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|Waltzing Well: Technique | Music | Patterns | Videos | Main Menu|
A good waltz lead will learn to count the waltz as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 rather than 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. This will help the lead to keep track of his patterns as many patterns start on count 1 (when his left foot is free) and many patterns start on count 4 (when his right foot is free). A good example of this is the progressive left waltz turns which start on count 1, and the progressive right waltz turns which start on count 4.
Good dancers will include the "rise and fall" of the waltz in every pattern throughout the entire dance. (to count: 1 Low, 2 rise, 3 fall, 4 low, 5 rise, 6 fall). The "rise and fall" during the waltz should be smooth like the rise and fall of a horse on a carousel. We can make the waltz much more dramatic by taking much larger steps on counts 1 and 4 and making our other steps smaller.
Progressive waltz turns are a challenge for beginners because you must turn 360 degrees with your partner every six steps while traveling briskly down the dance floor. The secret to making progressive waltz turns well is to dance straight through your partner and do not try to dance around your partner. The look of the waltz turns can be dramatically improved if both partners add a "lock step" as follows. On left waltz turns, the man will add a lock step on count 3 and the lady should lock on count 6. To simplify this, add the lock step anytime you are traveling forward into a waltz turn. Remember that you lock at opposite times from your partner. When the man locks, the lady doesn't, when the lady locks, the man doesn't. Neither partner should lock during right waltz turns.
The two styles of formal waltz are American and International. In American-style waltz, dancers can include a multitude of patterns that allow space and separation between the dancers. In international-style waltz, dance partners are required to maintain body contact throughout the dance. Waltz dancers look especially attractive when the lean their upper body back and strengthen the dance frame between the lead and the follow. This is especially crucial in international-style waltz to keep the frame strong between dancers who are so close together.
The speed of waltz can vary dramatically. Slow Modern Waltz ranges from 85 to 110 bpm (beats per minute). Medium speed waltzes range from 110 to 140 bpm. Lastly, fast (Viennese) waltzes range from 140 to 180 bpm. Many beginning dancers are afraid to try Viennese waltz because it seems too fast. The secret to dancing Viennese Waltz well is taking very small quick steps on some patterns and using hold-tap footwork on other patterns. In hold-tap footwork, you will take a step and hold on 1, 2, 3 with all weight, and while you are holding use your other foot to do a tap with no weight on count 2 hold 3.
Good waltz dancers will travel gracefully and continuously around the room following the line-of-dance. If another couple gets in their way, a good waltz couple will immediately and smoothly switch to patterns that stay in one place until traffic clears, whereupon they can resume traveling down the dance floor.
Lastly, waltz should be very smooth and the feet should hardly make a sound as they touch the floor. To improve your style, rather than dancing "on the floor", think about literally trying to dance "above the floor" as you dance the waltz.
|Viennese Waltz: Dance Facts | Music | Patterns | Videos | Main Menu|
|Viennese Waltz Music||The music for waltz uses the 3/4 time signature with three beats per measure and an accent on count 1.|
|Viennese Waltz History||Since the waltz first originated in Vienna, Austria in ≈1800 it has remained popular for 200 years and is still popular today. The word "Waltz" comes from the old German world "waltzen" which means to roll, turn, or glide. In the early 1800's, the waltz caused a scandal (and was called an immoral dance) because of its romantic elements and close positions. Also, in the early 1800's, the man's outstretched hand was on top of the lady's outstretched hand in a protective position as it was considered much too intimate to hold the outstretched hands palm-to-palm. Even the fact that dancers stood very closely together in a face-to-face position was considered scandalous by the churches of the early 1800's. One commentator, in describing the dance could not even say the waltz was danced face-to-face and described that the waltz as being danced "the opposite of back to back".|
|Viennese Waltz Rhythm||
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (all steps are quick's)|
Mans steps with left foot on count 1.
Mans steps with right foot on count 4.
|Viennese Waltz Technique||Waltz looks especially pretty if you take a larger step on count 1 and on count 4. When you can do the steps correctly and with good balance, then start taking larger steps throughout the waltz.|
|Viennese Waltz Style||"Dance Above the Floor." The waltz is a smooth dance. Graceful, fluid movement. Legs, feet, and body should move smoothly throughout the dance. You should glide smoothly across the floor. You should move across the floor with ease. Don't push downward into the floor (notice the differences from the Latin dancer that places each foot carefully on clay floors). The waltz is traditionally danced in big ballroom floors (with sure footing) in Europe.|
|Progressive Dance||The waltz can be done in one location, or it can progress around the room along the line of dance. In traditional ballroom dancing and in country dancing, the waltz is almost always a progressive dance. As you are moving around the room, if someone gets in your way, then you should switch to your stationary patterns until traffic clears and you can again start traveling. (Note: Other progressive dances include the foxtrot, country two-step, and polka). If the dance floor is too crowded to progress down the floor, then use stationary waltz dance patterns and treat the waltz as a spot dance.|
|Forms of the Waltz||
The two primary forms of waltz are the "Modern Waltz" which is
slow, and the "Viennese Waltz" which is fast. The Viennese Waltz
is twice as fast as the Modern Waltz.
In America, the Country Waltz is an important dance. The Country waltz include a basic that progresses forward on every step, whereas the ballroom progressive forward waltz includes a side step.
American Style Waltz is similar to the International Style except that it has both open and closed positions. This provides the American Style dancer with more opportunities for variety and self-expression.
International Style Waltz is danced in close position. International Style dancers are required to maintain contact at the mid-section of the body with no "gapping".
Dance Position: Although close dance position is technically correct for traditional ballroom dance, most people use a closed position for the waltz.
Use standard ballroom hold. Keep your shoulders level. Ladies left elbow is outside of and on top of the man's right elbow.
Use Close Position for Progressive Waltz Turns in the Line of Dance: The guy will need to pull the lady into close position when doing progressive turns in the line of dance. Whenever you are making sharp turns with a high degree of rotation with your partner, you must be close together or you will not be able to complete the turn successfully.
Guys, since there are several patterns that start on count 1 and there are several patterns that start on count 4, you should count the waltz as "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6". The guy will step with his left foot on count 1 and with his right foot on count 4. Remember that most patterns start on count 1. However right turns and 6-count walk-arounds start on count 4.
Foot placement: Keep the weight forward on your feet and when do come down on your heels, do so softly. Heel-ball-toe going forward and Toe-ball-heel going backwards.
Rise and fall (on the ball of your feet on counts 2 and 5). Rise and fall should be smooth like a horse on a carousel. Both the man and the woman should use rise and fall throughout the entire dance in all of the patterns.
|Viennese Waltz: Patterns | Music | Technique | Facts | Videos | Main Menu|
Waltz Left Box||
Waist-hold Patterns in Waltz:
Latin Patterns to Waltz Time:
Spot turn patterns:
open break patterns:
peek-a-boo patterns (from open break):|
Shadow patterns and fake steps (from open break):
Passing patterns (from open break):
Charge patterns(Can add rotation: forward turning left, backward turning left):
Same-hand crossover (full moon):
Curtsy and Bow (Starter Step)