Local versions of social dances of the early 20th century

Valjala folk dancers,

Aleksander Rüütel (concertina)

Valjala, born in Pöide (1961)

NB! Audio may not be available throughout video.

In the video, Valjala folk dancers perform local versions of social dances popular in the early 20th century: hiawatha, pas d'espagne, rheinländer with alternating partners, polka, krakowiak, two-Step and "Seamen's waltz". Synchronization of the music and dances was difficult mainly because of differences in pace. Accompaniment by Aleksander Rüütel.

First, we drive to the community centre of Valjala in order to find the head of the centre and agree on the filming of the folk dance. The head of the centre, a kind young woman, is home. In some minutes' time the agreement is reached. She promised to have a couple of rehearsals and invite everyone for the filming on Tuesday between 3 and 5 p.m. The dancers are mostly older people, who dance old dances as was done here, in Valjala, in the olden times. (From the field work diary of O. Kõiva, May 31, 1961; Rüütel 2015: 167)

The most serious event of the day was the dance. Aleksander Rüütel's instrumental dance pieces were recorded onto the tape. During filming, the dance was performed to the accompaniment of the tape. There were three couples. The eldest woman was aged 63 and the youngest 41. The excitement that was brought on by their performance made Juhan Lätt exclaim with praise: "The old gals sure know how to dance!" (From the field work diary of O. Kõiva, June 6, 1961; Rüütel 2015: 175)

Video ERA, DV 109–110. Audio RKM, Mgn II 500 f, 501 a, 502 a, c, 500 b, 501 e.



Asva village (Pöide)

Audla village (Pöide)

Haeska village (Valjala)

Kalma village (Pöide)

Kiriku village (Valjala)

Kungla village (Valjala)

Kõiguste village (Pöide)

Kõnnu village (Valjala)

Liiva-Putla village (Püha)

Loona village (Püha)

Mässa village (Jämaja)

Orinõmme village (Pöide)

Oti settlement (Pöide)

Pahavalla village (Pöide)

Ridala village (Pöide)

Soonda village (Muhu)


Turja village (Valjala)

Tõnija village (Valjala)

Veere village (Pöide)

Võhma village (Pöide)

Sound recordings


Online edition

Editors Janika Oras, Kadi Sarv
Translation into English Inna Feldbach, Olga Ivaškevitš
Selection of photos Aivo Põlluäär
Project co-ordinator Risto Järv
Web design Lorem Ipsum
Cover photo Ingrid Rüütel 2007 (private collection)

Sponsors of the web publication

Ensemble Trad.Attack!
Ministry of Education and Research (projekt IUT22-4)
The European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies)
The Cultural Endowment of Estonia


ELM Scholarly Press, 2018
© and ℗ Estonian Literary Museum, 2018
© Ingrid Rüütel
ISBN 978-9949-586-57-8

Online edition is based on

Saaremaa rahvamuusikat ja kombeid /
Traditional Music and Customs of Saaremaa

Collected and compiled by Ingrid Rüütel.
Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 8. Tartu 2014

[CD, DVD and textbook]
Sound production and CD mastering Jaan Tamm
DVD editing and mastering Jaan Kolberg
Editor Janika Oras
Translation into English Inna Feldbach
Design and text book layout Krista Saare
Print Kruuli Trükikoja AS
Replication Baltic Disc AS

Rüütel, Ingrid. Saaremaa laule ja lugusid. Mis on jäänud jälgedesse I
[The Songs and Tales of Saaremaa. What Remains in Our Traces I]

Tartu: ELM Scholarly Press 2015

Editor Asta Niinemets
Music transcription Ingrid Rüütel, Ludmilla Toon, Edna Tuvi
Notation editing Ingrid Rüütel, Edna Tuvi
Sheet music graphics Edna Tuvi
Texts transcription Erna Tampere, Ingrid Rüütel
Dialectic texts editor Ester Kuusik
Translation of summary Inna Feldbach
Layout and design Krista Saare
Print OÜ Greif Trükikoda