Waltz History | The Waltz Series

The Viennese waltz, the oldest of all ballroom dances, emerged in the second half of the Eighteenth Century from Bavarian and Austrian peasant dances, such as the Ländler. Couples held each other firmly in closed (face-to-face) position and whirled vigorously around the floor, turning constantly and often revealing the ladies’ ankles. People used to more sedate court dances with partners at arm’s length or in open (side-by-side) position at first frowned upon the shocking, energetic, provocative waltz. At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, it gained broad popularity and official acceptance, aided by the stirring music of Johann Strauss and his son, Johann Strauss II. The Viennese waltz spread throughout Europe and the New World and became the ancestor of slower (“English”) waltzes. Waltz position became standard for later ballroom dances.