The Viennese Waltz, also known in German as the Wiener Walzer, is quite different from other forms of waltz. It is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either toward the leader’s right (natural) or toward the leader’s left (reverse), interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese Waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in a properly danced Viennese Waltz couples do not pass but turn continuously left and right while travelling counterclockwise around the floor following each other.
In 1799 the Waltzen is performed by dancers who held on to their long gowns to prevent them from dragging or being stepped on. The dancers would lift their dresses and hold them high like cloaks and this would bring both their bodies under one cover. The dancers’ bodies were very close together and this closeness was a moral dilemma.
A pamphlet was published in 1797 against the dance entitled Proof that Waltzing is the Main Source of Weakness of the Body and Mind of our Generation. Regardless, the Viennese Waltz became very popular in Vienna. Large dance halls like the Zum Sperl in 1807 and the Apollo in 1808 were opened to provide space for thousands of dancers. The dance reached and spread to England sometime before 1812. It was introduced as the German Waltz and became a huge hit. It gained ground due to the Congress of Vienna at the beginning of the 19th century and the famous compositions by Josef Lanner, Johann Strauss I and his son, Johann Strauss II.
Today the Viennese Waltz is a ballroom and partner dance that is part of the International Standard division of contemporary ballroom dance. Many of the Viennese Waltzes that I like were written by Johann Strauss II especially The Blue Danube (made popular in the movie 2001), Tales From the Vienna Woods, and the Emperor Waltz.
Our next first Thursday of the month dinner/dance evening will take place on July 2 at SaddleBrooke One in the Vistas Dining Room with the adjacent Vermilion Room dance floor beginning at 5:30 pm. Please come join us then as well as the weekly open dances/practices on Sunday afternoons (4:00 to 5:30 p.m.) at MountainView Ballroom and Wednesday afternoons (4:00 to 5:30 p.m.) at the Vermilion Room. If you didn’t make any of our five dinner/dances this last dance season, then plan to come out when we start up the new dance season with our first party on November 14, 2015.
You are invited to visit our Facebook page that we share with Let’s Dance (just type Let’s Dance in the search box on Facebook). Please feel free to share your own favorite dance story by writing me at [email protected]