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The oldest and best known of all Ballroom dances. Waltz is a progressive dance that features a lovely, elegant rise-and-fall action, ¾ time music and a 1-2-3 rhythm.

Waltz history

According to Encyclopedia Britannica name of the dance Waltz derived from German word “walzen” which means “to revolve”. This highly popular ballroom dance evolved from another fold dance called Ländler in the 18th century. Waltz is characterized by a step, slide, and step in 3/4 time. Waltz became the ballroom dance “par excellence” of the 19th century, however, and tenaciously maintained its popularity in the 20th. Its variations include the rapid, whirling Viennese waltz and Mexican Vals.

Waltz timing

Basic Waltz timing is very simple 1-2-3. Most beginner steps are designed in this simple rhythm. More advanced steps involve more sophisticated syncopated timings such as 1-and-2-3 or 1-2-an d-3.  Waltz timing is also known as ¾ timing. That means that there are only 3 beats in every phrase.

Waltz music

Famous composers of the past that wrote waltzes include Frédéric Chopin, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Johann Strauss and his sons, especially Johann Strauss the Younger, who was known as “the Waltz King.” However, most of those composers created faster versions of waltz, which is known as “Viennese Waltz”. Currently, many modern DanceSport DJs remix popular songs to Waltz 1-2-3 timing.  

Children learn basic waltz steps in dance class

Waltz steps

Waltz is a progressive dance that is normally danced around the room in a counter-clockwise manner. The basic Waltz pattern involves 3 steps: forward, side, feet together.  As students get comfortable with this step, there are many more Waltz steps to learn. More advanced steps normally include turns ,  spins and chasses.

What is Rise and Fall in Waltz?

Rise and Fall is a defining characteristic of Slow Waltz. Each cycle of rising and lowering typically takes place over 1 measure (3 beats) of Waltz music. The lowest point in the cycle (i.e. the point at which the knees are the most bent) occurs when the foot is placed at the beginning of the first beat in the measure. The highest point in the cycle (i.e. when the body is elevated to its highest on toes) occurs at the beginning of the third beat in the measure.

Different styles of Waltz

There are two styles of Waltz: International Style (also called Standard) and American Style (also called Smooth). Essential difference is that in International Waltz couple stays is closed position through all the duration of dance. In American Smooth Waltz partners may separate and do their own independent steps.  Styles are visually different; however they share many similar steps and same technique. We normally recommend beginners to start with American styles waltz since it is easier to dance.

How to learn to dance waltz.

To learn to dance Waltz you need to sign up for dance classes. Best way would be to register for private dance lessons. Private dance lessons are flexible to schedule. In addition, in private dance lessons we can focus on helping you to improve as fast as possible.

Is Waltz a good dance for beginners to learn?

Yes, Waltz is a fairly easy dance for beginners to learn. It is one of the slower dances with tempo ranging around 90 beats per minute. Basic Waltz steps are not very complicated.

Where can I dance Waltz?

There are several places you can dance waltzes.

Dance waltz at Friday Social Ballroom dance at DanceSport Club in Houston

Dance Waltz at Ballroom Socials:

You can dance Waltz at Social Ballroom Dances at dance studios near you. At those events a mix of ballroom dances is played. However, since Waltz is so popular you will find quite a few Waltz songs to can dance to.

Dance Waltz at Country-Western bars and club.

Country Waltz is still a Waltz. Even though it has “country” flavor country waltzes have same 1-2-3 rhythm.  However, some country Waltzes may be a little faster that ballroom waltzes.

Dance Waltz at Weddings

Many weddings’ playlists include formal dances such as Waltz and Foxtrot.  So go ahead and impress all your friends how comfortably and naturally you dance Waltz. Make them all jealous.

Dance Waltz in your back yard.

 Who said you can’t dance waltz in your back yard? It is your back yard after all. Play some waltzes during your barbeque Sunday.  Back yard is a good place because it is most likely bigger than your kitchen. Waltz is a travelling dance and you do need some space to enjoy it. There are other dances you can dance in your kitchen or living room such as Salsa or Swing.