting Latvians throughout the world.
From the first Celebration in 1873 where 1000 singers participated, the celebrations have evolved into a powerful movement—around 40 000 participants from 3421 amateur ensembles are preparing to participate in the XXVI Song and XVI Dance Celebration.
In order for 12 000 singers and 17 000 dancers, and thousands of musicians, masters of folk and applied arts, as well as folklore and amateur theatre ensembles can participate in the Celebration, effort is systematically invested on a daily basis for five years—rehearsals, continuous revisions to the repertoire, recitals, contests, exhibitions, seminars, and concerts.
And then, every five years, all of these artists and musicians from Latvia’s towns and rural territories flow into Riga, creating a powerful grassroots movement.
PHOTO REPORTAGE FROM THE OPENING PARADE
OPENING PARADE VIDEO
ELIZABETH JANE RUBEN