A Description Of Waltz Dancing
The introduction of the Waltz was the scandal of 19th century English society. Never before had a man and woman danced publicly in a virtual embrace. Fortunately the grace and beauty of the Waltz were noticed, and English society, so quick to denounce the dance, eventually "embraced" it. In fact, Queen Victoria was an exquisite ballroom dancer who developed a passion for the Waltz. Johann Strauss can be credited with the persistence of the Waltz in mainstream ballroom dancing with his fast paced Waltz compositions that paved the way for the quicker Viennese style. In America the Waltz tempo slowed to form a more smooth and graceful gliding dance with a gentle "rise and fall" motion. Today the Waltz persists as the oldest of ballroom dances and perhaps the best loved. The Waltz is unique in that it is the only ballroom dance written in 3/4 time. There are three beats to each measure, counted as "1-2-3" or "quick-quick-quick." Typically, there are three steps of equal duration per measure, with the Hesitation being the exception. The lead foot alternates with each measure (i.e., Left-2-3-Right-2-3). Because of this, Waltz combinations are usually written in a series of six steps.
One of the most distinguishing features of the Waltz is the 3/4 time signature that it is played in. This means that each measure has 3 beats rather than the more common 2 or 4. Waltz is counted 1-2-3 with a heavy accent on the 1. You can not dance other dances such as foxtrot, swing, or tango to waltz music because of this three beat grouping. Graceful turning moves are very characteristic of the Waltz.
Today, the Waltz is most commonly danced in the Viennese, country or ballroom style. Viennese originates from England and is danced mostly in competitions by more advanced dancers, while American Style is more suitable to beginners and those who want to dance Waltz socially. A beginner dancer should start with country or American style Waltz. Viennese Waltz is danced very fast and is characterized by an almost nonstop turning and is one of the most difficult forms of Waltz to learn. Country and ballroom styles of Waltz are very similar, with the country style danced at a slightly faster pace and incorporating more moves in open and side-by-side positions. Ballroom Waltz can be divided into American and International Styles. International Style as LRL (left-right-left) and the second as RLR (right-left-right), for a total of six steps.