A beautiful young, woman enters the ballroom. Though her countenance exudes dignity and grace, her face radiates with a resplendent smile. The dress she wears only adds to her beauty. It flows airily with her movement, as if it is an extension of her physical body. By her side, is a young man. The state of their relationship is ambiguous. Are they lovers, dance partners, friends, friendly acquaintances? Whatever the case may be, the two get along well enough to dance well together. The music begins, a waltz. The young man escorts his partner to the floor, and they begin to dance. Their dancing is magnificent, almost as if the two are one dancer. Whether they’re in love or not is irrelevant. The energy they emit from their dancing says otherwise, as the average spectator is drawn to the couple. “How in love they are!,” thinks the spectator.
Whenever I hear the word waltz, I always envision a scene similar to the one above. Call it the helpless romantic in me. The waltz is my favorite dance because of that romanticism. The sassy and sexy Latin dances may be visually steamier, but Smooth dances like the waltz have a beautiful intimacy all their own. Smooth dances force you to go stomach-to-stomach with your dance partner because you have to literally become one unit physically for optimum momentum. This, I believe, is where the intimacy, applies. You really have to trust your dance partner to do ,this, and I confess it took me a while to truly get comfortable with it. As the follower you are on the guy’s right side. When he moves forward, his leg often goes between the follower’s. Again, the prospect can be possibly uncomfortable. In this situation, keep in mind that it is just dancing. But I digress. This post is dedicated to the waltz. I know very little about this dance factually. Here’s what I do know:
- The waltz is one of the oldest dances. I’m not precisely sure how old it is.
- The waltz is mostly in ¾ time. Musically this means that there are three beats in the measure and the quarter notes get that beat. You count it “1-2-3”. For the American Waltz, the two is emphasized because the couple rises on it.
- The original waltz was the Viennese Waltz. Its tempo is faster than the American Waltz, but it follows the same rhythm as its slower counterpart.
Aside from those four things, the rest of my information comes from the Wikipedia article, which you can find here. It seems that the earliest references to the waltz date to the 16th century. Its origins are folk and were danced by the rural peasants. The dance was refined for high society later. In the 17th century, the Viennese court danced the waltz in a two-measure beat, which later became three-quarter time. A particularly famous composer, Strauss, liked to speed up the dance, with a full bar measuring sixty or seventy beats. One of my favorite facts is that this dance was considered improper, probably due to the closed position the couple had to take. There are styles of waltzes besides the Viennese and American. Vernon and Irene Castle, who are largely responsible for popularizing ballroom dance in the US, danced a “Hesitation waltz”. There is also the Country-Western waltz, which I’ve never done. It is described as “mostly progressive” with posture “bordering on a slouch” (I had to giggle as I read that one.). The most interesting fact, personally, is the difference between International and American Waltz. The former never breaks or “opens up”, while the latter does.
I dance American Waltz, which often involves figures outside of frame, but that’s what I love about it. I feel like I can really show off my ballet training and just act like a princess. I feel beautiful when I waltz, like an ethereal maiden. It’s hard to describe. Hmm, I’ll put it like this: I don’t really feel beautiful often. That being said, I don’t feel ugly often either. I’m just, well, me. The waltz is one of the few times where I actually feel stunning and attractive, like I could really catch the eye of some handsome gentleman. It’s one of my biggest dancing fantasies to be apart of some Viennese Ball or something, where you waltz all night long. Something like this looks tremendously fun! Of course, that means I have to find a willing partner that’s able to dance like this. It would be even better if he was in tails! *swoon* But, seeing the scarcity of men my age that are willing to dance, let alone waltz, I won’t be picky. 😉 As long as he is kind and capable of dancing a lovely waltz. Until then, I’ll happily look forward to future waltzes with my male teachers at the studio. I make that distinction not because I dislike dancing with my female teachers. Dancing with them is fun, and I love it. However, nothing beats dancing with a man. There can be such strength in a waltz, but there’s incredible gentleness in the leading of the woman, too. This balance is beautiful.
P.S.: My next post should be on Sunday. It’s going to be full of pictures, but that’s all I’m going to tell you because I don’t want to spoil it. See you next time!