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The Slow Waltz grew out of the Austrian/German Viennese Waltz, which in England until 1914, was danced only in the English High Society. With the outbreak of the First World War, the predominantly Austrian waltz orchestras had to leave - and they virtually took "their" Viennese Waltz with them. This had fatal consequences for the Viennese Waltz and it literally disappeared from the scene in England and in Germany. The Waltz was almost dead until 1929. Only in its origin, Austria, did it continue to bloom as a folk dance and survived in this form for many decades until it was revived

In the meantime its younger relative, the Slow Waltz, established itself. This dance is supposed to have developed from the "Boston", a dance which by 1912 had almost completely edged out the Vinnese Waltz. It would be more correct to say that both dances have the same origin. By the time the Slow Waltz arrived in the USA and in Boston, it had already adapted a great deal from its older brother. A new basic step was developed, with the characteristic open and closed change forwards and backwards of the Boston, with turns and hesitating steps. It took a few years before this new variant of waltzing became widely accepted. In England, the Foxtrot with its passing steps had just become in vogue. This tep also greatly influenced the Slow Waltz. From the original character of the Viennese Waltz there was hardly anything left

The Englis reformed and regularized almost everything danceable in 1921. At the "Great Conference," made up of several smaller conferences, the Waltz was on the agenda. At the third conference in October 1921 it was unanimously agreed that the Waltz was to be danced in closed pose. From now on, the closed change, the right turn, and the left turn were firmly extablished as the basic figures. Open changes wouldonly be accepted in exceptional cases. To counteract any mix-up between the Foxtrot and Slow Waltz, the passing changes were banned.

In 1926, the Boxton, still exiting in Germany at that time, was succeeded by the Modern Waltz. The second Great Conference in 1929 standardized the Modern Waltz iun its final form. The classical Viennese Waltz was completely ignored at the conference. At that time the dance was still called "the valse", as there was only one waltz for a "true Englishman".

The Waltz is characterized by its very gentle movements and its rhythmical swings from one peak to the next. This demands maximum concentration and a highly developed sense for musical harmonies. It has been a competition dance since 1929 and part of the World Dance Program since 1963.  


Waltz music has a 3/4 time signature, 30 BPM, and recurring even beats. However, there is a pronounced accent that occurs on the first beat of each measure. The basic count for Waltz is 1,2,3.


Progressive in a counter-clockwise direction, this dance uses a strong rise and fall action as well as swing and shaping.


MAN - Stand in a natural upright position with knees slightly flexed, body inclined forward from the feet braced at the waist with shoulders relaxed at normal level, and with no tension in the chest, body weight forward over the balls of feet with the feet flat

LADY - The poise as a lady will be the same as described for man, except that she would be poised backwards from the waist. This backward poise must not be exaggerated. Some dancers and teachers like to talk about the backward poise being created from the upper back rather than the lower back but it is definitely a point of contention.


MAN - Stand facing the lady as described above, with the lady very slightly to the man's right side. Hold the lady with the right hand, placing the hand just below her left shoulder blade with the fingers neatly grouped. The upper part of the r5ght arm should slope downwards from the shoulder to the elbow, then downwards from the elbow to the hand in a straight line.

The left hand will hold the lady's right hand between the thumb and first finger, the other fingers closed over the right side of her hand. The left wrist must not bend, there should be a straight unbroken line between the elbow and the hand. The palm of the hand facing diagonally to the floor., the upper part of the left arm should slope downwards slightly, the arm bent sharply at the elbow with the forearm slanting upwards from the elbow to the hand. The hand being held just above the height of the left ear,  the forearm inclined very slightly outwards from the body.

LADY - The left warm will be placed lightly on the man's right arm, the fingers of the left hand grouped neatly in the center of the arm just below the right shoulder (depending on the height of the partner).

The right arm will slope very slightly downwards from the shoulder to the elbow, then upwards from the elbow slanting forward towards man's left hand/ The fingers will fold lightly over the man's left hand between his thumb and first finger.,


Balance is the distribution of weight of the body over the feet. When taking a forward or backward walk there are three points of balance: forward, backward, and when the weight is equally distributed (middle of foot). When moving forward the center of gravity will start to travel from the heel, to the middle of the foot, then to the ball, and finally through the toes. When moving backwards the weight will start from the toes, to the ball, then to the middle of the foot, and finally through the heel. This is true if you are coming into a step and then going out if it. In other words, at standstill your weight should be over the middle of the foot.


This is the inclination of the body to the right or left from the ankles upwards. It is used to assist balance or turn, but mainly for effect.

The Principle of sway is to lean towards the inside of a circle. There will be no sway when using CBM, but the sway will be to the right after a RF CBM, and to the left after a LF CBM and is normally held for 2 steps following the CBM step (except step 3 of a Curved Feather).

Although it is normal to sway for two steps at a time, some figures have sway on one step only, such as, Telemarkds, Impetus and Open Imputeus Turn, Change of Direction, etc. In these cases the sway should not be overemphasized.

