The Viennese waltz was born in the suburbs of Vienna and in the alpine region of Austria in the 1700’s. The waltz was originally a folk dance, danced by peasants in Austria and Bavaria. Many of the familiar waltz tunes can be traced back to simple peasant yodeling melodies. The word, waltz comes from the old German word “walzen” which means to roll, turn, or to glide.
Viennese Waltz is fast, our advice is to not attempt to dance the Viennese Waltz until you learn the footwork.
Here are some “universal tips” for learning how to dance a partner dance such as polka.
- First, acquire a few audio CD’s of the music and play the music over and over in your home or car. Next, count the step timing in time to the music. This you can do sitting down, perhaps while driving. For example, for waltz, call out the 1,2,3 1,2,3 step timing in time to the music. For foxtrot, call out the step timing using slows and quicks. For cha cha and rumba, it’s important to recognize the first beat of each measure. Otherwise you may dance on the incorrect beat. If necessary, have your instructor assist you in learning to count the step in time to the music. Dancing in correct time to the music is absolutely essential. Continue this “sitting down and listening” exercise for as long as necessary until you can easily and automatically count the step in time to the music.
- Next, practice the basic step, including the step timing, until the step is automatic – like tying a shoe. Using east coast swing as an example, practice the triple step, triple step, rock step basic until it’s automatic. Next, practice this basic to music until it becomes automatic. Many basic steps can be practiced without a partner.
At this point, your brain is “freed up” to allow learning steps and patterns because you no longer have to concentrate on timing and step counting.
Many folks get frustrated if they can’t dance competently immediately. Certainly individuals vary in dance aptitude, but all dancers must go through the awkward stages before they get to the polished stage.