Waltz

foxtrotcoupleThe oldest of the modern ballroom dances, the Waltz was danced first by the country folks; but gradually, the infectious rhythm captivated the whole German society. The music had a swing that demanded a new style of dancing and the speed of the music required a close hold to maintain balance in the breathless, speedy turns. The closeness of the couple, the tight embrace, and the body parts touching caused considerable criticism on moral grounds. Religious leaders almost unanimously regarded it as vulgar and sinful. In parts of Germany and Switzerland, the Waltz was banned all together.

Dance instructors also criticized it, seeing the Waltz as a threat to their profession. (The basic steps of the Waltz could be learned in relatively short time, whereas, the minuet and other court dances required considerable practice, not only to learn the many complex figures, but also to develop suitable postures and deportment.)

But the criticism only served to increase the popularity of the Waltz. The bourgeoisie took it up enthusiastically immediately after the French revolution. Reportedly, the first time the Waltz was danced in the United States was in Boston in 1834. Although some were aghast at first, gradually, by the middle of the nineteenth century, the Waltz was firmly established in United States’ society.

Dance Characteristics

Waltz is the only dance done to music that has ¾ timing.  Danced in ¾ timing, the music has recurring even beats. However there is a pronounced accent that occurs on the first beat of each measure. The basic count is 1, 2, 3. Waltz is characterized by rise and fall and by sway on the side steps in the upper body. The feet remain in contact with the floor at all times, creating a smooth, gliding look. Waltz is a progressive dance down the line of dance (counter-clockwise) and the Waltz frame is the typical Smooth frame essential for balance and control. Waltz has an elegant gracefulness with a romantic and sometimes sad, feel.

Musical Information
Time signature: 3/4
Tempo: 30-32 measures per minute
Timing: 123, 123
Beat value: 1-1-1

To learn how to do the Waltz, click here