Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum—
Waltz is among the oldest of the dance rhythms. It began among the
peasants of Europe at least as early as the 1500s. The waltz was the
first dance to use the closed position for any extended period of
time, and that, coupled with its “wild” turning and other
actions, kept it from the “gentry” for a long time. But by the
early 1800s, the dance had taken hold in Vienna and composers such as
Mozart and Josef and Johann Strauss made the “Waltzen” even more
popular. It was just too much fun to remain widely condemned. It
spread throughout Europe and was brought to English ballrooms around
1816. By 1825, the Waltz became known as the “Queen of the
Ballroom”. In America, the Waltz was first exhibited in Boston in
1834. Later the tempo was slowed and the dance evolved with more
elaborate figures fitting the slower tempo.
waltz is done to music that has three beats in each measure. It is
the “Oom pah pah” or “1, 2, 3” rhythm. It
characteristically is danced with “rise and fall” where generally
you lower on step one, begin to rise on step two, rise to full height
by the middle of step three and begin lowering by the end of step
three. The waltz is a “smooth, flowing, graceful, and traveling”
dance, and thus the couple will move quite a ways around the dance
floor. The waltz is the only rhythm in Round Dancing that has
defined figures in all six phases.
A Few Figures --
LEFT & RIGHT – Don’t “pop” up and down.
common error is to rise too quickly and lower too quickly instead of
doing so smoothly in a flowing manner.
WALTZ – Step diagonally side on step 2.
simply go forward three steps. Take a long low forward step, then
start to rise while stepping diagonally on two, and finally close on
CHASSE – Syncopate the 2nd and 3rd steps.
in semi-closed position (SCP) and end in either banjo (BJO) or SCP;
the cuer should tell you which. In either case, the first step is
with the trail foot (man’s right and lady’s left) coming through
in SCP and taking weight. Then you do the chasse (side/close, side).
According to Roundalab the timing for Foxtrot is SQ&Q
(slow,,quick/and, quick;) and the timing for Waltz is 1,2&,3.
However, you can make this figure more elegant by rushing the side
close and for a moment “hover” before taking the last step. The
timing thus becomes Sa, Sa in Foxtrot and 1,a2, 3 in Waltz. This
hovering action adds a nice feel to what would otherwise be a routine
sideways movement. It also helps to emphasize the rise and fall
within the figure especially for Waltz.
CHECK – Don’t turn much.
in closed position or SCAR with the trail foot free. In 3 steps
(back, side, cross in front checking), end in contra BJO (use
contra-body movement). Don’t turn more than about 1/8 LF turn.
POINT – Spring forward then lower and point trail foot to side.
Look toward trail foot.
is only one weight change. The difficulty is to do this spring
action quickly and still keep close to partner.
TO PROMENADE – Man doesn’t turn.
in BJO, then step forward, brush, step forward (lady turn) to SCP.
Tim Eum originally prepared these Tips for Calls 'n' Cues, (WASCA); reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, March and April 2011.