Sunday, January 31, 2021

Dance Style: Waltz

by Deborah Joy Block, National Wedding Dance Expert

The German "Landler", a folk dance, is supposed to be the forerunner of the Waltz. During the 18th Century, a dance developed, which was called the walzen, German for to roll, turn or glide. The Walzen was met with outraged indignation by the older generation when first introduced into the ballrooms of the world in the early 19th century because it was the first dance where the couple danced in a modified closed position-with the man's hand around the waist of the girl. Regardless, the Waltz became popular through many parts of Germany and Austria. The Waltz was given a tremendous boost around 1830 by two great Austrian composers - Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss: they set the standard for the Viennese waltz (a very fast version of the Waltz).

The first time the waltz was danced in the United States was in Boston in 1834 by Lorenzo Papanti. The Boston, a more sedate form of the fast Viennese Waltz, danced at a leisurely 90 beats per minute. It evolved in America around 1870 and by the 1920s had slowed down even more to ¾ time with strong accent on the first beat and a basic pattern of step-step-close. This slower version of the Waltz retained the characteristic traveling and turning figures while allowing for more figures and a dip. It is popularly know n as the "traditional American wedding dance" and is often used for Father/Daughter and Mother/So n dances. Its characteristic lilt using undulating rise and fall technique and shoulder sways gives the dance an oceanic or floating quality.

Song examples of Waltzes:

"Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog
"Fascination" by Nat King Cole
"If You Don't Know Me by Now" Simply Red
"Play Me" by Neil Diamond
"Moon River" Breakfast at Tiffany's Soundtrack
"Open Arms" by Journey
"Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof"
"Come Away With Me" Norah Jones

Waltz Song Suggestion List 

Waltz Video 

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