International Dance Day Gala – Estonian Ballet 100

On April 29, 2018 at the Estonian National Opera

Artistic Director: Thomas Edur

It is remarkable that hobby theatre gave rise to the professional art of dance, which has developed into an independent and vital genre on the stages of our musical theatres. The 2nd half of the 19th century was a time of national awakening in Estonia and the founding of professional theatres in Tallinn and Tartu in 1906 paved the way for the development of dance in theatres. As dance had little significance in other Estonian theatres at the beginning of the 20th century, we cannot speak of professional dance in their case. Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu considers March 4, 1939 as the beginning of ballet in their theatre house, when Ida Urbel stages “The Carnival Suite” to Tchaikovsky’s music. Ida Urbel started to establish ballet in Vanemuine at the end of the 1930s. Hence, the founding of the first salaried dance company in the Estonia Theatre in 1918 must be regarded as the birth of Estonian ballet. An important aspect of the development of dance was the establishment of Estonian National Choreography School (the current Tallinn Ballet School) in 1946 on the basis of a ballet studio and a children’s troupe of the Estonia Theatre. Without that school we would not have those excellent dancers who bear the weight of today’s and tomorrow’s art of ballet and who have introduced Estonian school of dancing also abroad.

In addition to the soloists of the Estonian National Ballet, the anniversary gala features many Estonian dancers that have danced their way to the top abroad.

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