Learn About the
An American Smooth Dance
(International Standard Dance)
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The Waltz is considered the "Mother" of all Ballroom Dances and has changed very little in over 100 years.  The earliest version of the Waltz was a group dance, with a very fast tempo.  The Waltz was introduced in the United States during the mid-1800's, but was not considered a dance for the cultured until the early 1900's.  Today it is not only a popular social dance, but is a tradition at weddings, anniversaries, and other special events.  The Waltz is the number one dance used by a new bride and groom.  There are new waltzes being introduced on the music scene and there are still the old favorites.  The ¾ rhythm is the musical signature that makes it unique and easy to hear. 

Through the years, three separate Waltzes have emerged; the Viennese Waltz or the fast Waltz, the medium tempo Waltz, and the Slow Waltz.  The medium speed is used most often as a social tempo because it is the easiest to control with untrained muscles.  The Viennese Waltz is both an American and International style dance.  The Slow Waltz is used more for advanced dancers and is the International style.  International Style “Standard” dances use very precise alignments to create softer more efficient movement around the line of dance and are not as easy to control in a social setting.


Dreamlike, smooth, graceful and flowing, with sustained smoothness.

1. Box Steps, Walks, and Chasses

Progression around L.O.D.., using diagonals for efficiency


Rise and Fall with sustained smoothness

4. Upward and forward poise and carriage
5. Use of CBM, body sway and rotations
6. led foot actions that create the graceful movement


Forward Steps - 1Counts:
                      HEEL /TOE  (HT)

Backward Steps - 1 Counts:

1.  Followed by another back step are
                 TOE/HEEL  (TH)

2.  Followed by a side step are  
                TOE/HEEL/TOE   (THT)

 2 Counts:   TOE   (T)
3 Counts:  TOE/HEEL  (TH)

Note 1.  Most steps between the "1" beat and the "3" beat are always toes, unless using a rotation, like a Impetus Turn, Pivots, etc.

 Note 2. The heel on the last step of a component generally does not lower until commencing the next step.


American:  28 - 32 MPM
International:  28 - 30

Count:  3/4

Basic Waltz patterns uses counts of 3, 6 or 12 beats for most variations

1   2   3,   1   2   3

There are numerous counts that can be utilized to create advance elements.  The more advanced dancer use more "&" counts and syncopates steps.  The use of "picture steps" allows holding actions to create more flavor to the dance.  Picture Steps may use a sustaining of counts over multiple measures.


Chasses utilize syncopations" - example:
1   2   &   3     or      1   &   2   3


NOTE:  Rise and Fall-
Commence to rise at the end of "1", continue to rise on "2" & "3", lower at the end of "3".   The use of foot rise is also an important characteristic of the Waltz.  Advanced counts may add "and":

1  and  2  and  3  and

This content is intended as general information and should not be used in lieu of an actual dance class to learn the aforementioned dance.

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