Why learn how to waltz? The waltz is one of the most popular dance genres in the world. There are different styles of waltz dancing and many different events, venues and reasons to think about learning how to dance the waltz. We include our favorite online waltz dance lessons in this article.
How to do the waltz box step
Kristina Reese & Aaron Mitchum
A few reasons to learn how to waltz dance!
The waltz dance genre can be found in most countries worldwide. Also, there are many different categories of dancing that include a type of waltz. For instance, there is a waltz in country western, American ballroom, International ballroom, Cajun waltz, French waltz, Viennese waltz and other forms of waltz dancing. Also, the waltz is probably the most popular choice the bride and groom’s first dance at weddings.
Waltz has a long history dating back to spinning dances of the 6th century according to European literary sources. However, the style that most resembles modern waltz developed in the mid-1800’s in Vienna, Austria. Eventually, it spread to other parts of Europe and the America’s and evolved into other forms of waltz dancing.
Waltz Dance Characteristics
In every style, the waltz is a smooth dance that progresses around the dance floor counter clockwise in line of dance (LOD). It is characterized by a rise and fall action and shares technique elements with the other ballroom dance styles like swing and sway, contra body movement, turns and parallel footwork.
Hesitation waltz was a form of waltz introduced by the Castle’s (Vernon and Irene) in the early twentieth century. Essentially, it is a weighted step on the 1st of three beats and a hesitation or hold on the weaker 2nd and 3rd beats of music.
Waltz Balance & Box Pattern
Toni Redpath & Michael Meade
American style waltz
and the country western waltz use a considerable amount of open position movements. The waltz uses rise and fall technique to give it a lilting action. The dancer flexes into the one count preparing to rise moving from heel to ball of the foot then steps onto the ball continuing to rise on count 2 reaching the highest part of the rise on count three and lowering to a neutral position at the end of three.
Ohio Star Ball 2015 – American Smooth Waltz Show Dance 2
Kyle & Allie Spinder
Waltzes use mostly two rhythms, step on every beat or step on the first beat of three and hold for the next two beats called hesitation waltz. However, waltz dancers do use syncopations for some patterns where they split the beats with timings like 1&23. The waltz is unique in that it is a smooth dance composed of three beat rhythms.
How to Waltz – Underarm Turn
Kristina Reese & Aaron Mitchum
Every style of waltz includes left and right turning box steps, progressive steps and pivots plus some styles include underarm turns and other patterns. Box steps can turn up to a 1/2 turn either left or right, sometimes called reverse and natural turns, respectively. In addition, a weaving action is used to progress around the floor where dancers head toward the wall or center of the floor.
American Bronze Waltz Routine DVIDA
Michael Mead & Toni Redpath
Waltz Dance Positions
Waltz dance positions include closed, open, two hand, cross hand, promenade, outside partner, parallel, shadow and other dance positions.
The Viennese waltz is the original waltz and is considerably faster than the slow waltz. It originated in Vienna, Austria in the mid-nineteenth century along with Strauss waltz music.
How to waltz – Viennese waltz
American Smooth Viennese waltz progressive
Toni Redpath & Michael Meade
There are five International style ballroom (standard) dance genres including quickstep, foxtrot, tango, Viennese waltz and waltz. The waltz is also called the slow waltz and the English waltz. The International style waltz is popular at dancesport competitions worldwide. Also, this form of waltz is the preferred style in Europe, Japan and other countries outside of the United States. Alternatively, the U.S. has both American and International style waltz. However, the International is almost exclusively used in dancesport and competitive dancing while the American style is used socially as well as in competition.
The International style of waltz maintains contact throughout the dance and consists of only closed position patterns, whereas other styles use both open and closed movements.
Patterns include right and left turning boxes referred to as natural and reverse turns respectively, whisks, pivots, weaves, telemarks, spin turns, fallaways, hovers, chasses and other patterns.
International Waltz Performance @WSSDF 2010
Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva
International Waltz Performance Final Solo 2015
Victor Fung & Anastasia Murayeva
Country Western Waltz
The country western waltz is a popular dance genre in county dance clubs and country western competitions. Moreover, the country waltz is similar to the American style waltz. Also, the Cajun waltz uses similar movements. Generally, the country waltz moves in a linear progressive style and uses turns, wraps and spins like the country two step.
How to Waltz – Country Western Style
How to Waltz – Cajun Style
Cal & Lou Courville
Other forms of waltz
Other forms of waltz include an Irish waltz, Scandinavian, Peruvian, Mexican, Cajun, Cuban, Venezuelan, Valse Musette, cross-step waltz, Alsace, Estonian and other regional styles of waltz dancing.
Waltz music is unique due to its 3/4 meter. According to the National Dance Council of America (NDCA) waltz music is 84-90 beats per minute (BPM’s) for International style waltz and 90-96 beats per minute for American style waltz. In addition, Viennese waltz tempo is 162-174 beats per minute.
There is a large variety of waltz music due to the many different styles of waltz. For instance, there is country western waltz music, Viennese waltz music plus International and American style waltz songs. Waltz music is composed in 3/4 timing with three beats per measure. It consists of a strong accented first beat followed by two weaker beats.