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Waltz Lesson 1: Basic Pattern.
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Lesson1: The Basic Pattern

Let's Dance

To begin, it is important to be able to distinguish the unique 3/4 rhythm of the Waltz. If you happen to own the Do It At Home Ballroom for Beginners CD or cassette, turn it to track # 1, 2 or 3 to become familiar with this rhythm. Let’s look at some basic styling techniques. To create the graceful gliding appearance that distinguishes the Waltz from other dances, it is essential to stand upright with your weight directly centered over your feet. [See Waltz Lesson 2: Positioning, on the Ballroom for Beginners Video].

(Click here to look up a word in our glossary.)

Closed Position

The Waltz is danced in Closed Position. The man should place his right hand slightly beneath the woman’s left shoulder blade with his right arm held at a 90 degree angle to his body. His left arm should be raised so that the woman’s hand can rest lightly in it, and should be held at her eye level. The woman, in turn, should rest her left hand comfortably near the man’s right shoulder, providing pressure with her fingers and thumb to better “follow” her partner’s lead. For better balance, the woman should look over the man’s right shoulder. This also creates an elegant and poised dance position.

The Waltz Box Step

As you practice the following variation, begin practicing individually, and when you feel comfortable on your own, move into Closed Position and practice with your partner. Isolate the beat by counting the music off as “boom-tick-tick...boom-tick-tick-and lean,” beginning into the actual dance pattern. By preceding your forward motion with a lean, you will not “pop the clutch” on your dancing. In doing this, you will progress more quickly and be able to dance gracefully with your partner.

Count

Man's Part

Lead

Woman's Part

1

Left foot forward

Closed Position

Right foot back

2

Right foot side

Closed Position

Left foot side

3

Left foot close

Closed Position

Right foot close

4

Right foot back

Closed Position

Left foot forward

5

Left foot side

Closed Position

Right foot side

6

Right foot close

Closed Position

Left foot close

The Basic pattern resembles a box, and can be broken down into two half boxes - a forward half box and a backward half box. Each half box occupies three steps. Partners perform natural opposites. That is, when the man does the backward half box, the woman does the forward half box, and vice versa.

Click here to proceed to the next Waltz lesson.

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