Most social dancers know that the waltz is especially ripe for innovation, but non-dancers often wonder why waltzing was chosen over other dance forms, such as swing or salsa. There are several reasons.
• The waltz scene is growing. The addition of the new cross-step waltz to the waltzing repertoire has helped make mostly-waltz groups popular across the country, by providing a second and significantly different waltz form to play with. This offers a more robust mix than if a single form of waltz was the only choice.
More than thirty "mostly waltz" groups have sprung up across the U.S. in the past decade.
Roll your mouse over the red dots to identify the waltz groups.
Click on the Red dots to view their Web pages.
• As designers know, constraints are an important part of the creative process. Dancers enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to modify a form that has the constraints of closed waltz position and 3/4 time. This makes the innovation process more interesting than the unlimited possibilities freestyle solo dancing. "In the vast Sahara you are not free; you are only lost."
• Many dances are done on one spot, like like swing and salsa, but traveling dances add a unique kind of pleasure. Navigating around the floor is fun, and speed is a timeless joy. Rotation adds another dimension to the experience, often described as euphoric, and catching one's partner against the pull of centrifugal force increases the physicality of the partnering connection.
• The appeal of the waltz is universal and timeless. The waltz was the dance that created the closed-couple tradition of today's social ballroom dancing, over two hundred years ago. Goethe wrote about the waltz, "Never have I moved so lightly. I was no longer a human being. To hold the most adorable creature in one's arms and fly around with her like the wind, so that everything around us fades away."
A century later, H. L. Menken wrote:
The waltz never quite goes out of fashion;
it is always just around the corner;
every now and then it returns with a bang.
It is sneaking, insidious, disarming, lovely...
The waltz, in fact, is magnificently improper.