Waltz Dances

Beautiful Waltz Dancing

The Viennese Waltz

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Welcome to our section on the Viennese Waltz! We introduce the subject here and in later articles, will expand on how to get the most out of this beautiful dance.

Let’s start with a bit of history . . .

The Viennese Waltz is not a sequence dance, but an International Standard Ballroom style waltz that should be danced to faster music in 3/4 or 6/8 time, usually to 174-180 bars per minute. It is a very energetic dance – so much so that some social dance proprietors call it “the cardiac bracket”. It originates from the romantic period in Vienna, Austria – and many orchestral pieces have been composed specifically for it, including The Blue Danube and Tales From the Vienna Woods by Johann Strauss. These days, the Viennese Waltz is danced to a much wider range of modern music.

An Introduction to the Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz is one of those dances which is so simple in its concept, yet so difficult to get it working just right. It is simple in that it is comprised of only three moves – the reverse cross, the natural waltz and the ‘closed changes‘ whereby the change in rotation direction is achieved. The reverse cross is done with both partners turning to the left while in the natural waltz, they turn to the right. To change rotation direction, the man needs to signal the changeover to his partner. There are a couple of other variations which you can add, such as the “fleckles” but these are the three basic moves.

Well if the Viennese Waltz is that simple, why do we have Dancesport competitions which feature it? The answer lies in perfecting the technique, so that the dance flows and looks classy. It’s not as simple as it looks.

People dance the Viennese Waltz in different ways. Many social dancers are happy to just plod along, rotating almost on the spot without traveling along the dance floor very much, while others appear to be gliding effortlessly across the floor and covering great distances with sweeping steps.

So let’s begin by describing simply, how the Viennese Waltz is done.

1. Rotating to the Left (anti-clockwise)

This is done using the “reverse turn”. The man steps forward on his left and commences to turn to the left. He crosses over his partner (the Lady) by stepping to the side and around his partner to be backing the line of dance, at this point, he crosses his left foot over his right foot. He continues the movement by stepping back on his right foot while continuing to turn left. His left foot goes to the side as he completes another 1/2 turn to be facing the line of dance again but this time instead of crossing his feet, he brings them together.

Here is a Breakdown of the MAN’S Steps

STEP# COUNT DESCRIPTION NOTES
Begin Closed position, facing line of dance.
1 1 Left foot forward. Begin to turn to left. Facing line of dance.
2 2 Right foot side & slightly back. 1/4 turn to left between 1-2. Backing wall.
3 3 Left foot crosses in front of right foot. 1/4 turn to left between 2-3. Backing line of dance.
4 4 Right foot back & slightly to side. Begin to turn to left. Backing line of dance.
5 5 Left foot side. 1/2 turn to left between 4-5, body turns less. Pointing line of dance.
6 6 Right foot closes to left foot. Body completes turn. End facing line of dance.

Here is a Breakdown of the LADY’S Steps

STEP# COUNT DESCRIPTION NOTES
Begin Closed position, backing line of dance.
1 1 Right foot back and slightly to side. Begin to turn to left. Backing line of dance.
2 2 Left foot side. 1/2 turn to left between 4-5, body turns less. Pointing line of dance.
3 3 Right foot closes to left foot. Body completes turn. End facing line of dance.
4 4 Left foot forward. Begin to turn to left. Facing line of dance.
5 5 Right foot side & slightly back. 1/4 turn to left between 1-2. Backing wall.
6 6 Left foot crosses in front of right foot. 1/4 turn to left between 2-3. Backing line of dance.

 2. Rotating to the Right – The Natural Waltz

This part of the Viennese Waltz should be well known and familiar. It forms part of most dances that come under the classification “Waltz” (as opposed to foxtrot, military, three-step and blues where the rotary chasse waltz is used). The Natural Waltz consists of 6 steps, turning to the right while more emphasis being placed on progressing down the line of dance. Unlike the Reverse Turn above, there is no foot crossing action – only closes. Another contrast to the Reverse Turn, is that in this particular dance, the Natural Waltz begins with the man facing and the lady backing diagonal to centre.

Here is a Breakdown of the MAN’S Steps

STEP# COUNT DESCRIPTION NOTES
Begin Closed position, facing diagonal center.
1 1 Right foot forward. 1/8 turn to right between previous step and 1 to face line of dance.
2 2 Left foot side. 1/4 turn to right between 1-2.
3 3 Close right foot to left foot. 1/8 turn to right between 2-3 to back diagonal center.
4 4 Left foot back and slightly to side. 1/8 turn to right between 3-4 to back line of dance.
5 5 Right foot side. 3/8 turn to right between 4-5 (body turns less).
6 6 Close left foot to right foot. Body completes turn. End facing diagonal center.

Here is a Breakdown of the LADY’S Steps

STEP# COUNT DESCRIPTION NOTES
Begin Closed position, backing diagonal center.
1 1 Left foot back and slightly to side. 1/8 turn to right between previous step and 1 to back line of dance.
2 2 Right foot side. 3/8 turn to right between 1-2 (body turns less).
3 3 Close left foot to right foot. 1/8 turn to right between 2-3. Facing diagonal center.
4 4 Right foot forward. 1/8 turn to right between 3-4 to face line of dance.
5 5 Left foot side. 1/4 turn to right between 4-5.
6 6 Close right foot to left foot. 1/8 turn to right between 5-6. End backing diagonal center.

 

In further articles we will discuss some of the technique that is peculiar to the Viennese Waltz so that the dance flows smoothly and looks good.

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