Encyclopedia of Dance: Viennese Waltz


The light and romantic Viennese waltz has long been a hallmark of proms and weddings. Years go by, fashion changes, but this dance is not afraid of time

The unusually beautiful, graceful and elegant Viennese waltz has firmly entered our lives. Not a single solemn event is complete without this charming dance. Now it is difficult to imagine that the Viennese waltz had a difficult fate. It was banned, considered vulgar. The time of its execution was strictly regulated. But nothing could stop the victorious procession of the Viennese waltz, and over time it becomes more and more popular.

History of occurrence dance

Although the waltz is called Viennese, its birth is connected with Germany. The first three-part dance appeared in the 12-13th century, and it was called «volta». Later, in Germany, another dance with a musical time of 3/4, «Waltzen», gained popularity. From these two dances, the Viennese waltz known to us originated. Initially, the waltz was danced much more slowly. The dance acquired its current form only in the 19th century, when Johann Strauss brought his imperishable musical works to the public. Thanks to this Austrian composer, who made the Viennese waltz famous, this dance bears its name.

The dances that preceded the Viennese waltz were of a very chaste nature. The partner had to be at a respectful distance from the partner, and they touched each other only with their fingertips. The waltz, in which a man is very close to a woman and hugs her, made a splash in secular society. Respectable ladies and gentlemen considered the dance indecent, vulgar, but the youth greeted it with joy.

After the victory over Napoleon, in Vienna, in 1815, a congress of allies was held. Representatives of many countries celebrated the victory at the balls, selflessly dancing a new delightful dance. It was then that the waltz acquired a clear rhythm, accentuated on the first beat of the measure. Returning to their homeland, the congress participants brought with them a new romantic dance, which, despite the resistance of secular society, quickly became fashionable. The triumphal procession of the waltz was already unstoppable.

What is a Viennese Waltz?

The Viennese waltz is a type of waltz. Together with the slow waltz, this dance is included in the European ballroom dance program. Among other types of waltz, this variety is distinguished by a faster tempo and a more pronounced emphasis on the first beat of the bar. However, despite the fast pace, the Viennese waltz is characterized by smooth performance, grace, which is not hindered by rapid whirling and turns.

viennese waltz

All ballroom dancing championships must include the Viennese waltz in the program. Compulsory figures are performed at the competitions:

  • natural and reverse turns
  • reverse and natural flackers
  • back and forth changes
  • check from reverse to natural fleckerl

Since the number of compulsory figures is small, the emphasis of the competitors is shifting to the skill and artistry of their performance. To achieve maximum perfection in the performance of the waltz, the dancers work out the technique of lifting and lowering, head work, swaying, and foot work. A large role in the standard ballroom dance program is given to the setting of the body and hands, the interaction of partners.

Kinds dance

A variation of the Viennese waltz can be a figured waltz, but it is not included in the program of ballroom dancing competitions. A figured waltz is a concert number built according to the laws of dramaturgy — with exposition, climax and denouement. Figure waltz can have a plot.

Features of the Viennese Waltz

In ballroom dance competitions, the European version of the waltz must be performed, others are not allowed. The man’s first step should be directed between the lady’s feet, and not to the side, as in this way more perfection in the execution of the turn can be achieved. The difference between the dance steps of a man and a woman should be one measure: at the time when the partner takes the first step, the partner is already preparing to turn, and when the partner dances the second measure, the partner dances the third, etc.

Since the waltz is a dance that everyone dances. Strict requirements for the performance of the dance are appropriate only in relation to professional dancers. For the bulk of the dancers, it is enough to catch the musical rhythm and master the basic movements. But, of course, if everyone takes at least a few lessons of the Viennese waltz, the performance of this dance will bring incomparable pleasure to both the audience and the dancers.

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