How to Waltz

Try it! It's good for you!

First Things First
Basic Pattern
Picky Reminders
Progressive Movement
Left Box Turn




First Things First


Ok, you have to start off by getting a partner. Next you will need some music; check out the pages on Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin for ideas and samples. Get a feel for the beat; there are three beats to a measure, and the waltz is felt as "1 ,2,3,1 ,2,3."

The waltz is danced in Closed Position; an elegant and poised dance position. The man should put his right hand just below the woman's left shoulder blade and hold his arm out at a 90 degree angle to his body. His left arm should be raised at about the woman's eye level and she should rest her right hand lightly in his left. The woman can then place her left hand on the man's right shoulder and you two are set to go!

First Things First
Basic Pattern
Picky Reminders
Progressive Movement
Left Box Turn



Basic Pattern


Basically, the basic waltz is danced in a box, with the man and the woman doing opposite moves. For example, when the woman steps back with her left foot the man steps forward with his right. Here's how it goes:


Count Woman's part Man's part
1 right foot back left foot forward
2 left foot side right foot side
3 right foot close left foot close
4 left foot forward right foot back
5 right foot side left foot side
6 left foot close right foot close

And for you visual learners:


picture of dance steps

First Things First
Basic Pattern
Picky Reminders
Progressive Movement
Left Box Turn



Picky Reminders


Now that you can do the basic waltz, polish your act by making sure you are doing the following things:

1. You and your partner should not be directly facing each other; you should be offset by about 1/2 a body with your right foot inbetween your partner's feet.

2. Men, your right arm is your partner's main support. Make sure it is pointed at a 90 degree angle away from your body and your hand is cupped under your partner's shoulder blade.

3. The woman's right hand should rest in the man's left hand between his thumb and forefinger. These hands should not really do anything - all leading is done through the man's right hand.

4. Both partners should keep thier shoulders, wrists, and elbows firm - NO SPAGHETTI ARMS! The body can not be limp for the waltz.

5. The best place to look is over your partner's right shoulder - you can converse but still keep an eye out for potential collisions.

First Things First
Basic Pattern
Picky Reminders
Progressive Movement
Left Box Turn




Progressive Movement


So if the basic waltz is getting a little easy for you, you can try adding in tricky, new moves. You can use progressive movement to move around the dance floor and just do something a little different. Here's how:

Count Woman's part Man's part
1 right foot backwards left foot forward
2 left foot side right foot side
3 right foot close left foot close
4 left foot backward right foot forward
5 right foot side left foot side
6 left foot close right foot close

And the diagram:


First Things First
Basic Pattern
Picky Reminders
Progressive Movement
Left Box Turn



Left Box Turn


And finally, for those that are really good, here's the left box turn, another move to add into your waltz. This one's kinda tricky, so good luck! Start in closed position and give it a shot.

Count Woman's part Man's part
1 With your right foot step backward

and1/4 turn to the left.

Step forward with your left foot and

turn it 1/4 turn to the left, stepping

inbetween thewoman's feet.

2 left foot side right foot side
3 right foot close left foot close
4 With your left foot, step forward and

turn 1/4 turn to the left, stepping

inbetween your partner's feet.

/TD>
With your right foot step backward

and turn 1/4 turn.

5 right foot side left foot side
6 left foot close right foot close

To complete the box turn repeat steps 1-6 and you should end up in the same position you began in. Here's the visual:





By pivoting your feet as well as turning them, turning will be much easier and more graceful.
Now you can mix-and-match your moves and have some fun! If this confusing diagram wasn't enough for you, the students of AP English 2005 have made a nice little video for you. Keep an eye out for the buccaneer! He's tricky.

First Things First
Basic Pattern
Picky Reminders
Progressive Movement
Left Box Turn



This page was created by Betsy Kerns, 1999
Video created and edited by Annie Kleinert, Nick Dennis, Ben Kimitch, Michelle Messer, and Matt Kraft, June 2005.

Chiefly Nick and Annie.

References:
McKee, Amy and Tom KcKee. Learn to Ballroom Dance Online at Dancetv.com. 1997. Online. Internet. 26 March 1999. Available. http://www.dancetv.com/index.html

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