Viennese waltz

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Viennese waltz
Technology: default
Type: Couple dance , ballroom dancing , ballroom dancing
Music: waltz
Time signature : 3 / 4 - or 6 / 8 -Stroke
Tempo: 58-60 TPM (174-180 bpm )
Origin: Austria
Creation time: ≈ 1770
List of dances
Benedetto Feruggia and Claudia Köhler, German champions, European (2009, 2010) and world champions (2009, 2010) of amateurs in ballroom dance, in the Viennese waltz (2010)
Ball in the Hofburg : guests dance the Viennese waltz, painting by Wilhelm Gause , 1900

The Viennese waltz is a social and tournament dance that is danced in pairs and is one of the standard dances of the world dance program . At around 60 beats per minute (equivalent to 180 bpm) it is the fastest dance in the world dance program in terms of bars, if not beats .


The standard dance Viennese waltz is a variety of the dance waltz , the oldest of the modern civil ballroom dances . To distinguish it from other varieties of the waltz such as slow waltz ( English waltz ) and French waltz , it is called the Viennese waltz . The history of the Viennese waltz begins with its first mention in 1797 in Breslau, whereby the “rolling” in the sense of “turning by itself” is much older. Whether the Landler in the development of the Viennese waltz played a key role is controversial. The term Viennese waltz was first used in Vienna in 1807.

The left waltz in particular was frowned upon in so-called "better circles" because of indecency , especially because of the intimate touch between the couples. He gained popularity through the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15.

The famous pieces of music by Josef Lanner , Johann Strauss , Johann Strauss Sohn and, from the second half of the 19th century, by Pyotr Iljitsch Tchaikovsky made it a musical genre that is respected throughout Europe (see Waltz (Music) ). From the middle of the 19th century, the waltz was always the focus of Viennese operettas . It was originally danced very quickly and did not get its current “floating” form until the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1910s a "waltz dying" began in Germany due to social changes and international influences. More modern and dynamic dance forms from overseas prevailed. The former kuk officer Karl von Mirkowitsch made the Viennese waltz fit for society and tournaments again after the First World War by changing its style.

The Viennese waltz has been danced in tournaments since 1932. The Nuremberg dance teacher Paul Krebs (1915–2010) combined the old Austrian waltz tradition with the English style in 1951 . At the Blackpool Dance Festival in the same year he was very successful. Since then, the Viennese waltz has been recognized as an equal standard dance and was included in the world dance program in 1963.

In its history, the Viennese waltz was an expression of inhibited moods of political upheaval and was described, for example, as the “ Marseillaise of the heart” ( Eduard Hanslick ), it should “ have spared Vienna the revolution ”, while Johann Strauss himself “ Napoléon Autrichien” ( Heinrich Laube ) was called. Johann Strauss (son) was a revolutionary in the March Revolution of 1848, which Emperor Franz Joseph I did not forgive him for years.


Today there are two different types of the Viennese waltz around the world, namely the International and the American Style, the latter of which is mainly common in the USA . While the international Viennese waltz is decisive in modern tournaments around the world, the broader spectrum of figures of the American Viennese waltz is often used in formation and show performances in Germany as well.

The technique of the Viennese waltz originated from the ballet technique, but has changed significantly over time and is today - as with all standard dances - very demanding. The high speed and the constant turning movement make the waltz a very strenuous dance. As is usual for non-stationary dances in the world dance program, the dance couple moves counterclockwise around the dance floor during the Viennese waltz .

Only the right turn (natural turn), the left turn (reverse turn) and closed changes are considered officially approved tournament figures of the international style . The right and left spots as well as the contra check, left wiper (left whisk) and pivot turns are common variations, but only allowed if there are no figure restrictions. The American style also includes, for example, open figures outside of the usual dance posture .


Since the couple moves quickly in space, the movement of one partner corresponds to a shortened cycloid . Therefore, the moving part covers a large distance (active part) and the rear part covers a much shorter distance (passive part). Gentlemen and ladies constantly take turns with these parts.

In contrast to the slow waltz, there is hardly any lifting in the foot, but the sixth step in the natural or reverse turn is always flat. Rather, the body and legs stretch accordingly. Nevertheless, the knees remain flexible at all times.

Rhythm and music

The waltz On the beautiful blue Danube by Johann Strauss is one of the most popular waltz music (playing time 2:58)

The Waltz based on the 3 / 4 ¯ clock, wherein a basic step consists of six steps, and thus comprises two full cycles. Alternatively, the Viennese Waltz is also a 6 / 8 -Stroke be danced, the basic step is the scope of a clock. At balls and tournaments people traditionally dance to classical music, but there are also more modern pieces of rock and pop music that offer a suitable rhythm (e.g. Dean Martin : That's amore ). The Viennese waltz is twice as fast as the slow waltz at around 60 beats per minute (equivalent to 180 bpm ).


Paul Düyffcke: Dance card from 1883 from Hamburg

The Viennese waltz is danced as one of the five standard dances worldwide at standard tournaments in the higher starting classes, at tournaments of the German Dance Sports Association from the B class, in Austria from the D class. Furthermore, it occupies a special position at balls and redoubts : In Austria, the New Year is traditionally welcomed with the waltz An der Schöne Blaue Donau (on New Year's Eve on Austrian television and a dozen other radio and TV stations around the world) . It goes without saying that the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert is just as important as the legendary Vienna Opera Ball .

In alpine folk dance , the waltz is cultivated as an independent dance or as part of other dances. At many weddings, a waltz is the traditional dance of the bride and groom ( wedding waltz ).


  • Reingard Witzmann: The country dealer in Vienna. A contribution to the history of the development of the Viennese waltz up to the time of the Congress of Vienna , Vienna 1976.
  • Reingard Witzmann: “Viennese waltz and Viennese ball culture”, in: Citizenship and revolt. Biedermeier and Vormärz in Vienna 1815-1848 , Vienna 1988.
  • Thomas Nußbaumer / Franz Gratl (ed.): On the early history of the waltz (Writings on musical ethnology, Vol. 3), Innsbruck 2014.

Web links

Wikibooks: Viennese Waltz  - learning and teaching materials
Wiktionary: Viennese Waltz  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. a b Norbert Linke : On the early history of the waltz - Symposium report by Thomas Nussbaumer & Franz Gratl - Book review In: New Life - Bulletin of the German Johann Strauss Society , No. 47 (2014/3), ISSN  1438-065X , p. 87– 90.