There are several figures where way is not used, such as Spins, Natural or Reverse Turn Pivots, Progressive Chasse to the Left or Right, Forward and Backward Lock Steps, Chasse from Promenade Position etc.

Sway can be used without actually making turn between the feet. For example a Whisk as a man, or when using a slight curve to the right or left in the body, as in a Feather Step and a Three Step.

The sway used in a Change of Direction or a Hover preceding a Hover Feather in Foxtrot and last part of a Natural Hesitation Change in Waltz, is not normal sway but is felt from the waist upwards and is sometimes referred to as broken sway.

Sway is most obvious in the Waltz due to the more pronounced rise and fall and the lilt of the dance.



Rise and Fall:

Rise is the increased elevation created by the bracing of the muscles of the legs, the straightening of the knees and the stretching upwards of the body, usually accompanied by the raising of the heel or heels from the floor.

Fall is the lowering of the supporting foot from the toe to heel and subsequent flexing of the knees , as the next step is taken.

No foot Rise - happens when the rise is felt through the legs and body as described above, but when stepping back no rise occurs in the supporting foot (as with the lady's part of a Feather and Three Step).

When a side step follows no foot rise, the supporting foot will be flat and when full weight is taken onto step 2, the heel of step 1 will be released from the floor (ex. 1-3 of a Natural Turn in Waltz or Quickstep as a lady).

When a step back is followed by another step back with no foot rise, the toe of the supporting foot is released from the floor so that when step 2 is taken pressure is felt in the heel of the front foot. A body rise will be felt when the weight is distributed between the heel of the front foot and the ball of the back foot, (ex. Feather Step or Hover Feather as a lady in the Foxtrot).

When no foot rise follows a step, the heel of the side step will lower (not the body) as the next step is taken to end up no foot rise (ex. Feather Finish as lady).

The body should be braced at all times, whether or not employing rise and fall.

In the Foxtrot, the normal rise and fall will be: Rise at the end of count 1, up on count 2 and 3, lower at the end of count 3 to denote a quicker type of rise.

Contra Body Movement (CBM) and Contra Body Movement Position (CBMP):

Contra Body Movement is a body action used to initiate turn. It is the moving of the opposite side of the body towards the stepping foot, either forward or backward. The action will be strongest on Natural and Reverse Turn Pivots. When stepping forward using CBM the toe will turn slightly out. When stepping back the toe will turn in.

Contra Body Movement Position is the placing of the stepping foot, forward or back, onto or across the line of the other foot, giving the appearance of CBM having been used, but without turning the body.

CBMP is used on all Outside Partner steps, except step 3 of a Fishtail, to ensure a good line and contact. CBM is also used on some Outside Partner steps.

CBMP can be used when in line with the partner (ex. step 3 of a Change of Direction and all normal LF forward steps in Tango.

"Forward and across" in CBMP means that the moving foot travels more across the line of the other foot. This applies to steps in Promenade Position only.

Promenade Position:

When the man's right and the lady's left sides are in contact with the opposite sides of the body turned out to form a slight V. The feet will normally match the turning out of the body.

Waltz Closed Syllabus


1. Closed Changes

2. Natural Turn

3. Reverse Turn

4. Natural Spin Turn

5. Whisk

6. Chasse from Promenade Position


1. Closed Impetus

2. Hesitation Change

3. Outside Change

4. Reverse Corte

5. Back Whisk

6. Basic Weave

7. Double Reverse Spin

8. Reverse Pivot

9. Back Lock

10. Progressive Chasse to R


1. Weave from Promenade Position

2. Closed Telemark

3. Open Telemark & Closed Hesitation

4. Open Telemark and Wing

5. Open Impetus and Cross Hesitation

3. Open Impetus and Wing

4. Outside Spin

5. Turning Lock


1. Left Whisk

2. Contra Check

3. Closed Wing

4. Turning Lock to R

4. Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot

5. Hover Corte


Silver Class Choreography

1. Natural Spin Turn (123, 456)

2. Turning Lock to PP (1&23)

3. Chasse from PP (1&23)

4. Hesitation Change (123, 456)

5. Open Telemark (123)

6. Wing (123)

7. Double Reverse Spin (12&3)

8. Progressive Chasse to the R (12&3)

9. Back Whisk (end of Long Side) (123)

10. Weave from PP to PP (123, 456)

11. Chasse from PP (12&3)

12. 1-3 Natural Turn (123)

13. Closed Impetus (End of Short Side) (123))

16. Reverse Pivot (&)

17. Double Reverse Spin (12&3)

18. Progressive Chasse to R (12&3)

19. Outside Change to PP (123)

20. Chasse from PP (12&3)

21. 1-3 Natural Turn (123)

22. Open Impetus (123)

23. Cross Hesitation (123)

24. Outside Spin (end of Long Side) (123)

25. 1-3 Natural Turn (123)

26. Open Impetus (123)

27. Chasse from PP (end of Short Side) (12&3)




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