According to a very old theory, the research methods of dialectology and language typology are also applicable in the study of folk dances. Studies into dance typology form a significant part of the work of Hungarian dance historians Gyorgy Martin and Erno Pesovir (e.g., Martin-Pesovir 1960, 1964, Martin 1995). Author of this study introduces the basic principles of the structural analysis methods of Martin and Pesovir, and at the same time compares the common parameters of dance structures and linguistic structures. Structural analysis is used to demonstrate this on one of the most popular Estonian contra dances, the Kaerajaan dance. The Kaerajaan dances are primarily examined in the light of the book 'Kontratantsud' (Contra Dances, 1995) by Kristian Torop. The entire second chapter is dedicated to this analysis. The third chapter presents possibly the most detailed analysis of Kaerajaan dances, in which the parts of the dance is divided into motifs and similar motifs are systematized in groups. The last part of the article takes a look further: the author examines the relations of a few types of contra dance, and the frequency and distribution of the motifs, introducing a new type of 'dance isogloss'. This model provides a solid foundation for showing how this particular topic may help us in the research of both spatial and temporal aspects of the corresponding Fenno-Scandinavian folk dances.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.