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An early moving picture demonstrates the waltz
Genre Ballroom dance
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Detail from frontispiece to Thomas Wilson's Correct Method of German and French Waltzing (1816), showing nine positions of the Waltz, clockwise from the left (the musicians are at far left). At that time, the waltz was a relatively new dance in England, and the fact that it was a couples dance (as opposed to the traditional group dances), and that the gentleman clasped his arm around the lady's waist, gave it a dubious moral status in the eyes of some. Waltz1816 72.jpg
Detail from frontispiece to Thomas Wilson's Correct Method of German and French Waltzing (1816), showing nine positions of the Waltz, clockwise from the left (the musicians are at far left). At that time, the waltz was a relatively new dance in England, and the fact that it was a couples dance (as opposed to the traditional group dances), and that the gentleman clasped his arm around the lady's waist, gave it a dubious moral status in the eyes of some.

The waltz (from German Walzer [ˈvalt͡sɐ̯] ) is a ballroom and folk dance, normally in Loudspeaker.svg triple   time, performed primarily in closed position.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to the German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Ballroom dance a set of partner dances

Ballroom dance is a set of partner dances, which are enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world. Because of its performance and entertainment aspects, ballroom dance is also widely enjoyed on stage, film, and television.

Folk dance dances that were danced to traditional folk festivals and in traditional societies and are still been danced

A folk dance is developed by people that reflect the life of the people of a certain country or region. Not all ethnic dances are folk dances. For example, ritual dances or dances of ritual origin are not considered to be folk dances. Ritual dances are usually called "Religious dances" because of their purpose. The terms "ethnic" and "traditional" are used when it is required to emphasize the cultural roots of the dance. In this sense, nearly all folk dances are ethnic ones. If some dances, such as polka, cross ethnic boundaries and even cross the boundary between "folk" and "ballroom dance", ethnic differences are often considerable enough to mention.




There are many references to a sliding or gliding dance that would evolve into the waltz that date from 16th century Europe, including the representations of the printmaker Hans Sebald Beham. The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote of a dance he saw in 1580 in Augsburg, where the dancers held each other so closely that their faces touched. Kunz Haas (of approximately the same period) wrote, "Now they are dancing the godless Weller or Spinner." [1] "The vigorous peasant dancer, following an instinctive knowledge of the weight of fall, uses his surplus energy to press all his strength into the proper beat of the bar, thus intensifying his personal enjoyment in dancing." [1] The peasants of Bavaria, Tyrol, and Styria began dancing a dance called Walzer, a dance for couples, around 1750. The Ländler , also known as the Schleifer, a country dance in 3
time, was popular in Bohemia, Austria, and Bavaria, and spread from the countryside to the suburbs of the city. While the eighteenth century upper classes continued to dance the minuets (such as those by Mozart, Haydn and Handel), bored noblemen slipped away to the balls of their servants. [2]

Printmaking activity or occupation of making prints from plates or blocks

Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print produced is considered an "original" work of art, and is correctly referred to as an "impression", not a "copy". Often impressions vary considerably, whether intentionally or not. The images on most prints are created for that purpose, perhaps with a preparatory study such as a drawing. A print that copies another work of art, especially a painting, is known as a "reproductive print".

Sebald Beham German artist

Sebald Beham (1500–1550) was a German painter and printmaker, mainly known for his very small engravings. Born in Nuremberg, he spent the later part of his career in Frankfurt. He was one of the most important of the "Little Masters", the group of German artists making prints in the generation after Dürer.

Michel de Montaigne French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, statesman

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written.

In the 1771 German novel Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim by Sophie von La Roche, a high-minded character complains about the newly introduced waltz among aristocrats thus: "But when he put his arm around her, pressed her to his breast, cavorted with her in the shameless, indecent whirling-dance of the Germans and engaged in a familiarity that broke all the bounds of good breeding—then my silent misery turned into burning rage." [3]

Sophie von La Roche German novelist

Maria Sophie von La Roche was a German novelist. She is considered the first financially independent professional writer in Germany.

Describing life in Vienna (dated at either 1776 or 1786 [4] ), Don Curzio wrote, "The people were dancing mad ... The ladies of Vienna are particularly celebrated for their grace and movements of waltzing of which they never tire." There is a waltz in the second act finale of the 1786 opera Una Cosa Rara by Martin y Soler. Soler's waltz was marked andante con moto, or "at a walking pace with motion", but the flow of the dance was sped-up in Vienna leading to the Geschwindwalzer, and the Galloppwalzer. [5] [6]

In the transition from country to town, the hopping of the Ländler, a dance known as Langaus, became a sliding step, and gliding rotation replaced stamping rotation. [4]

In the 19th century, the word primarily indicated that the dance was a turning one; one would "waltz" in the polka to indicate rotating rather than going straight forward without turning.

