Old Estonians thought that dancing had a powerful and magical influence on the surrounding world. Dance was an inseparable component of parties and festivities because it was customary to celebrate holidays. People expressed their joy by dancing. On solemn days dancing and having fun were unacceptable.

The oldest movements that may be regarded as dancing are simple steps in a circle or line. The lead dancer or a pair of lead dancers would show the others the direction of steps or the sequence to be followed.