Why a book on waltzing? Because it is needed. I cringe every time I see a Broadway touring company put a waltz in a show. These talented singers, dancers, and actors leap about the stage like gazelles, until they have to waltz. Then they lurch awkwardly around the floor like a cross between zombies and Frankenstein’s monster.
This is what’s happened to the “Queen of all Dances?”
Someone needs to say something. It might as well be me. When my students waltz to a current tune that happens to be in ¾ time, they don’t look awkward and zombie-like at all. They glide around the ballroom like swans. They also use their entire repertoire of dance moves, all in 3 minutes’ time. They may start with cross step waltz, (the current growing trend in dance), then change feet for rotary waltz, then break into a mid-19th century dance called redowa for a lap around the floor. Then they’ll rest for a moment with a move from the early 1800s, when the waltz was first invented. Then they’ll do a few mazurka steps, because they realize I’m watching and they’re showing off to amuse me, and they know mazurka is my favorite.
In other words, they mine 200 years of waltz variations for a single dance. And why not? The dance has been around for that long, always changing, sometimes barely recognizable, one version to the next. It’s a rich cultural heritage, and it belongs to us all as dancers. Let's use it!