The Foundation of “Leigarid”
The group was founded on 14 March 1969. From the first day of the foundation the group had a definite aim – the group was to introduce Estonian folklore to tourists at the Estonian State Open Air Museum.
For 23 years “Leigarid” acted at “The Directorate of Tallinn Recreation Parks” at Song Festival Grounds. “Leigarid” got independent with the reestablisment of independence in Estonia. The folk dance society “Leigarid” was registered as an non-profit organisation at the Tallinn City Government.
What do “Leigarid” dance, sing, play?
“Leigarid” try to present as authentic folklore as possible.
The history of Estonian folklore collection is more than 100 years old and its value is the collecting of the material from the alive bearers of folklore, i.e. people to whose everyday life belong the inherited folk customs.
“Leigarid” learn the dances, songs, pieces of music that are written down by the founder of the group Kristjan Torop and by several other specialists in folklore in the collection trips to all over Estonia. So it can be said that these are dances and songs of our grandmothers and -fathers.
Folk dance and folk song have become a life style for “Leigarid”: at the performances a joy of communicating with one another is felt, of that how joint singing and dancing enriches the current moment both for “Leigarid” themselves and for the audience.
It is natural in dealing with authentic folk art that Estonian rich etnographical heritage is familiar and known.
National costumes are made partly by the members of the society on the basis of the centuries old preserved sources, whereas they are exact copies.
Estonia is divided into different counties; counties in their turn into parishes, each of them have different kind of national costumes. “Leigarid” wear the costumes that come from different parts of Estonia.
Estonian Folk Dance Grand Old Man Kristjan Torop (1934 – 1994)
The collector, researcher, teacher and publicist of Estonian folk dances. The founder of “Leigarid” and its long time leader. The founder of the Estonian Folklore Society and its first chairman. A member of Art Council of CIOFF International Folklore Festival “Baltica” and its director. The many times Chief Conductor of Estonian Folk Dance Festivals.
During these years, more than 500 people have taken part in Leigarid. Nearly 200 people belong to the society today. Active action takes place in different groups: youth and adult dance groups, children’s groups, senior group Ürgleigarid, singers and the group of musical instruments. Besides the active participants, also supporting members take part in the activities of the society.