Welcome to Waltz Lab
Waltz Lab focuses on innovation in waltz. Participants not only learn new figures, but also participate in the creation of new variations.
Round One is is a weekly brainstorming session in creating new waltz variations and hybrids. Participants learn dance elements and how to mix and match them. The classes are held at 9pm on Monday nights at the Stanford Dance Division's main dance studio. The innovations from the Monday Lab are videoed and posted on this site.
Round Two is the main focus of the Lab, when the forum is opened to everyone on the next day.
Dancers anywhere in the world can innovate on the theme of the week, coming up with an original variation incorporating that theme, or riff on any of the previous week's submissions. Video your innovation, upload it to YouTube, and fill out the submission form. Once the week's submissions are posted on the Waltz Lab's page, anyone can then indicate their favorite Round Two waltz figures.
Learning by observation was once the way that dancers innovated new forms. For today's social/ballroom dancers, that process has largely been replaced by instructors methodically teaching prescribed dance steps and figures. Waltz Lab has a secondary mission of reviving the almost lost art of learning and innovating by watching others. Suggestions for improving this skill are given on the Waltz Lab site.
Therefore the intent of the video submissions is not primarily to entertain, impress or win, but rather to inspire other dancers – providing useful dance figures and concepts that other dancers can try out, through the increasingly mastered art of learning by observation (it gets better through practice). Then the next step is riffing on those figures and feeding them back into the mix.
Linda Townsend West of Seattle described the Waltz Lab as, "essentially like what happened at the Savoy Ballroom and every other hot dancing spot over the years, brought into the 21st century – people watching other people dance and "stealing" their stuff and changing it – inventing yet another new variation. Except that now they aren't all standing in the same room at the same time (or even in the same country, or the same continent)."