Viennese Waltz

Couple Waltzing
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

The Viennese Waltz is the classic, original Waltz often featured in old films. The elegance and charm of the Viennese Waltz remind us of glamorous balls in the palaces of Europe. A waltzing couple rotates around the floor, revolving gracefully around each other. The Viennese Waltz is a quick, rotating dance, much faster-paced than the classic, slow Waltz. This simplified social version is a beautiful, non-strenuous dance that dancers of all abilities can enjoy.

Viennese Waltz Characteristics

The Viennese Waltz is characterized by sweeping turns that move gracefully around the floor. This dance is known for its simple and elegant rotational movement.

Viennese Waltz History

The Waltz developed in Central Europe, originating from the Austrian folk dance known as the "Landler." The dance arrived in Vienna during the 1800s, then became popular throughout Europe and America. The music of Johann Strauss helped to popularize the faster, elegant Viennese Waltz.

Viennese Waltz Action

The principal action of the Viennese Waltz is the sweeping turns that move gracefully around the floor. The rise and fall action is abrupt and shallow, and the steps are small and compact. Dancers exhibit graceful fluency, stamina, and timing as they rotate charmingly around the dance floor.

Viennese Waltz Distinctive Steps

The simple moves of the Viennese Waltz are comprised of one gentle swing action to each bar of music.

The dance has a delightful, lilting feel. The following steps are distinctive to the Viennese Waltz:

  • Basic Natural Lilt Step
  • Basic Reverse Lilt Step
  • Stationary Lilt Step

Viennese Waltz Rhythm and Music

Viennese Waltz music belongs to the music genre that accompanied the fast Waltzes of the Romantic era in Vienna.

The music is usually written in 6/8 time with a fast tempo of about 180 beats per minute. Almost always instrumental, Viennese Waltz music is written for orchestras of various sizes. Dancers today enjoy many different styles of Waltz music, many of which are not Viennese. The Vienesse Waltz can be danced to music that is instrumental, vocal, classical, Celtic, country, or popular Top 40 hits.