Folk songs and dances have long been an integral part of Latvian historical culture. So much so that the Baltic song and dance celebrations, which date back to 1873 in Latvia and can bring together up to 40,000 singers and dancers, have joined the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008. According to Latvia UNESCO Treasures Website: “This tradition in Europe only survived and developed in the Baltic States, becoming an important symbol of national identity over time.”

“It is one of the main forms of expression of the cultural heritage of the Baltic States and the most significant proof of Latvia’s cultural identity in the 21st century.

The “Golden Foundation of Dance” project was created with the support of the Latvian National Center for Culture and, of course, the dancers themselves.

Registration of cultural heritage

The conservation of a written record of Latvian cultural heritage also has deep historical roots. In Latvian, folk songs are called “dainas”, and Latvian linguist KriÅ¡jānis Barons is known as the “father of the Dainas” for his work in the late 19th century of collecting and editing nearly 218,000 song texts and to compile them in the “Dainu skapis”. “, Or” Cabinet of popular songs “. A lifelong work has become one of the foundations of Latvian national identity, and it has been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World list in 2001.

Today, the “Golden Foundation of Dance” project hopes to do for folk dance what the Barons did for folk songs. The current collection of 55 dances by 21 choreographers was selected from around 200 songs by a panel of experts over two years. The collection will be updated every ten years, when new dances are evaluated and experts decide which ones to add.

Choose the golden dances

The current dance descriptions contain information about the choreographer, the history of creating and performing the dance, as well as detailed steps in the choreography. The collection will soon be updated with video material. Latvian National Center for Culture Latvian stage dance expert Maruta Alpa said the collection of folk dances describes the Latvian character.

“Let’s see what kind of folk clothes we have, what colors they have! The excitement is huge, and so is the humor – it’s special. Such liveliness, such a pure confirmation of life! said Alpa.

The dance collection is of course of historical importance, but it can also be a valuable tool for many folk dance teachers today. Project leaders also expect the interest of students who write academic work. Most of the dances were easy to choose, but overall Alpa admits they were a bit naive at first, as it was a bit difficult.

“Les Gatves deja”[“Avenue Dance”] For more than 60 years already occupies a very special place in the repertoire of dance collectives, it is generally also awaited by the public, which is recognized by the applause which begins even before the first bars of the dance. said Alpa.

Several of the popular choreographers whose dances are included in the collection are HelÄ“na Tangijeva-Birzniece, Harijs SÅ«na, Uldis Žagata, Aija Baumane, Imants Magone and others from the late 1990s – Jānis Ä’rglis, Jānis Purviņš, Ilmārs Dreļs and d ‘others who actively continue their work.

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