About Us

Pillerkaar History

When did Pillerkaar Start?

Pillerkaar came together under the auspices of the Estonian Society of Washington, DC for the first time in the fall of 1971 with Anu Oinas as the founder and instructor and Maria Pedak Kari as the public relations person and events coordinator.  The goal of this folk dancing endeavor was to keep alive the forgotten art of Estonian Folk Dance (as Estonia was under communist control) and to enlist Estonians young and old to come together to renew a part of their culture and tradition with dance.  As Anu had already taught folk dance in New York, she was the perfect candidate to pull through such an endeavor.   

 

ESTO 1972

 

There was another short term goal in mind – to perform as a group at ESTO 1972 in Toronto, Canada – which they did, 24 couples strong!  They were ages 10 to 50+ and many moms or dads danced with their teen aged kids!   In the years that followed, the group grew so large that Anu had to split then into three:  kids, adults, and seasoned dancers.   They each practiced once every other week but on different days – Anu had to drive 60 miles round trip six times a month to teach.  That’s dedication!

 

Other Important Characters

 

Originally,  they danced at the  Lutheran Church on Gallatin Road in 

NW Washington.  Later,  Rima Vesilind, who worked at one of the Fairfax County schools, offered the school for dancing practices but it was sporadic and they needed a permanent place.   In the middle 70’s, Silvi Valge, who  worked at Calvary Lutheran Church, in Silver Spring, MD, offered the church basement hall to Pillerkaar for their practices.  It is there that they practiced for 20 years under the kind gratitude of the church!  Since the group was so big, Anu enlisted help from others who helped with dance instruction, Sven Roosild, Raivo Vest, Reet Kaseoru, Karin Shuey, and Arvo Vercamer.  For the first 25 years, dances were taught from written instructions (in Estonian) in Ulo Toomi’s folk dance book.  It was a difficult job translating each toe  and finger movement from Estonian to English!

 

 

 


Who Selected the Name Pillerkaar?

 

The 70’s and 80’s were spent learning new dances for each ESTO, every four years, and for performances for various folk festivals, Estonian Independence Day, and Jaanipaev (Celebration of Light).  From 1984-88, Pillerkaar’s dancers selected its current name (from many choices) and established its formal identity as Pillerkaar, Estonian Folk Dancers from the Washington, DC Metro Area.  Pillerkaar has been performing 3-10 times each year since then.

 

1983



ESTO 88

 

ESTO 88 brought a big change in the group since a large percentage were young people who went to college or got married and had children in the next few years.  The group took a hiatus for a year and then started up again – this time in Virginia (and closer to Anu).  It branched out to include friends of the dancers as well and since then have had quite a few Americans join in our practices and performances.  We practiced at the local high school for close to ten years until they required a $500 insurance policy to use the facilities.  In the next few years, practices were held weekly at various dancers homes and at Anu’s home in Virginia.  In the last year, we have been practicing more centrally, at the World Bank, where Anu currently works. 

 


There were many practices of all the Estonian dance groups on the East Coast.  This one took place in Baltimore on 2-9-02.  Recognize anyone?

 


Current Participants

 

The current group consists of about 20 Estonians and their spouses and friends.  In the last five years, more and more new dances are coming from Estonia and videotapes have become available to make teaching a lot simpler. Pillerkaar itself has seasoned and a new dance can be learned during one practice!  The people love to dance, keep up the tradition of their forefathers, and have made a weekly commitment to attend practices.  We performed 8 times in 1999 and 10 times in 2000 and over 8 times in each years between 2000 to the present!

 

    2004


Past Events  

 

Events for which we have performed include: National Theatre, Washington, DC; Ronald Reagan Center, Washington, DC; Baltimore Historical Society; Celebration of Light Festivals in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Toronto, and Maryland; Essex, Fairfax, Arlington, Montgomery, and Gaithersburg Heritage Festivals; Australian and Estonian Embassies; Estonian World Festivals; Sports Events; Maryland University; Ronald Reagan Center; Smithsonian Institution; Wolf Trapp; World Bank; weddings; and parties.

 

Who is the Leader?


Anu Oinas is the originator and current leader of Pilllerkaar, Estonian Folk Dancers of the Greater Washington, DC Area (Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC).  Prior to ESTO 2000, in Toronto, Canada, Karin Marley, a writer for the Vaba Eestlane in Toronto, wrote the following article about Anu.  If you cannot read Estonian, please print and ask someone you know to translate for you!

 

 


Tutvumine Valguspeo Esinejatega

 

Etendusi ja esinemisi on palju toredam vaadata, kui tunned kedagi, kes on esinemas.  Kui mitu korda olete uht filmi vaadanud lihtsalt selleparast, et uks kuulsatest naitlejatest teile vaga meeldib voi kainud teatris, sest esinemas on sober voi sugulane?  Kindlasti ei ole see ebatavaline juhus.

