This is a form of Bavarian folk dance that became famous in the European countries, sometime in the 18th Century. It is known as the ‘backbone’ of all modern ballroom dancing and hence is a very well known form of dance all over the globe. Unlike other forms of active dance like the jive, it is a continual dance pattern that makes you move across the floor. The highlights of the Waltz are the sudden turning and posture of the figure, which is totally graceful and eloquent. Much of the waltz music and tunes come from melodies created by the peasants. The word ‘Waltz’ is derived from the German word called ‘Walzen’ which literally means to glide, turn or roll. Which is exactly what you do when you Waltz. It was always a very important part of the political scenario and balls held by famous people like Napoleon Bonaparte. Initially it was not seen as a respectable dance, but later through the years it gained popularity as an ‘artistic’ dance.
Initially it was a fast paced and exciting form dance which required a lot of stamina. And to add to that even the footwork was so methodical that you had to learn it. So people who didn’t know the steps were advised against dancing it. The original dance would contain only turns or a change in the steps but today’s International version is different. For example, the side sways and underarm turns are all a part of the new age waltz. The ‘slow’ waltz that the English know, is still actually a new version of the active dance that still forms a part of France or Germany. And I must say, is not slow at all. From the dance that it was over 200 years ago, the waltz is finally a slow paced dance, that literally ‘sweeps you off your feet’.
It is not at all difficult to learn and is quite easy in fact. It has a simple and rhythmic pattern which blends with the music. The movements are smooth. Initially, the first Waltz consisted of a step forward or maybe backward, a step to your side and lastly, a step to bring your feet together. It is about perfect timing between all three steps and the rhythm of the music playing. Later on, it developed into a slower style, which was known as the ‘Boston waltz’. And today we have the International or American version, which is even slower and danced with much hesitation. Just one step to three beats. The slower the pace gets, the more you relish it.
Think about the waves when you are about to start. It is similar to them in the movements of sway, rise and fall. Every step you take should be smooth as silk and confident like a cat. For beginners, you have to be smooth in your movements and not at all abrupt and intense. It is a romantic rendezvous, and is symbolic of love with its long sweeping movements across the floor. It must be graceful and gradual, and that is when you get it right. You should never make any sudden movements or drops. But ensure that you start at the toe and very gently drop slow and steady to the heel. Your body should be movable, as a waltz demands that you snake across the floor, and never dance in a straight line.
Grace, beauty and pride. Even in a dance competition, the judges tend to look at the poise and lift of the head. The waltz is symbolic of all that is beautiful. In the time that it became famous in Boston as a ballroom dance, it was slated as being a dance for the rich and famous, polished and perfect. It is such a combination of music and dance that it is really one of the most outstanding dance. A perfect blend of art that leaves you feeling light and elevated.
The outfit is definitely a part of the whole make up. The exquisite formal gowns or the crisp tuxedos are all a very crucial part of the Waltz scenario. You can never dream of being in casuals and Waltz. The two do not suit each other. It is a formal affair and best done in the right kind of attire. Do you know you must have the appropriate shoes too? Yes. Women normally opt for stilettos as they get a lot of balance and sway because it is high. Never ever wear flats. You just won’t be able to flow. Men on the other hand, stay away from rubber soles. Nowadays you do get special ‘dancing’ shoes which are Teflon coated. This is necessary as the right amount of friction between shoes and floor is what gives you a lift. The below links should help you get more information on the same.
We all know that music is an extension of our soul. And combined with the Waltz, it becomes an extension of our personalities, and what we really are. You need the right kind of music to get that ‘feel’. Waltz is truly enjoyed with the right kind of ‘beat’. Opt for the music that makes you feel free and light, when you dance the Waltz. A good combination of both could actually make you feel as if you are flying. Famous musicians like Fred Astaire and Johann Strauss are people whose music makes you dance the waltz.
Finally, it is only by practice that you can become a great ‘Waltzer’. Have a few parties, or just feel free to dance at home. But the more you keep at it, the more refined will be your steps and movements. Just ‘fly away’ and don’t let anything stop you. Set yourself free from all inhibitions and let the music take control. You need to just imagine you are flying, and that is exactly what a Waltz can do to you, mentally. Dance away to the feel of the wind, my friend……………..