Used by Permission and adapted from the Dance Vision International Dance Association - American Style Smooth Bronze Manual (MASB01) 2006.
Waltz music online

Elegance in motion


Until the 1700's dance was either courtly or country. The courtly dances had little physical touch and emphasized form and lots of curtsies and bows.

The word Waltz comes from an Italian word that means to turn or revolve. It was the first dance to use Closed Dance Position and was denounced as scandalous and immoral.

Waltz was standardized with the essential patterns we know today and dominated the European and America dance scene until WW1. By the end of the war, Tango and Foxtrot had captured an new generation of dancers. 

Dance Characteristics:

Waltz is danced to slow music and is characterized by rise and fall and sway. The feet stay in contact with the floor creating a smooth gliding look. It has an elegant, graceful feel. The music can be romantic or melancholy.

Musical Information:

Time Signature: 3/4
Tempo: 90 to 96 beats per min (30 - 32 mpm)
Count: 1 - 2 - 3, 1 - 2 - 3
Beat Value: 1 - 1 - 1
Alternate Teaching Count: 1, 2, 3,  4, 5, 6
Counting in Beats and Bars: 123, 223, 323, 423, etc



Starting Forward: Heel Toe, Toe, Toe Heel
Starting Backward: Toe Heel, Toe, Toe Heel 

Starting Forward: Heel Toe, Toe, Toe, Toe Heel
Starting Backward: Toe Heel, Toe, Toe, Toe Heel

Technical Tips:

Rise should be smooth, gradual, and high onto the toes.  There is no foot rise on back steps on count 1, only the commencement of body rise.  Sway is initiated from the the swing of the hips, making sure not to break at the waist.  On forward walks, weight is taken on the moving foot, rolling from the back of the heel to the front of the foot, making contact with all parts of the foot.  Movement is initiated on count 1 from the standing leg to create powerful strides. 

Three of My Favorite Waltz Songs: 

Could I Have This Dance by Anne Murry
Sunrise, Sunset by the Columbia Ballroom Orchestra
Around the World in 80 Days by the Tony Anderson String Orchestra

Bronze Syllabus Figures:

1a. Box Step (Straight or Turning)
1b. Box Step With Underarm Turn
(slow, walk-around)
2. Progressive (also used as a transition step)
3a. Left Turning Box
3b. Right Turning Box
4a. Balance Steps (Forward/Back, Side to Side)
4b. Balance and Box
4c. 5th Position, with quick Underarm Turn
5. Simple Twinkle
6. Two-way Underarm Turn
7. Face to Face, Back to Back
8. Reverse (left) Turn
9. Natural (right) Turn
10. Progressive Twinkles
11. Turning Twinkles
12. Grapevine (intro to open footwork)
13. Promenade Chasse'
14. Fallaway and Box
15. Twinkle and Weave

Variations for Social Dancing:

Many smooth figures can be danced in multiple dances by changing the count.  Sometimes the entrance or exit needs to be modified.

From Foxtrot:
Promenade (dance a side balance on the first measure),
Rock Turn to the Right (dance a back balance on the first measure), Promenade Pivot (dance a side balance on the first and third measures).

From Viennese Waltz: 

Fifth Position Breaks with Underarm Turn, Left Turn, Crossbody Lead (with or without an Underarm Turn), Hand To Hand.