That’s what happened one day in 1968 in Kekava, just 10km from Riga, the capital of Latvia. A seed was planted.
But this time the acorn was the Latvian folk dance group ZĪLE (Latvian for acorn). The seed was planted, and what a tree it has become.
Gathering local dancers like a magnet, it became a super-seed that surpassed any expectations, by becoming one of the best Latvian folk dance groups in country.
Of course there have been some slower years, but ZĪLE now is a full grown grand oak-tree.- A diamond in the cultural life of Kekava and whole region of Riga.
Since 1976 ZĪLE has brought Latvian folk dances to audiences in Belgium, Russia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Czechoslovakia, Jordan, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus and Poland. ZĪLE has made many friends among folk dance groups internationally and participated in international festivals in Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Macedonia and Serbia.
Latvia has five regions, with each region having a different folk costume, dance steps and character of dances. ZĪLE’s repertoire includes dances from all regions in Latvia. Regional folk dances are performed in costumes of the respective region. ZĪLE has a rich wardrobe, consisting of more than 10 regional sets of traditional costumes.
Each Latvian folk dance, that we dance is different and can be performed by two to 36 dancers. They could involve humor or some story telling, about Latvian traditions, human relationships (as our troupe leader says: “I want to see passion in your eyes” ) and the circle of life. The choreography is based on Latvian folklore, but quite often with a modern twist. We strive to make the performance interesting and exciting. Each year ZĪLE gives an average 20 performances in Latvia and abroad.
Since the very beginning of ZĪLE, every five years we take part in the All-Latvian Song and Dance Festival that has been held since 1873, and is on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is a once in a lifetime experience!
At the moment ZĪLE has 2 casts of ~ 30 dancers each. Vita Timermane has been general manager of ZĪLE since 1998. We also have an accomplished choreographer – Artis Purins and the “president” of dancers is Divs Reiznieks.
ZĪLE has long standing traditions – confirmation of new dancers, sports activities, carnivals and parties with other folk dance groups. We strive to be the best we can be, while enjoying what we do and are always eager to learn more!
Latvian folk dancing is our way of life; ZĪLE is our second home and family.
And We truly love it!
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