The waltz is one of the favourite ballroom dances of all time. Whether celebrating a wedding or starting a new relationship at a romantic dancing evening. The waltz remains the only dance along with rumba , which is linked with romance. It is always filled with life’s happier moments.
When searching for the origins of the waltz,one can discover a dance that has adapted in a remarkable way to the change over the course of it’s history, a history that has spaned two centuries. The dance that was born to simbolize romance started life towards the end of the 18th century as an german folk dance called “landler”. This was danced, men and women dancing together as partners. Then in the early years of the 19th century, the waltz took the controversial step of adopting a hold in which the man’s right hand was placed around the lady’s waist. Since then this great dance continued to survive it’s highs and lows until the russian great, alexander, gave the dance the royal approval when he was observed openly dancing and enjoying the waltz in public. The enormous popularity of the viennese waltzes composed and played by the strauss family in the later part of the 19th century ensured that, by the century’s end, the waltz had reached the pinnacle of popularity.
By the time of the first world war, a new generation of dancers was looking for a more natural, less stylized way of dancing the waltz. A revolution in the waltz had started to take place and the dancers employed a closer hold, dance hip to hip and at a more liesurely pace. This new influence on the waltz was adopted from a dance called “boston”, although the boston had virtually disappeared by the outbreak of the war. In 1914 the popularity for the foxtrot spread from america allover europe, overshadowing the waltz, which was still continued to have germanic associations.
By 1920s, the waltz was all but nearly extinct. By then a group of dance teachers got together for a conference in london to discuss the pressing issues of the day including the decline in popularity of the waltz during the war. At this conference they realised a lack of standard techniques in the waltz and thereafter standard techniques were added in the waltz including “walk side-close” technique danced today called modern waltz. The modern waltz is sometimes known as the english waltz as those fundamental devolopments took place in england. With it’s newer and more natural feel, the dance soon re-established itself as one of the most popular and best loved social dances in the international modern ballroom style.
Based on the techniques introduced during 1920s and through the 1930s, the waltz has continued to develope through the 20th century giving rise to a great variety of graceful figures and combinations for the enjoyment of those who dance it. I hope you are now about to become one of them.