Sabatants is a 4-day traditional dance festival that honours traditions and spreads the joy of dancing. The festival programme features workshops, seminars and dance evenings, organized in the style of traditional village fetes. Foreign guests will bring with them new dances, which are otherwise not often seen around here.
The festival is suitable for everyone, regardless of prior dance experience. There are workshops where you can practice and learn new dances and moves. The dancefloor is full of experienced dancers and kind people who will gladly help you find your way around the steps. Estonian culture has deep roots and long traditions that provide new and exciting things to learn even for the most experienced dancer. Foreign performers bring their own unique dances and music for everyone to enjoy.
You may come alone, with a partner or as a group. You can spend the whole festival with your own partner, but we encourage you to make new friends and try dancing with others as well. There is always something new to learn from new partners, and it’s a good way to share your own experience with others.
The festival is centered around dance evenings where you can enjoy dancing old and familiar dances as well as learn something new. Local ensembles will take turns with special guests from Norway and Lithuania. The line-up features acclaimed solo artists, who will exhibit their virtuosity and sensitivity in interacting with the dancers. Their acts will be interlaced with duos, trios and bigger ensembles, who create a novel harmony in their versatility. All the artists are carefully picked and renowned for their ability to play dance music. Additionally, a younger generation of musicians will have the opportunity of practicing their skills in front of a demanding, but generous dance crowd.
The festival days are full of workshops where beginners can learn the foundations of traditional dance, and some more complicated or unfamiliar dances are introduced. There are plenty of new and exciting things to learn from foreign guests. The dances taught during the day are usually also featured in the dance repertoire of the evening, but don’t worry if you miss some of the workshops – we will go over the basic steps in the course of the night.
Nevertheless, we encourage you to participate in as many workshops as you can. Though some of the steps are reintroduced in the evening, the workshops provide a much more in-depth study of the dances, and offer insights to their history and development.
At the seminar you first get a refreshing cup of coffee or tea and a bagle to recover from the long dance night and a possible lack of sleep, and get you straight back to dancing condition. During the seminars you receive background information about foreign dances, music, culture and traditions. You are welcome to just listen and learn, but we would also encourage you to ask questions, share your own views and elaborate on the topics.
You are always welcome to bring your instruments with you. Given restrictions on time, there are no official jam sessions in the main hall on most evenings, but you can always pick your favourite dance tunes in the other rooms, and on the final night, the official programme is followed by an open stage.
The first Sabatants festival took place on the year 2012. In addition to the annual festival, we organise a series of dance workshops in Hopner’s House in Tallinn throughout the year. Sabatants is closely related to dance socieities in Tallinn, and Tartu, and other similiar dance events all over Estonia. Sabatants is inspired by other festivals elsewhere in Europe, notably the Grand Bal of Europe festival in Gennetinnes, France.
The mission of Sabatants is to keep our rich dance culture alive, and bring some colour to your life through dancing.
Cherish our own, learn from others, acknowledge the differences, and notice the similiarities.
We wish you merry dancing,
The organizers of Sabatants