Waltz Dance Steps for BeginnersTracing its origins to a German peasant dance, Waltz dance steps are symbolic of elegance and lightness of movement as couples turn around the ballroom. This ballroom dance form is an elegant fast paced, whirling dance where the partners hold each other as if in a romantic embrace. This raised more than a few eyebrows of “polite” society.
The rise in popularity of the Viennese Waltz, like the standard waltz, can at least in part be contributed to the music of Johann Strauss and to Vienna’s famous ballrooms. As with the standard waltz the music can be either vocal or instrumental and can be classical, country, or even rock.
The Viennese Waltz is a faster paced dance than the standard waltz which also makes it somewhat more challenging to do. Like the standard waltz the Viennese Waltz incorporates a simple, elegant rotation and swinging movements, though there should be no foot rise on the inner turns. The Viennese Waltz also requires a good deal of stamina, the equivalent, actually of the amount of energy that would be needed to dance a polka.
The waltz is danced to a triple beat. It’s popular throughout Europe and the United States, especially at formal social events. Here are a few moderately easy steps to have you waltzing on the dance floor.
Basic Waltz Dance Steps
- Step 1 : Get into position by facing your partner. If you are the leader, place your right hand on your partner’s waist slightly around the back and extend your left hand to your side with your elbow bent and your palm raised, facing her. With that hand, grasp your partner’s right hand in a loose grip, and make sure your partner has her left hand on your right shoulder, with her elbow bent. She should mirror your movements.
- Step 2 : On the first beat, step forward gracefully with your left foot. Your partner should follow your lead by doing the opposite of what you do on each beat – in this case, stepping back with her right foot.
- Step 3 : On the second beat, step forward and to the right with your right foot. Trace an upside-down letter L in the air with your foot as you do this.
- Step 4 : Shift your weight to your right foot. Keep your left foot stationary.
- Step 5 : On the third beat, slide your left foot over to your right and stand with your feet together.
- Step 6 : On the fourth beat, step back with your right foot.
- Step 7 : On the fifth beat, step back and to the left with your left foot, this time tracing a backward L. Shift your weight to your left foot.
- Step 8 : On the final beat, slide your right foot toward your left until your feet are together; now you’re ready to start over with your left foot.
Waltz Dance Steps Video
In this sample lesson, Jaimee and Mark describe and demonstrate how to do the basic progressive for the Waltz as well as introduce you to various dancing movements. This is part of a full lesson on Learn and Master Ballroom Dance. Buy Learn & Master Ballroom Dance:
Waltz dance steps for Leader & Follower
[AMERICAN STYLE, BRONZE FIGURES ]
Leader always starts with the left foot. Follower starts with the right.
Follower generally does natural opposite of leader’s footwork.
Verbal Cue for Basic Step (Leader): Forward, side, together, back, side, together Count for Basic Step: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
|Box||1-6||Leader: step forward left, side right, together left; step back right, side left, together right. Think about bend-and-send before stepping forward or back.
Follower does natural opposite.
|Box with Lady’s Underarm Turn (Walkaround Turn)||1-12||Leader does box. On 4, leader lifts left hand and follower steps forward. She walks forward in a circle 5,6,1,2,3 to her right. Close up on 4,5,6 (2nd half of box).|
|Left Turning Box||1-6||Box turning left|
|Balance Steps||1-6 |
|Leader: Forward L, brush; back R, brush.
Leader: Side L, brush; side R, brush. Sway to inside.
Leader: Side L, rock (in 5th foot position), replace; side R, rock (in 5th foot position), replace. Sway and open slightly to inside.
|Simple Twinkle||1-6||Leader: forward, side, close, opening to promenade position. Forward and across (R foot), side, close, back to closed position.
Follower: back, side, close, opening to promenade position. Forward and across (L foot), side, close, back to closed position.
|Progressive||1-3||Continuous half-boxes (forward, side, together). Side steps are actually on a slight diagonal forward. Used to travel forward around the dance floor or transition between left and right turning boxes.|
|3/8 Turn Combo||1-6 |
|Left turning box (man starts facing diagonal center)
Progressive (man now facing diagonal wall)
Right turning box
Progressive (man now facing diagonal center)
NOTE: Progressives and first 3 of each box turn are on the diagonal; only the 1st step of the 2nd half of each box turn is straight down LOD
These waltz dance steps are not meant for reading— they’re meant for doing!
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