Tulehoidjad (Torch Bearers) is the Estonian folk dance group of Portland Oregon. Formed in 1950, Tulehoidjad has taught Estonian folk dances to the three generations Estonian immigrants and many American friends. Keeping Estonian traditions alive and teaching Americans about Estonian folk dance are the primary aims of Tulehoidjad rahvatantsijad (folk dancers.) It performs in many folk festivals held in the Northwest, including the Portland Rose Festival, the Portland Scan Fair, the Portland Midsummer Scandinavian Festival, and Seattle Folk Life Festival.
Tulehoidjad brings to life the ethnic pride of the dancers and musicians as we celebrate our love for Estonia. The energetic dances, intricate steps and patterns, colorful authentic costumes, and lively music combine to create an exciting display of Estonian culture that is enjoyed by audiences of all ages. A delightful component of Tulehoidjad is the children’s song and dance troupe, which consists of children between the ages of 3 through 13 years old.
Tulehoidjad has traveled extensively throughout the world, and performed in festivals in the United States, Canada, Estonia, Sweden and Australia.
Grand Floral Parade
Tulehoidjad built a parade float and danced in the Portland Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade. Here is a snippet from the TV broadcast.
Tantsupidu — Estonia’s Dance Festival
Tallinn, Estonia, July 2014
For the fifth time, 16 Tulehoidjad dancers will be performing in this year’s Tantsupidu (dance festival) in Tallinn, Estonia. Titled Puudutus (touch), this year’s dance festival will include a total of 10,000 dancers from all over Estonia and other countries.
Tallinn, Estonia, July 2009
Tulehoidjad danced in the 2009 Estonian Song and Dance Festival in Tallinn, Estonia. Here are clips from the local television broadcast of the dances Tulehoidjad danced. Can you find them? There are quite a number of better recordings on YouTube: Tantsupidu 2009.