 

Nii ongi, et Kunglal tekkis plaan teha ESTO 2000 Valguspidu pealtvaatajate jaoks veelgi toredamaks sellega, et tutvustame teile etendusel esinejaid, kuigi te kidlasti mond kohalikku esinejat juba tunnete.  Tutvustame neid niimoodi, et teeme elektroonilise posti labi intervjuusid esinejatega igasugustest kultuurilistest gruppidest ule maailma, ja paneme nende lood, vaatevinklid ja stiilid siis kirja, kuni tuleb kokku kogu seeria esinejate portreesid.  Nii on teil, lehelugejatel, voimalik uusi sopru kohata ja vanu meelde tuletada juba enne ESTO 2000 algust.

 

Esimene intervjuu toimus Washington, DC-st parit Pillerkaare rahvatantsu ruhma juhi Anu Oinasega.  Anu on iseloomu poolest opetaja, juhendades labi aastate viiuli ja klaveri mangimist, sunnitamisklasse, olles gaidjuht ja ka kauaaegne rahvatantsuopetaja.    Anu on keskoolist saadik olnud suur muusika- ja tantsuhuviline ning seeparast oppis ta selgeks eesti rahvatantsu pohiteadmised.

 

Kui tal oli omal rahvatants selge, alustas Anu 29 aastat tagasi Pillerkaare ruhmaga.  Nagu valiseestlastel ikka, on Anu elus palju tegevust.  Peale rahvatantsu on tal muidugi ka tookoht, kuna olla taisajaliselt eestlane on raske.  Anu tootab World Bank’is, reisides ule maailma panga 130 osakonda, aidates toolisi seoses karjaarialaste kusimustega.  Anu on kas Koprp! Indla! liige ja isegi nende magisterkandaat.


Anu algatusel ilmus Pillerkaar esmalt lasteruhmana.  Ruhm kasvas kiiresti ja juba paari aasta parast oli juurde tulnud noorte- ja vilunud tantsiate gruppid.  Anu filosoofia on, et tantsiatel on suurem tung tantsida, kui on rohkesti esinemisi.  Selleparast puhendab to palju energiat uute esinemisvoimaluste otsimisel.  Pillerkaar esineb 6-8 korda aastas igasuguste kohalikel festivalidel ja kultuuripaevadel ja muidugi ka eestiparastel uritustel.  Praegu tantsib Pillerkaares 16 taiskasvanud liiget.  Moned tantsiad ei ole eestlased, vaid eestlaste abikaasad, lapsed, voi sobrad.  Anu meelest on Pillerkaare koige iseloomustavam tundemark see, et koikidele tantsiatele meeldib kangesti tantsida, harjutada ja esineda.  Koik tantsiad on ka alati valmis ruhma heaoluloe kaasa aitama. 


Pillerkaar on aasta labi kovasti tootanud, et oppida ara Valguspeo kullaltki raske 23-tantsuline kava.   Kuni Anu vaatevinklist on ESTO tahtis eestlaste meeleolu tostmiseks ja valiseestlaste kultuuri edasiviimiseks, on ta nende tantsude opetamise heal meelel enda peale votnud. 

 

Kui kusisin, mida Anu ootab koige rohkem ESTO 2000’lt, vastas ta, et ootab “head koosviibimist teiste eestlaste seltsis, uute kontaktide loomist ja monusat araolemist, samuti huvitavaid kultuurulisi elamusi.

 

Anu loodab, et ESTO 2000 tuletab eestlastele meelde, kes nende esivanemad on ja kelleks see neid endid teeb.  Kuigi osa ESTO 2000 osavotjaid ei ela Eestis, oleme ikka hinge poolest eestlased ja roomustame selle ule, et meil on voimalik sudamliku laulu ja tantsu labi oma kultuuri puhitseda. 

 

Kusisin ka Anu arvamust nn. uute rahvatantsude kohta.  Need on tantsud, mis on hiljuti Eestis koreografeeritud rahvatantsu stiilis.  On konfliktseid arvamusi, kas peaks proovima sailitada rohkem autentseid rahvatantse voi hoopis tegema rahvatantse rohkem tanapaevaseiks.  Anu opetab oma ruhmalepeamiselt originaalseid rahvatantse, jalgides kirjeldusi vaga tapselt, et mitte muuta tantsude originaalset stiili ja ilmet.  Ta opetab mond uut tantsu ka, aga pidades alati meeles, et need on koreografeeritud tantsud ja mitte paris rahvatantsud.    Pillerkaare nimi sumboliseerib aga vanu rahvalikke kogunemisi, kus tantsimine oli vahem struktueeritud ja rohkem seltskondlik.

 

Viimaks raakis Anu oma koige huvitavamast momendist Pillerkaare esinemisel.  Kuna Pillerkaarel, nagu peaaegu koikidel teistelgi valiseesti rahvatantsuruhmadel, on meestest puudus, on Anu mitmel korral esinenud mehe osas meeste rahvariietes!  Anule meeldib vaadata pealtvaatajate nagusid, kui ta lopus votab kaabu ara, laseb oma juuksed alla, ja seletab, eta ta on ruhmajuht ja ka naine!  

 

Loodame, et Anu Oinase nimi on nuud koigile tuttav.  Nuud on uks rahvatantsu ”staar ” teile teada, keda voite ESTO 2000 ajal ules otsida ja temaga lahemalt tutvuda.  Ootame ponevusega ESTO 2000 Valguspidu.

 

Karin Marley, Vaba Eestlane, 16 mai 2000, lk.4