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Pillerkaar performs at Durant Arts Center in Alexandria, VA

For three hours on the evening of Friday, November 4, 2016, audience members traveled around the world as they watched and then danced with six different folk dance groups at the Durant Arts Center in Alexandria, Virginia at their Dances Around the World Festival.  Irish, Peruvian, Native Hawaiian, Hungarian, Estonian, and finally Israeli dancers performed in a swirl of beautiful costumes and intricate patterns.  After an introduction by the new Pillerkaar Director Jeff Zelek, three couples proudly represented Estonia, getting the audience tapping their toes to the quick-moving chords and multiple twirls of Kungla Polka.  The smooth, stately steps of Padespaan (Estonian for Pas d'Espagne (Spanish Steps)) came next, popular at the end of the 19th century and a marked contrast with the exaggerated, rustic moves of Reilender (from the old Northern European "reel dance"), which followed.  Pillerkaar concluded its stage performance with the lively Jämptpolska (an old Northern European dance), before teaching the audience the familiar Üks-kaks-kolm-neli-viis-kuus-s eitse and Kaera Jaan.  One family learned the dances faster than even dancers from the other groups.  To Pillerkaar's delight, they turned out to be Estonian-Americans who had come to Alexandria to see Estonian dancers!

If you'd like to catch Pillerkaar live, you can follow them on Facebook: https://www.faceb ook.com/search/top/?q=pillerka ar%20-%20washington%2C%20dc.  If you might be interested in dancing with them regularly, they'll be recruiting new members soon.  So please email jeff.zelek@gmail.com or pillerkaarwdc@gmail.com should you have interest in dancing with Pillerkaar.  Also, for history and pictures of Pillerkaar, see the website at www.pillerkaarwdc.com.   

Overview by Deborah Klepp.  Photos by Jennifer Horowitz, daughter of Deborah Klepp, one of the Pillerkaar dancers. 


Group shot (l-r): Jyri Erik Kork, Debora Klepp, Kadri Kallas-Zelek, Laila Oinas, Arney Smits, Jeff Zelek