“Laiali” Estonian Ladies Folk Dance Group – Luxembourg
The Estonian Ladies Folk Dance Group, ‘Laiali’, held its first rehearsals in the spring of 2014 when the idea arose of surprising fellow Estonians at the traditional Midsummer celebrations by performing some Estonian folk dances. Only a couple of the ladies had any previous experience of folk dancing, but the passion with which this new hobby was taken up by others was so great that the group’s first performance was unexpectedly successful and the number of dancers increased rapidly.
The group is now in its fourth year of performing and, apart from dancing at Estonian functions in Luxembourg, they have also performed in Belgium, Holland, Estonia and Germany. In the summer of 2016, Laiali took part in the Ladies National Dance Festival in Jõgeva, Estonia and in the spring of 2017, they danced at the second Estonian Song and Dance Festival in Amsterdam, ‘Kõlavöö’. They also plan to apply to dance at the 20th Estonian National Dance Festival to be held in Tallinn in 2019.
Laiali’s dance repertoire mainly includes dances by Estonian choreographers, the majority of which have been arranged by the group’s leader/teacher but the group also dances several traditional Estonian dances. The name ‘Laiali’ means ‘scattered’ or ‘spread out’. What is the reason for this strange name? This secret will only be revealed to those who come to watch ‘Laiali’ perform!
Laiali’s leader, Mari-Liis Kivioja, is originally from Tallinn but she has lived in Luxembourg since 2004. Her interest in folk dancing began during her school years. Mari-Liis’ passion extends beyond folk dancing to traditional Estonian culture as a whole as she is keen to discover the origins of her roots and the power which resides therein. Since 2013, Mari-Liis has taught Estonian children living in Luxembourg about Estonian customs and traditional dances and songs in an attempt to inspire them with their rich cultural heritage. She is also the founder and headteacher of the Estonian School in Luxembourg.
In the spring of 2017, a dance created by Mari-Liis, ‘Vändra labajalavalts’ (Flat-footed waltz from Vändra), gained second place in the ladies’ dance section of the Estonian Folk Dance and Folk Music Association’s new dance awards.
Laiali’s dancers are very excited about performing together with other European Estonian dance groups in Leicester and they are looking forward to sharing the beauty and joy of dancing with the audience.