The polka is originally a Bohemian dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. The polka remains a popular folk music genre in many European countries, and is performed by folk artists in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia and Finland, and to a lesser extent in Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Local varieties of this dance are also found in the other Nordic countries, Spain's Basque Country, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latin America, Canada and the United States.

The Viennese custom is to anticipate slightly the second beat of each bar, making it sound as if the third is late and creating a certain buoyancy. The younger Strauss (Johann Strauss II) would sometimes break up the one-two-three of the melody with a one-two pattern in the accompaniment along with other rhythms, maintaining the 3
time while causing the dancers to dance a two-step waltz. The metronome speed for a full bar varies between 60 and 70, with the waltzes of the first Strauss (Johann Strauss I) often played faster than those of his sons. [7]

Shocking many when it was first introduced, [8] the waltz became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s, spreading to many other countries in the years to follow. According to contemporary singer Michael Kelly, it reached England in 1791. [9] During the Napoleonic Wars, infantry soldiers of the King's German Legion introduced the dance to the people of Bexhill, Sussex from 1804. [10]

It became fashionable in Britain during the Regency period, having been made respectable by the endorsement of Dorothea Lieven, wife of the Russian ambassador. [11] Diarist Thomas Raikes later recounted that "No event ever produced so great a sensation in English society as the introduction of the waltz in 1813." [12] In the same year, a sardonic tribute to the dance by Lord Byron was anonymously published (written the previous autumn). [13] [14] Influential dance master and author of instruction manuals, Thomas Wilson published A Description of the Correct Method of Waltzing in 1816. [15] Almack's, the most exclusive club in London, permitted the waltz, though the entry in the Oxford English Dictionary shows that it was considered "riotous and indecent" as late as 1825. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall , by Anne Brontë, in a scene set in 1827, the local vicar Reverend Milward tolerates quadrilles and country dances but intervenes decisively when a waltz is called for, declaring "No, no, I don't allow that! Come, it's time to be going home." [16]

The waltz, especially its closed position, became the example for the creation of many other ballroom dances. Subsequently, new types of waltz have developed, including many folk and several ballroom dances.


Waltz [rhythm]. Waltz dance pattern.png
Waltz [rhythm].
Jazz waltz rhythm. Jazz waltz dance pattern.png
Jazz waltz rhythm.
The Waltz, by Camille Claudel (cast in 1905) La Valse.jpg
The Waltz , by Camille Claudel (cast in 1905)

In the 19th and early 20th century, numerous different waltz forms existed, including versions performed in 3
, 3
or 6
(sauteuse), and 5
time (5
waltz, half and half).

In the 1910s, a form called the "Hesitation Waltz" was introduced by Vernon and Irene Castle. [18] It incorporated "hesitations" and was danced to fast music. A hesitation is basically a halt on the standing foot during the full waltz bar, 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 mostly 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 is 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. [19]

In California the waltz was banned by Mission priests until after 1834 because of the "closed" dance position. [20] Thereafter a Spanish Waltz was danced. This Spanish Waltz was a combination of dancing around the room in closed position, and a "formation" dance of two couples facing each other and performing a sequence of steps. [20] "Valse a Trois Temps" was the "earliest" waltz step, and the Rye Waltz was favoured as a couple dance. [21]

Today both the faster Viennese Waltz, made forever popular by the Strauss family, and the slower American and International style waltzes are extremely popular with dancers of all ages.

Related Research Articles

Johann Strauss I Austrian Romantic composer

Johann Strauss I was an Austrian Romantic composer. He was famous for his waltzes, and he popularized them alongside Joseph Lanner, thereby setting the foundations for his sons to carry on his musical dynasty. He is perhaps best known for his composition of the Radetzky March.

Viennese waltz genre of ballroom dance

Viennese waltz is a genre of ballroom dance. At least four different meanings are recognized. In the historically first sense, the name may refer to several versions of the waltz, including the earliest waltzes done in ballroom dancing, danced to the music of Viennese waltz.

Ländler folk dance, prevalent in Southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia

The Ländler is a folk dance in 3
which was popular in Austria, Bavaria, German Switzerland, and Slovenia at the end of the 18th century.


A redowa is a dance of Czech origin with turning, leaping waltz steps that was most popular in Victorian era European ballrooms.

The schottische is a partnered country dance that apparently originated in Bohemia. It was popular in Victorian era ballrooms as a part of the Bohemian folk-dance craze and left its traces in folk music of countries such as Argentina, Finland ("jenkka"), France, Italy, Norway ("reinlender"), Portugal and Brazil, Spain (chotis), Sweden, Denmark ("schottis"), Mexico, and the United States, among other nations. The schottische is considered by The Oxford Companion to Music to be a kind of slower polka, with continental-European origin.

