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The Waltz is the oldest of ballroom dances and never goes out of style.

The Waltz was originally born in Austria and Bavaria as a folk dance, danced by the peasants with a very fast paced tempo, during the 17th century.  The popularity of the Waltz grew in England and was really pushed into mainstream ballroom.  This can be credited to composers Johann Strauss and Franz Lanner with there faced paced compositions much like the Vienesse Waltz today.  The Waltz was originally criticized by the English church and state because it was regarded as vulgar based on moral grounds.  This was due to the very close nature in which couples danced.  Of course this denouncement only grew the popularity of the dance.  In fact Queen Victoria loved the Waltz and was an excellent dancer.

In the mid 1800's the Waltz was introduced to the US, more specifically Boston and became known as the "Boston" until the end of WWI at which time the "Hesitation Waltz" was developed.  Through out the 19th century composers slowed the tempo of the Waltz to what we know today as the Modern Waltz.
 

Timing
Music = 3/4 Timing
Rhythm* = Q, Q, Q (quick, quick, quick)
Counts = 1,2,3 - 1,2,3 (strong accent on the one)


*Remember every Slow equals two Quicks; every quick counts as 1 count.
 
Music
The Waltz is the only ballroom dance with 3/4 timing, that's 3 beats per measure.  The counts are 1,2,3-1,2,3 with the emphasis on the 1 as the down beat.  Waltz is typically danced to slow ballads and instrumental music lacking in percussion and drums.

Examples:
Commodores- "Three Times a Lady"
Whitney Houston - "You Light Up My Life"
Elvis Presley - "Are You Lonesome Tonight", "Unchained Melody"
The Eagles - "Take it To the Limit"
Andy Williams - "Moon River"
 

Styling 
The Waltz is a graceful, gliding dance characterized by its "rise and fall" motion.  As all Smoothe dances the Waltz is a traveling dance moving and rotating counter clockwise ("Line of Dance").  Forward steps should be taken with a heel lead and side steps should be led with the ball of your foot.  The "rise and fall" motion is executed with the knees by falling down on the forward step and rising up on the side step.  So the timing would be down, up, up or 1,2,3 .  However, the upper body and chest should always be open, projected upwards with shoulders back, never closed or hunched inward.

For the Waltz think of beautiful, long, full flowing ball gowns and men in tails.  Partners should display continuous motion across the dance floor with long extensions.
 

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