Lastega ja lastele

Auhinnaga „Lastega ja lastele“ täname ja tunnustame inimesi ja organisatsioone, kelle uued algatused või pikemaajaline tegevus on positiivselt mõjutanud laste ja perede käekäiku.
Tunnustusauhinna taotluste voor on avatud 15. aprillini.

Esita taotlus


On 8 December, children from Põhjapesa (and many other substitute homes) visited the Estonian National Opera to enjoy a performance of the ballet “The Nutcracker”. For the children, the theatre visit was like a sliver of joy at the beginning of a dull December.


As I enter the Estonia building before lunch on Sunday, the excursion has almost begun. I hardly have time to give my coat to the friendly lady in the wardrobe and grab my camera from the bag, before I find myself dashing behind the tail of the procession of ballet enthusiasts, on the stairs of Estonia’s opera wing, to explore the building’s mysterious interior.

Act I: “What do you do here in Estonia?”, or the excursion

Before the beginning of the performance, we were taken on an excursion to the magical world behind the scenes, where we were shown how the decorations are made, how dancers prepare for the performance, and how their makeup is applied. All of this was very interesting and exciting.

The procession was led by professional Pippi Longstocking and Estonia actress Lydia Roos. We made our way from the President’s hand shaking hall and the huge Christmas tree that was there, to the orchestra section of the theatre and to view ceiling paintings, when all of a sudden a side door appeared from out of nowhere, taking us from the mysterious backstage to an even more mysterious scene workshop that, to everyone’s great surprise, is located above the stage! In the workshop’s floor, under a hatch, is a big hole where scenes could be lowered, not dropped, onto the stage, because they would not fit onto the stage through doors and stairways.

And as there is never too much magic, we are also shown the men’s and women’s makeup rooms, where the nutcrackers are painted with ballet faces and where both moustaches and princess crowns can be found. Both of them are filled with talented ballet dancers…

Act II: “Nut… (interval)… cracker”

We have been to both the ballet and opera several times. Our children like this. Maybe it is because our girls sing in a choir and one of the girls takes ballet lessons. Aleksandra told us how hard it is for her to dance on her toes – her toes burn afterwards. We have seen several performances of “The Nutcracker”, but it is so beautiful that we would watch it again and again. Thank you for the beautiful show!

I had not seen “The Nutcracker” before, but many people in the auditorium had seen it at least once. “And why not?!” they looked at me as if I was weird. “Ballet is beautiful!”

Besides “The Nutcracker”, I had never seen such enthusiastic clapping, as I saw from a girl sitting in front of me, after the Arabian dance. Lasting and standing applause!

I could feel the tension going down a bit, but this situation was resolved with an unexpected, but justified explosion from the stage, which was echoed by excitement in the auditorium. This also gave Estonia one lifelong ballet lover because the impressions later sent to Heategevusfond’s mail also included the following: “5-year-old boy was most impressed by an explosion during the play!”

No theatre visit is complete without an intermission. Who has heard of a play without an intermission? Generally, intermissions are spent enjoying cake and plaited buns, and juice and coffee, as ancient tradition has it. This visit did not deviate from the old tradition.

During the intermission we were treated to the very best the banquet halls had to offer. We tasted both savoury and sweet delicacies that were delicious.

I cannot say that the ballet performance’s intermission passed by uneventfully. Unfortunately, rats had gotten loose from the stage and were invading the banquet halls, intent on eating the children’s cakes. Photogenic rats, ready to strike a pose, but still! Fortunately, our determined and concerted effort was successful, and we were able to fill our stomachs before the rats arrived.

Act III: new Edurs are born, ballet lessons

We also visited a ballet lesson where we were introduced to the practice room for ballerinas and the daily training in preparing for a performance. As most of the day was spent sitting, this was a nice change of pace for the children and allowed them to use their energy for moving about.

After the curtain fell, people applauded for four minutes, and called the performers back four times; the ballet day was still not yet over. Those who had not explored the house in the morning now started a new tour into the depths of the building. A small ballet lesson was organised for those who already knew the building and wanted to move, where they were introduced to the secrets of ballet tricks. After this class, we cannot say that ballet is only for girls. A boy in trousers, who takes break dancing lessons, had the most graceful and precise leaps!

We are very grateful to all of the people who had the strength, will, and warmth in their hearts to offer the children from our children’s home such beautiful experiences that will warm their souls for a long time. Especially on dark winter evenings, when we shall pick up a copy of our programme for “The Nutcracker” and remember this nice event and beautiful dancers from a distant fairy-tale land with joy.

Tauno Tõhk

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