Round dance Wikimedia disambiguation page

Modern social round dance, or round dancing, is a choreographed and cued ballroom dance that progresses in a circular counter-clockwise pattern around the dance floor. The two major categories of ballroom dances found in round dancing are the smooth and international ballroom styles and the Latin dances. It is not to be confused with circle dancing, which is a type of folk dance in which dancers are connected in a circular chain.

This is a list of dance terms that are not names of dances or types of dances. See List of dances and List of dance style categories for those.

Josef Strauss Austrian composer

Josef Strauss was an Austrian composer.

The Closed Change is a Pre-Bronze, or newcomer Waltz figure, performed in closed position.

Man lebt nur einmal! is a waltz by Johann Strauss II written in 1855. The piece was marked as im Ländlerstyle which in other words means "in the same style as the Ländler", which is an Austrian folk dance. The title was a quotation from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's 1774 play Clavigo, but it raised a few eyebrows at that time as Vienna was just recovering from a disastrous cholera epidemic and many of the stricken populace may have been superstitious of such a title. Nonetheless, Strauss performed it at the Sperl Ballroom to great acclaim and this waltz has endured lasting appeal even in a simple string arrangement for a quintet consisting of two violins, one viola, one cello, and a double bass.

Austrian folk dance

Austrian folk dancing is mostly associated with Schuhplattler, Ländler, Polka or Waltz. However, there are other dances such as Zwiefacher, Kontratänze and Sprachinseltänze.

Sequence dance

Sequence dancing is a form of dance in which a preset pattern of movements is followed, usually to music which is also predetermined. Sequence dancing may include dances of many different styles. The term may include ballroom dances which move round the floor as well as line, square and circle dances.

A waltz, probably deriving from German Ländler, is dance music in triple meter, often written in 3
. A waltz typically sounds one chord per measure, and the accompaniment style particularly associated with the waltz is to play the root of the chord on the first beat, the upper notes on the second and third beats.

International standard waltz

Waltz is one of the five dances in the Standard category of the International Style ballroom dances. It was previously referred to as Slow Waltz or English Waltz.

Viennese Opera Ball in New York annual event that has been running since 1956

The Viennese Opera Ball is an annual charity gala held annually under the auspices of the United States-Austrian Chamber of Commerce. The Ball is organized by Board of Directors, under President Silvia Frieser and Artistic Director Daniel Serafin.

Canter rhythm

Canter time, canter timing or canter rhythm is a two-beat regular rhythmic pattern of a musical instrument or in dance steps within 3
music. The term is borrowed from the canter horse gait, which sounds three hoof beats followed by a pause, i.e., 3 accents in 4

Cross-step waltz

Cross-step waltz is a social ballroom dance in triple  time, performed primarily in closed position, to slower tempo waltz music. It is characterized by a "primary cross step" where the Lead role crosses the right foot over the left, as the Follow role crosses the left foot over the right, on the first count of the musical measure. Cross-step waltz can travel and rotate like traditional waltzes, while the dynamic of the cross-step facilitates a wide range of traveling variations.


Man and woman dancing a waltz by Eadweard Muybridge. 1887. Man and woman dancing a waltz (1887).gif
Man and woman dancing a waltz by Eadweard Muybridge. 1887.
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  2. Sir George Grove, John Alexander Fuller-Maitland, Adela Harriet Sophia (Bagot) Wodehouse. A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (A.D. 1450–1880) Published 1889. Macmillan
  3. The History of Lady Sophia Sternheim, trans. Christa Baguss Britt (State University of New York Press, 1991), p. 160.
  4. 1 2 Jacob, H.E. (2005). Johann Strauss: Father and Son a Century of Light Music. pp. 24–25. ISBN   1-4179-9311-1.
  5. Wechsberg. The Waltz Emperors. 1973. C. Tinling & Company. page 49, 50)
  6. Grove's Dictionary, page 385
  7. Wechsberg, pages 59–61
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  10. Sussex Weekly Advertiser, 21 January 1805
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  15. Fullerton, Susannah (2012). A dance with Jane Austen: how a novelist and her characters went to the ball (1st Frances Lincoln ed.). London, England: Frances Lincoln Ltd. pp. 110–111. ISBN   978-0-7112-3245-7.
  16. Penguin edition 1964, page 42
  17. 1 2 Blatter, Alfred (2007). Revisiting music theory: a guide to the practice. p. 28. ISBN   0-415-97440-2.
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  19. Shaw, Lloyd (1939). Cowboy Dances. The Caxton Printers. pp. 101–103.
  20. 1 2 Czarnoski, Lucile K (1950). Dances of Early California Days. Pacific Books. p. 44.
  21. Czarnoski, Lucile K (1950). Dances of Early California Days. Pacific Books. p. 121.
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