Waltz Introduction

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3 beats/measure, 28-35 measures/minute

The origins of the Waltz go back hundreds of years. The rhythm came to Vienna in the early 1800s, and the Viennese Waltz was first exhibited in America in 1834 in Boston. Especially at the beginning of the 20th century the slower Modern Waltz, danced at about half the original tempo, developed along with the Viennese Waltz. The Modern Waltz is smoother, less frantic, and more varied. We turn left, then right. We dance forward and back, we pause, and we can spend a measure or more developing this or that “picture” figure. Perhaps the most consistent feature of today’s waltz is the pronounced, controlled, wave-like rise and fall as we progress around the floor.

The Waltz is a smooth dance, such as the Foxtrot, Tango and Two Step that travels in a circular pattern counter clockwise around the dance floor.  Waltz is denoted using ¾ timing and uses, normally, a count of 1, 2, 3.  Usually a dancer will step on each count of the music.  The first beat of each measure is a heavily accented “downbeat.” The music then rises to a crescendo through upbeats 2 and 3. At the end of beat 3, the music falls again. The dancer feels this swelling and contracting in each measure. We rise and stretch with the music.

Credits: http://haroldsears.com, www.roundalab.org