First Encounter: Viennese Waltz


Disclaimer: I do not own the video linked in this post.  I am simply trying to pass incredible music onward.

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johann2

The man with the awesome mustache was Johann Strauss II.  He was a well-known Austrian composer during the day when the original waltz was danced.  Of course, I am talking about the Viennese Waltz.  One of his most famous pieces is undoubtedly The Blue Danube.  I actually had a very early encounter with this piece.  In fact, one of my earliest memories is watching this classic cartoon.  I was probably only around six or seven years old then.  You know, until I looked up this cartoon again, I didn’t know that it also featured Tales from the Vienna Woods because I only remember watching the piece featuring The Blue Danube.  I’d like to encourage my readers to listen to both because they’re equally famous in my opinion.  However, if you want to go straight to The Blue Danube, skip the video to 3:57.  Ah, one simply cannot beat Strauss when it comes to the Viennese Waltz.  Shame on “Dancing with the Stars” for thinking they can get away with anything less!

I seem to have digressed.  This post is not about my love for waltz, as my stance on this dance has already been spouted too many times.  It’s actually going to serve as my notes as I just learned some bare basics today in group class.  You see, I can’t actually learn Viennese Waltz as a student until I’m Bronze III, and I only got to dance it today because it is a bonus dance for the upcoming Team Match.  That means anyone can do it if their teacher lets them.  Since I have no idea when I’m going to test out, I am writing all this down so I can practice at home.  I refuse to lose what little I know of such a beautiful dance merely because I am not yet a Bronze III student.

General Info

1) You want to constantly be turning your body to the left.  I have no idea why, but if I were to guess, I’m thinking shaping one’s body in that direction helps maintain a constant momentum.  Viennese Waltz is quite fast.

2) There is no rise and fall in Viennese Waltz because its speed makes it impossible.  Rather, there is what is known as “body rise”.  Hence, one should try one’s best not to rise on the balls of the feet.

3) Don’t straighten your legs because it hinders the speed of the dance.

4) Viennese Waltz has an “I-go-you-go” pattern to it.  This means that the man and the woman switch between active and passive roles as they dance.  When the dance begins, the man needs to make his way past the woman, but the woman should not take equally large steps as the man because she is currently in the passive role.  Then, it will be the woman’s turn to be the active partner.

Two Steps: The Left Cross and Right Turn

Left Cross

1) The woman starts on her right foot, like she usually does.  This step begins with what I can only describe as half a box with a quarter turn to the left.  That means the woman steps back with her right foot then moves her left foot so that she is now facing to the left of her previous position.  Finally, she closes her feet.

2) Next, the woman steps forward with her left.  In closed position, it is important to emphasize that she needs to step straight into the man.  Then there is another side step with the right foot.  Now, both feet should be on the same track.  By track I mean that they should be parallel with each other.  Think of a straight, black line.  Imagine putting both feet in the same direction on that line with both feet equally on that line.  Finally, her left foot crosses over her right.  Hence, the name of this step.

3) When dancing this step, there is a very important reason why the feet need to be on the same track.  If your feet aren’t on the same track, you’ll veer off in an unintended direction.

Right Turn

I don’t have any sequenced steps for this, um, step.  It’s just as its name implies.  You are always travelling right.  It begins with what is known as a bridge.  It’s a half box beginning with the right foot that is meant to free up the left foot.  There is no quarter turn in the bridge.  The woman uses her left foot to turn a quarter to the right.  The same goes with her right foot.  I’m guessing the number of times this she’s turned in this fashion is all up to who’s leading her.  To end the step, use a bridge.  Then, the man can go into the left cross if he wishes.

Phew!  I’m hoping I got everything down.  Viennese Waltz is beautiful, but it’s definitely one of the most precise and technical dances I’ve ever come across.  One of the teachers, Eddie, said it was like sprint.  As a former runner, let me be the first to tell you that running is more technical than it looks.  When sprinting, the runner has to use all the technique he or she has learned in a short amount of time for a short distance.  I couldn’t do all that, so that’s why I was a distance runner.  I still royally stunk at it, so I took up dance instead.  Well, that was one of the many reasons.  Ahem, I shall continue to practice until I can really start learning this dance.

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