Viennese Waltz

The music has 3 beats to the bar and about 60 bars per minute. Count 1, 2, 3 to a bar for most step groups or figures.

The couple should remain facing in close hold throughout. It is not possible to achieve the necessary speed or amount of turn without a very close hold. The basic Viennese Waltz is actually relatively simple but rather fast for absolute beginners. Most steps are inline. All figures are FP and CH unless stated otherwise.

In general the first step (beat 1 of each bar) is forwards on the heel first or backwards on the toe first. The supporting knee is bent slightly to take the step before straightening to push off. The other steps are on the balls of the feet. This rise is subtle not extreme and should come naturally from the need to turn the steps.

Straight Changes

This is straight line waltzing used to change from reverse to natural turns and vice versa. Dance one step to each beat of the bar - two steps forwards or backwards and one to close. Advanced dancers will use only 1 changes to switch turning direction and will be able to use forwards or backwards changes. Beginners may find it easier to use 3 changes and many men also seem unable to use backwards changes. The changes may curve slightly (LF and RB to the left, RF and LB to the right) to complete a turn and prepare for the next.

Left Forwards Change Right Forwards Change
Beat 1 2 3 1 2 3
Man LF RF LC RF LF RC
Lady RB LB RC LB RB LC

Right Backwards Change Left Backwards Change
Beat 1 2 3 1 2 3
Man RB LB RC LB RB LC
Lady LF RF LC RF LF RC

Natural and Reverse Turns

The couple must make 4 rotation (half way round) on each bar of these turns. The first step is forwards or backwards and contributes only a small amount of turn. It is very important that the second step be a long step after a forwards step and a short step after a backwards step. This is because most of the turn is accomplished on this step and the person going forwards is on the outside of the turning circle. The last step is a close (or a lock for the advanced form of reverse turn).

Natural Turn Forwards Natural Turn Backwards
Beat 1 2 3 1 2 3
Man RFX+1 LFSB+3 RC LBX+1 RBSF+3 LC
Lady LBX+1 RBSF+3 LC RFX+1 LFSB+3 RC

Reverse Turn Forwards Reverse Turn Backwards
Beat 1 2 3 1 2 3
Man LFX-1 RFSB-3 LC RBX-1 LBSF-3 RC
Lady RBX-1 LBSF-3 RC LFX-1 RFSB-3 LC

Adv. Reverse Turn Forwards Adv. Reverse Turn Backwards
Beat 1 2 3 1 2 3
Man LFX-1 RFSB-3 LkF RBX-1 LBSF-3 RC
Lady RBX-1 LBSF-3 RC LFX-1 RFSB-3 LkF

Since the line-of-dance is anticlockwise, it is easier to take corners with natural turns (making less rotation). Most dancers will only use reverse turns along the long sides of a room and use natural turns along the short sides and round the corners.

Fleckerls

Fleckerls are very difficult. A full turn is made over each bar. The Natural Fleckerl follows a complete Natural Turn (ie man facing LOD) and the Reverse Fleckerl follows a complete Reverse Turn.

For the Natural Fleckerl, the man steps between the feet of the lady on his right. He swivels on the ball of this foot and only uses his left with half weight to push the turn around (starts in front and ends behind). At the end of the swivel, the left foot gets dragged in behind the right (like a spiral in Rumba). Then he dances a twist turn beginning with a left side step (slightly forwards). He crosses his right foot behind and untwists (L heel and R toe) before stepping slightly to the left side again. The lady dances the twist turn first. Then she dances the swivel but with more weight on her left foot so that the right foot locks in front of the left at the end

Natural Fleckerl (man swivels) Natural Fleckerl (man twists)
Beat 1 2 3 1 2 3
Man RFX+1 LFSB+6 pt ... LkB+1 br LFS+1 RkB+1 +5 LFS+1
Lady LFS+1 RkB+1 +5 LFS+1 RFX+1 LFSB+6 ... RkF+1

For the Reverse Fleckerl, the man merely turns his left foot out rather than taking a proper step. He steps across and forwards on the right and swivels on the ball to end as a backwards step. The left foot is locked loosely in front of the right to complete the turn. Then he dances a twist turn beginning with a right side step (slightly back). The left foot is crossed behind the right and used to untwist (R heel and L toe) to a closed position with weight on the right foot. The lady dances the twist turn first and then the swivel.

Reverse Fleckerl (man swivels) Reverse Fleckerl (man twists)
Beat 1 2 3 1 2 3
Man LC/S-1 RFSB-6 LkF-1 RFSB-2 LkB-1 -5 RC
Lady RFSB-2 LkB-1 -5 RC LC/S-1 RFSB-6 LkF-1

Contra Check

A Contra Check is used to change from Reverse to Natural Fleckerls. The man steps forwards, rocks back and pivots on a back step to face the other way. The lady steps back, rocks forwards and pivots on a forwards step.

Contra Check
Beat 1 2 3
Man LDF-1 RB+1 LDBX+4
Lady RDB-1 LF+1 RDFX+4

Hesitations

Hesitation figures disrupt the flow of Viennese Waltz and should only be used when necessary - for example in crowded ballrooms.

Forward Hesitations are alternatives to the normal forwards changes used to switch between natural and reverse turns. The man's right foot forward hesitation comes after a natural turn and before a reverse turn. The left foot forward hesitation comes after a reverse turn and before a natural turn.

Left Forward Hesitation Right Forward Hesitation
Beat 1 2, 3 1 2, 3
Man LF RC br RF LC br
Lady RB LC br LB RC br

Backward Hesitations would be used when a turn has been interrupted. They can include up to a quarter turn to realign the couple for the next figure. For example, to recover from an underturned natural turn ready for another natural turn:

Natural Turn Forwards L Backward Hesitation R Backward Hesitation L Forward Hesitation
Beat 1 2 3 1 2, 3 1 2, 3 1 2, 3
Man RFX+1 LFS+2 RC LB RC br RBX-1 LC-1 br LF RC br
Lady LBX+1 RBS+2 LC RF LC br LFX-1 RC-1 br RB LC br

Reverse Lilt

The Reverse Lilt is another way of using hesitations. This time a pair of them separate Reverse Turn figures when progress is temporarily blocked. The figure may turn slightly to the left if necessary.

LF Hesitation RB Hesitation
Beat 1 2, 3 1 2, 3
Man LF RkB br RB LC br
Lady RB LC br LF RkB br

Cross Swivel and Closed Wing

The Cross Swivel may be used between Reverse and Natural Turns - especially at a corner. However, with the Closed Wing it can separate Reverse Turns along a side. It begins after an underturned Reverse Turn.

Cross Swivel (FP-ORP) Closed Wing (ORP-FP-OLP)
Beat 1 2, 3 1 2 3
Man LFX-1 RC-1 br RF LC br
Lady RBX-1 LC-1 br LB RS LF


© Susan Foord (sf@pedag.org) 2010-06-28
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