Dancing Waltz

Waltz dancing 🕺 💃🏻 🎵

Waltz is a classical standard dance that can be performed as a couple, in a group, and as a ballroom dance. Waltz dancing has a centuries-old history that began in Austria and Central Europe. This long tradition coupled with easy to learn basic steps, make the Waltz a very popular and widespread dance, especially in Europe.

Table of Contents

History of origin

The beginnings of Waltz dancing can be dated to the Middle Ages, and the dance is mentioned by name for the first time in texts at the end of the 18th century. At the beginning, waltz was danced in very fast turns, whereby the turning (or rolling) gave the dance its name. During these fast turns, some of the women’s long dresses lifted up so that parts of their ankles could be seen. For this reason, the waltz was sometimes considered somewhat offensive.

Worldwide Spread

Since the waltz originated in Central Europe, Europe is also home to most of the dancers. However, one particular style in particular, the Viennese Waltz, is also very well known beyond the borders of the continent and especially in America. Thus, in this dance style there are subcategories called international and American style, the latter of which is logically danced mainly in the USA. Other countries, such as France, Hungary & Mexico have also developed their own form of waltz.


Just like the dance, there is also a form of music called waltz. This includes pieces of music in ¾ or ⅜ time and also has its beginnings in the late 18th century. This is classical music that uses full orchestras and especially string and wind instruments. Specifically as an accompaniment for dancing, there are so-called dance waltzes, which differ from concert waltzes, which are intended only for musical performances in front of an audience. 

Compared to other dances, waltz as a form of music has not developed particularly into the modern age, so that this music is still considered very classical today.

Dance styles

Waltz is often confused with Viennese Waltz. However, the latter is actually only one particular dance style, albeit by far the best known. Besides Viennese Waltz, however, there are other forms of Waltz, which differ mainly in the time signature, the closeness of the body and the dance posture.

Viennese Waltz

Even though the Viennese Waltz is only one form of dancing Waltz, it is known as a dance in its own right. It has its origins, hardly surprisingly, in Vienna and is a fast form of the waltz. The spinning movements are also performed very quickly. The Viennese Waltz is also a popular ballroom dance, is often danced at competitions and is regularly danced at opera balls.

Slow Waltz

The slow waltz is self-explanatory by its name and describes a slow and relaxed form of the waltz. Due to the leisurely execution, a wide variety of figures can be incorporated very well in this style.

3/4 Waltz

The ¾ Waltz is the normal and most widespread version of the Waltz.

5/4 Waltz

5/4 Waltzes are not so common. Here, two more steps are added to each of the three basic steps of the waltz, a so-called two-step.

8/4 Waltz

The 8/4 waltz is a combination of the ¾- and the 5/4 waltz. After the three basic steps, three more steps follow, which in turn are completed by the two-step from the 5/4 Waltz.

Tango Waltz

The Tango Waltz is Argentinian and a mixture of Tango and Waltz. This mixture is also called Vals and is basically a tango in ¾ time. This form of waltz is known and popular especially in Latin America.

Country-specific Waltz

Due to the ever-increasing spread of the waltz, more and more countries have developed their own dance style. Thus, in addition to the Viennese and Tango waltzes mentioned above, there is also the Musette (French waltz), la Chiapaneca (Mexican waltz), the Mazurka (Polish waltz), as well as the Stik and Hambo waltzes (Scandinavian waltzes). All these different forms have their country specific characteristics.

Description of Waltz dancing

The Waltz is a very calm and harmonious dance and is therefore especially popular at weddings. The woman has her left hand on the shoulder of the man, who in turn has his right hand on the woman’s hip. The woman’s right hand and the man’s left hand hold each other and are extended to the left side as seen from the man.

Basic Steps

The basic steps of the waltz are easy to learn. The man starts by taking a step straight forward with his right foot. Then he takes a diagonal step forward with his left foot and then drags his right foot sideways next to it. Then he makes these steps in reverse, i.e. the left foot straight backwards, the right foot diagonally backwards and the left foot again dragging. The woman takes these steps at the same time in exactly the opposite direction.

Further Steps

If the partners turn around their own axis step by step while dancing, the so-called right or left waltz is created. However, the upper part of the body does not rotate and the rotation is created only by a rotation of the feet.


The basic steps of the waltz can be supplemented with a variety of figures. Among the most famous are the so-called ladies solos. Here, the women turn once around their own axis, while the outstretched hands continue to hold on. Other figures allow various rotations of the couple, step sequences in one direction and changes of the tempo. The basic steps are usually changed only minimally, but this has a great effect in the final execution.

Worth mentioning about Waltz dancing

The term waltz comes from the verb walzen, which in its original form means metal processing in rolling mills. Rollers are cylinders that rotate around their own axis, and it is this rotation that gives the dance its name.

How do i learn to dance the waltz?

As with most dances, the same applies to the waltz: learning by doing. To learn to waltz, you should find a partner, learn the steps and, in the best case, attend a dance class.

How does the waltz work?

In the basic steps, the man starts by taking a step straight ahead with his right foot, then a diagonal step forward with his left foot, and then a step beside it with his right foot. Then he does these steps back in reverse, with the woman doing them at the same time in exactly the opposite way.

What types of waltz are there?

Besides the Viennese Waltz, there are many other dance styles with the slow waltz, the ¾ waltz, the 5/4 waltz and the 8/4 waltz. There are also some country-specific styles, such as the Tango Waltz in Argentina or the American Viennese Waltz in the USA.

How did the viennese waltz originate?

The Viennese Waltz originated in Austria at the end of the 18th century, based on medieval peasant dances.

Where does the slow waltz come from?

The slow waltz originated from the Viennese waltz and is a slow form of it. It has its origins in Boston and is therefore also called English Waltz.

To which songs can ypu dance waltz?

You can dance waltzes to many different pieces of music in ¾ or ⅜ time. However, dance waltzes composed especially for the dance are particularly suitable.

Which waltz is best for a wedding?

A classical form of the waltz, such as the Viennese waltz, is suitable for the wedding. This dance is very calm, relaxed, but still beautiful to look at.

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