The waltz, which evolved from a German folk dance, is danced to a triple beat. It's popular throughout Europe and the United States, especially at formal social events. Here are a few moderately easy steps to have you waltzing on the dance floor.
In the 19th and early 20th century, numerous different waltz forms existed, including versions performed in 2/4 or 6/8 (sauteuse), and 5/4 time (5/4 waltz, half and half)
In the 1910s, a form called the "Hesitation Waltz" was introduced by Vernon and Irene Castle It incorporated Hesitations and was danced to fast music. A Hesitation is basically a halt on the standing foot during the full waltz measure, with the moving foot suspended in the air or slowly dragged. Similar figures (Hesitation Change, Drag Hesitation, and Cross Hesitation) are incorporated in the International Standard Waltz Syllabus
The Country Western Waltz is 99% progressive, moving counter clock wise around the dance floor. Both the posture and frame are relaxed, with posture bordering on a slouch. The exaggerated hand and arm gestures of some ballroom styles are not part of this style. Couples may frequently dance in the Promenade position, depending on local preferences. Within country western waltz there are the Spanish Waltz and the more modern (for the late 1930s- early 1950s) Pursuit Waltz. At one time it was considered ill treatment for a man to make the woman walk backwards in some locations.
- In contemporary ballroom dance, the fast versions of the waltz are called Viennese Waltz.
International Standard Waltz has only closed figures; that is, the couple never breaks the embrace.
- The American Style Waltz, in contrast to the International Standard Waltz, involves breaking contact almost entirely in some figures. For example, the Syncopated Side-by-Side with Spin includes a free spin for both partners. Open rolls are another good example of an open dance figure, in which the follower alternates between the lead's left and right sides, with the lead's left or right arm (alone) providing the lead. Waltzes were the staple of many American musicals and films, including "Waltz in Swing Time" sung by Fred Astaire.
- The Cross Step Waltz is a newer style of waltz where the first step is a cross-step into the line of direction. This was popularized in classes at Stanford University and allows for a much richer assortment of variations.
- The Scandinavian Waltz. Performed as a part of Scandinavian folk dance, this can be fast or slow, but the dancers are always rotating.
- The Peruvian Waltz (Called and recognized in Peru as vals criollo).
- The Curaçaon waltz. The first composer to write Curaçaon waltzes was Jan Gerard Palm (1831–1906). Like the Strauss family in Austria, the Palm family composed numerous of popular Curaçaon waltzes. Well known composers of Curaçaon waltzes of the Palm family are Jan Gerard Palm (1831–1906), Jacobo Palm (1887–1982), Rudolph Palm (1880–1950), John Palm (1885–1925), Albert Palm (1903–1957), Edgar Palm (1905–1998) and Robert Rojer (1939). Besides the Palm family, Curaçao born composers such as Joseph Sickman Corsen, Chris Ulder, Jacobo Conrad and Wim Statius Muller are well known for their typical Curaçao waltzes.
- The Mexican Waltz (vals mexicano) follows the same basic rhythmic pattern as the standard waltz, but the melodies reflect a strong Spanish influence. Mexico's Juventino Rosas wrote "Sobre las Olas" or "Over the Waves", commonly known in the U.S. as a circus song played during a trapeze show.
- The Cajun Waltz is danced progressively around the floor, and is characterized by the subtle swaying of the hips and step very close to ordinary walking. It is danced entirely in the closed position.
- Tango vals allows the dancers to dance one, two, three, or no steps to any three beats of waltz music, and to vary the number of steps per bar throughout the song.
- The Venezuelan waltz
- The Contra Waltz (Freeform Waltz), included in most contra dance evenings, uses both open and closed positions, and incorporates moves from other dances such as swing, modern jive and salsa. Basically the dancers progress around the dance floor with a waltz step, but with no constraints on what moves they can use.
Get into position by facing your partner. If you are the leader, place your right hand on your partner's waist slightly around the back and extend your left hand to your side with your elbow bent and your palm raised, facing her. With that hand, grasp your partner's right hand in a loose grip, and make sure your partner has her left hand on your right shoulder, with her elbow bent. She should mirror your movements.
On the first beat, step forward gracefully with your left foot. Your partner should follow your lead by doing the opposite of what you do on each beat - in this case, stepping back with her right foot.
On the second beat, step forward and to the right with your right foot. Trace an upside-down letter L in the air with your foot as you do this.
Shift your weight to your right foot. Keep your left foot stationary.
On the third beat, slide your left foot over to your right and stand with your feet together.
On the fourth beat, step back with your right foot.
On the fifth beat, step back and to the left with your left foot, this time tracing a backward L. Shift your weight to your left foot.
On the final beat, slide your right foot toward your left until your feet are together; now you're ready to start over with your left foot.
Repeat steps 2 through 8 turning your and your partner's orientation slowly to the left by slightly varying the placement of your feet.
Learn To Dance Waltz Volume 1: A complete Beginner's Guide To Dancing The Waltz
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