Saturday, March 23rd, The Spinning Jenny will be hosting another dance class. This time the featured dance is the Waltz.
The Waltz is a classic form of ballroom dancing featured in many period piece movies such as Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Gone with the Wind. It’s even featured in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
We’ve compiled a few facts about the Waltz to get you ready for the class.
Origins: Although the Waltz is most easily associated with large Viennese ballrooms, according to dancefacts.net, its roots date back to 13th century where it was danced by German peasants. This early version of the Waltz wasn’t marked by the formal, controlled, and regal movements typically associated with ballroom dancing. The original folk form of the Waltz was more spontaneous and reckless.
Music: Each style of dance tends to have its own form of music. Dancefact.net notes that the compositions of Johann Strauss and Franz Lanner set the bar for Waltz music and helped to cement the Waltz as a common dance in ballrooms all over Europe, eventually making its way across the pond to America.
The Waltz is typically danced to music written in a 3/4 time signature. That means that each bar of music gets three beats, and the emphasis is usually on the first beat of each bar, so you would count a Waltz like this: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. This gives the Waltz its familiar, characteristic rhythm.
Costumes: If you like to dress up, then the Waltz is the prefect dance for you. Freddie Brock notes that men’s dress has historically been formal but plain. It was the women who were the center of attention at the ball. In the 1700’s, Brock says that a lady’s gown would be “ornate in design with many layers of clothing and hoop skirts.” Brock notes that by the end of the 17th century, the hoop skirted gowns had been replaced by a bustles and sashes. By the 19th century, Brock says the gowns featured “expansive skirts with tiny waistlines.”
Modern ballroom dance costumes continue to evolve with changing fashion trends. Brock says that in the 1950’s “women wore very formal gowns that swept the floor for a dramatic look.” Pantsuits had a brief appearance in the 1970’s but were soon replaced by the more formal evening dress.
No matter what the fashion trend, the Waltz is a great dance for men to dress dapper and ladies to take center stage with a beautiful, elegant gown.
If you’re new to dancing, don’t be intimidated. The time signature of the Waltz makes this form of dance perfect for beginners. New dancers don’t need to learn complicated forms or overly athletic movements. If you can count to three, you can learn to Waltz.
Come over to The Spinning Jenny on Saturday, March 23rd and learn to Waltz. If you don’t have a dance partner, don’t let that stop you. You can pair up with someone at the class. Just be ready to learn and have fun. The fee is $15.00. Lessons begin at 7:15, and the dance goes from 8:00 to 10:30. Cary Beth West will be your instructor, and music will be provided by Sonny Coren.