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Free waltz lessons & introduction!

Dating back about 300 years and popular all over the world, the waltz is the "backbone" dance of the ballroom. With its easy-to-hear 1-2-3, 1-2-3 rhythm pattern and simple box step foundation pattern, it's also easy to learn.

Free Video Instruction
An Introduction to the Waltz

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Waltz Learning Area


A Description of the Waltz

The basic movement is a three-step sequence that consists of a step forward or backward, a step to the side, and then a step to close the feet together. The timing is the same for all steps, and the timing can be called out as Quick, Quick, Quick, or, using numbers, as 1,2,3. Waltz music is written in 3/4 time, and waltz music is recognized by listening for the three-beat-per-measure rhythm pattern. The music and the step timing may be counted 1,2,3; 1,2,3. The first beat of each measure is accented and this corresponds to the aggressive driving step that is taken on count one. Unlike jive and swing, the waltz is a progressive dance that moves around the dance floor following a line of dance. Progressive figures, turning figures, and poses are characteristic of the dance.
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Character of the Waltz

The movement of waltz is characterized by the use of Sway, Rise, and Fall. The rising and falling actions should be very smooth. Among advanced dancers, the basic step drives aggressively and is reaching in nature. A nice step is a smooth, confident, reaching step.

In proper character the waltz should be soft, gentle, and romantic. With long sweeping movements, turning figures, and stylish poses, the Waltz is a dance that commands attention.

How would you like to be dancing the waltz like this in just 10 minutes? Using the basic box step, you can get started dancing the waltz very quickly. You should be able to learn this pattern in less than 10 minutes.
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Waltz Music

The three-quarter time signature of waltz has a distinctive 1-2-3; 1-2-3 feel and rhythm pattern. Great waltz music can be found in most music genres, including rock, country, pop, and classical. Beginners should start with a tempo of 90-100 beats per minute.

Click on the link below for many examples of Waltz songs and great CD's which which contain a lot of Waltz music.

Waltz Music Examples >>
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History of the Waltz

The waltz originated as a 17th century Bavarian country folk dance before it found its way into European ballrooms in the early 1800’s.
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Tips & Info

Almost all beginners make these mistakes:

  • Dipping or falling on the "one" beat so that their waltz has sudden "dropout" on this beat.
    Some folks call this a "pogo" look and this is the most frequent mistake. Waltz needs to have a very smooth, gradual rise and gradual fall. The process of falling should occur mostly on the second part of the "three" beat. The step on the three beat starts on the toe, continues to the lowering of the heel, and continues further into compression. Dance contest judges often look at the top of the Gentleman's head, looking for the sinusoidal, smooth rise and fall action.
  • Trying to dance waltz in a continuous line like a two step might be danced, with the lady traveling continuously backwards.
    Waltz should not be danced continuously in a straight line like two step. Instead, learn a basic routine that might consist of 1) a natural (or right) turn, 2) a change step (a closed change), 3) a reverse turn (a turn to the left), and 4) a change step. Then repeat this over and over. Dance waltz steps when dancing a waltz. Waltz generally travels in serpentines and angles, not just in a straight, "streamline" down the floor.
  • Rushing the beat.
    Waltz is slow. Hover on the second beat of the measure. Most people think that steps or weight changes must be completed by the corresponding beat of the music. This is incorrect. Good dancers dance about ½ beat behind the music. That is, they are “split weight,” and moving onto the step at the moment of the beat rather than already being completely there.

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