The Waltz

Many people think of graceful movements when they think of the waltz, but there are many different musical numbers and dances that can be performed. Some of them are quite slow, but many of the more modern forms of this dance are considered fast. Originally banned in some areas because a woman’s legs might be seen, it eventually gained in popularity on the continent of Europe. Many of today’s most popular waltzes are from the French, the English, and the Austrians. Those that come from Austria are the easily recognized by most and known as Viennese waltzes.

The Viennese waltzes were very popular among the upper classes centuries ago, and it was a staple dance for those attending formal balls. Evenings spent in talk and dance were a popular form of entertainment, so many couples thought of them as a way to measure their own social standing. Dances at the homes of prominent citizens were an important event for guests and hosts, and those with the ability to glide across the floor were part of the entertainment expected by those attending.

One of the important parts of the waltz was the ability to converse while dancing. Couples could be in full view of their chaperones, yet they could have a private conversation as they moved to the music. It was one of the reasons it was immensely popular among younger couples, and it was an aid to courtship in many societies. For adults who might have simply wanted a few minutes of private conversation, it was a way to be separate from their spouse without arousing suspicions or eliciting talk from others. A couple could remain chaste within their society while sharing their most secret thoughts on the dance floor.

The Viennese waltz was so beloved by the people that it became part of their New Year’s celebration, and many couples danced to it once the bells chimed midnight. With the advent of radio, it was broadcast throughout Austria. The Blue Danube is so popular it is still broadcast across the world on the first day of the year for those who wish to begin their year with a festive outlook.