Tarvanpää is one of the oldest folk dance ensembles in Estonia, a symbol of Viru county.
Nowadays Tarvanpää plays a special role in Rakvere, the capital of Lääne-Viru county. It is known as a dance group where traditional culture and national heritage are well preserved. It is also the organiser of the first mendance festival in the world. One way or another – every inhabitant of Rakvere is somehow related to Tarvanpää.
In the year 1946 a small group of dancers came together and already a year later they participated in an all-Estonian national event, which became the predecessor of our famous Dance festivals. In 1969, when the number of participants had grown remarkably, the group was given the name of folk dance ensemble Tarvanpää.
In 1968 Maie Orav started her work as a dance instructor and she may be called the creator of the dance ensemble as we know it today. In addition to creating numerous dances she is renowned all over Estonia for being the founder of Estonia’s first folklore festival Viru Säru (1986) and the world’s first mendance festival ( 2006), where she still acts as a choreographer and artistic director .
Since September 2011 Tarvanpää has a new artistic director – Mall Järvela, who belongs to the new wave of Estonian folk dance instructors.
Tarvanpää society has 10 dance groups (2012) and a band of musicians.
Since the year 1947 Tarvanpää has taken part in all Estonian Dance festivals, local and regional festivals, but also represented Estonia in international dance or folklore festivals in Europe and Asia, the farthest destinations being Japan, Sri Lanka and Iraq.
Today folk dance ensemble Tarvanpää has become a meeting place for very different people who share similar spiritual values and respect for the national heritage . The age of the dancers ranges from 3 to quite elderly – so everybody is welcome to join in and enjoy themselves.