V is for Variety
Of all the social activities that we can get involved with, the one that has the most variety might well be social partner dancing! Foxtrot, slow foxtrot, waltz, vieneese waltz, quickstep, International tango, American Tango, paso doble, rumba, cha-cha, jive, bolero, country 2-step, night club 2-step, triple 2-step, west coast swing, east coast swing, jitterbug, lindy, shag, polka, hustle, Argentine tango, salsa, mambo and countless local variations. In most cities, partner social dancing can be found 6-7 nights a week. What a great exercise plan…each dance uses different muscles, burns an average of 300 calories/hour, it’s a great social activity, fun and social dancing has more variety of movements than any musical exercise routine!
Dance of the Day: Viennese Waltz
Viennese Waltz is the oldest of the modern ballroom dances and the scandalous. It was introduced in Europe in the late 1700s. In 1797, its scandalous nature (ladies held their gowns very high to avoid stepping on the hems which gave the appearance of cloaking or covering themselves and their partner from outside eyes!) became the subject matter of a pamphlet entitled “Proof that Waltzing is the Main Source of Weakness of the Body and Mind of our Generation” by Wolf! By Gosh! Based on that pamphlet, I say “Let’s DANCE!”
Anyway, Viennese Waltz is danced very fast (about 180 beats/minute) to music that is written in ¾ time such as the famous Strauss compositions. Originally Viennese Waltz patterns were entirely rotational using only a change step to switch from a left rotating turn to a right rotating turn. This structure has not changed much in the last 200 years, closing the distance between partners while in dance hold and adding only 4 additional patterns (Fleckerls, contra check, left whisk, and canter time pivots) to the International Standard Syllabus.
Today, while it is danced competitively as one of the International Standard ballroom dances, Viennese Waltz is not danced socially as often as it’s off spring the Waltz (danced much slower at about 90 beats/minute).