Waltz opportunities at The Dancing Fish
Some people can never get enough of contra dancing or waltz. Are you one of them?
With the resumption of contra dances at The Dancing Fish, waltz opportunities too have increased. While consideration is being given to adding regular periods for open waltz before contra dances, in the meantime some dancers are already making expanded casual use of waltz opportunities.
Even though Waltz was considered the root of all evil during 17th and 18th century, it is now the most popular of all ballroom dances.
The modern form of Waltz was born in suburbs of Vienna and mountain regions of Austria, and was created not for use by folk dancers, but for court. Before that time, all court dances were rigid, stately, solemn, procession-based, very tightly controlled, with complicated moves and timings. Waltz changed that with the introduction of free form dance with close position of dances, which immediately sparked revolt and scandals from traditional lovers of old ballroom dance.
Cross-step waltz evolved in the early 20th century. Around 1930, waltz tempos were slowed to a walking tempo, about 110-120 bpm, allowing the French crossed-step foxtrot to become a form of waltz, called Valse Boston, which was identical to today’s cross-step waltz. It was revived by Richard Powers at Stanford University around 1994 and has developed into a social dance form with hundreds of variations, and renamed Cross-Step Waltz.
Cross-Step Waltz is characterized by a “primary cross-step” where the Lead role crosses the right foot over the left, as the Follow role crosses the left foot over the right, on the first count of the musical measure.
According to Richard Powers, “Cross-Step Waltz is one of the newest social dance forms, spreading quickly because it’s easy to learn yet endlessly innovative, satisfying for both beginners and the most experienced dancers. It travels and rotates like traditional waltz, but the addition of the cross-step opens up a wide range of playful yet gracefully flowing variations.”
Which brings us full circle back to the question: Care to Waltz?
The half-hour or so before evening contra dances is an ideal time for arriving dancers to warm up on the dance floor to recorded waltz music. Come early and let’s waltz upon a spacious dance floor!
Patrick Harrigan is happy to introduce couples and individuals to the ‘waterfall’ variant of cross-step waltz as taught by Richard Powers. Ask him to waltz and he will try to oblige!