The Kivajat Finnish American Folk Dance group of the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC.) The Kivajat currently has over 40 children in its programs.
The Kivajat Dancers were invited to perform in Finland at Tanssiva Turku (Children’s International Folk Dance Festival) in June 2019! You can follow the adventures on their Facebook page Footwork & Fiddles to Finland.
Schedule and fees
Practices for the 2023-24 season begin in September 2023 at the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC). Both boys and girls are encouraged to join!
- 3rd grade – 6th grade
- Mondays, 3:45 – 5 p.m.
Loistavat (Older Kivajat)
- 7th grade – 12th grade
- Mondays 6:30 – 7:45 p.m.
Pikku Kivajat (Little Finnish Dancers)
- Kindergarten – 2nd grade
- Schedule TBD
Annual fees are $30 per family for up to 3 children. Additional children are $10.
Dancers must provide their own shoes and pants (boys), but costumes are provided for all performances. During the school year, the group practices weekly at the FAHC, performs at nursing homes, and participates in Heikinpäivä. In the summer they dance at community and cultural festivals throughout the region.
To register, or for more information, email Kay Seppala here: KivajatDancers@gmail.com
About the Dancers
It began as a dream to have a children’s dance group representing the Copper Country at FinnGrandFest 2005 in Marquette Michigan. Since then, over 130 children, ages 5 – 17, have participated in one of the three distinct groups that make up the Kivajat Dancers. (Kivajat for grades 3 – 6, Loistavat for grades 7 – 12, and more recently Pikku Kivajat for grades K – 2). The children are from the different Copper Country communities and schools; only a portion of them have Finnish ancestry. The low cost ($30 per family per year) enables any child who wants to dance to be a part of a performing folk dance group – learning delightful traditional Finnish folk dances, teamwork and performance skills.
About the leader
Kay Seppala is a native of the Upper Peninsula, and has been actively involved in the Finnish-American community all her life. She learned to dance as a child at Copper Country dances, and was trained as a Finnish folk dancer while performing with the Kisarit Finnish-American Folk Dancers in St. Paul, Minnesota from 1977- 1997. Mrs. Seppala now volunteers her time to share this rich heritage with the younger generations, through this community enrichment program of the Finnish American Heritage Center.
WHERE THEY PERFORM
The dance groups practice throughout the school year, preparing a new set of dances each year. Starting in January, the dancers perform at least once a month on a Sunday afternoon at a local nursing home. As the dance year progresses, the children perform at different cultural events and festivals, including Finnish Independence Day, Heikinpäivä, Juhannus, Hanka Homestead, Houghton County Fair, and others, ending the dance year with the local Parade of Nations performance in September. The Kivajat Dancers have performed in three different FinnFests (Marquette 2005, Duluth 2008 and Hancock 2013), twice in the Canadian Finnish Festivals (Sault Ste Marie 2010 and Thunder Bay 2016), as well as Finland at the Tanssiva Turku Children’s International Folk Dance Festival in 2009, 2015, and 2019.