The Waltz is a popular social dance and is the dance many beginners of ballroom dancing would usually want to learn first and which most ballroom dance instructors would start teaching to beginners anyway. The Waltz had its origins in the 18th century Austrian folk dance known as the Landler and which had evolved into the Modern Waltz as we know it today. In 1921, a conference of dance teachers was held in London, England to discuss issues affecting the Waltz which had seen a decline in popularity then. At this conference the standard "walk-side-close" technique was adopted. Because these fundamental developments of the Waltz took place in England, the Standard Waltz is sometimes also known as the English Waltz.
The time signature for the Waltz is 3/4, meaning there are three beats in a bar of music. The first beat is accented and the tempo is normally played at 30 bars a minute. Each step of the Basic Waltz equals one beat of music. The basic rhythm is counted as 1, 2, 3 and corresponds with the "walk-side-close" movements of the Basic Waltz. The Waltz is characterized by a rise and fall action of the dance. Rise and fall is the elevation and lowering which the dancer feels as he or she moves onto the toes of a foot and then relaxes through the knee, ankle and toes to end on a flat foot. The rise must be gradual and felt throughout the dance; the full extent of the rise being reached when the feet are closed on the third step.
When dancing the Waltz, it should be remembered that the first step is the strong step, meaning your whole weight should be on that foot, whether it is the right or left. Some dance teachers even mention that when dancing the first step you should feel as if you are pressing down onto the dance floor with all your strength. The first step should not be too big because if you take too big a first step you will have difficulty doing a wide second step. The closing of the feet on the third step must be controlled by keeping the inside edge of the toe on the closing foot pressed gently to the floor. It should never be lifted and allowed to close quickly. The closing of the feet should be neat, with the feet placed together and in line with each other.
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