Ballroom dance instructors often tell their students, "Waltz is the mother of all dances." That statement is based in part on its popularity, dating back to the 16th century.
Regarded as the "mother of all dances" also means this is a dance that opens doors to other styles and a better "presence" on the floor, whether you're doing a Rumba, a Foxtrot or any other ballroom dance.
The follower's role requires poise and grace. The leader's role is a model of confidence and control. This is definitely one of the best dances for improving overall technique.
Space is not an issue for your initial practice: All you need is room for a simple box step for most of your basic steps and muscle memory drills.
Waltz teaches a dancer how to move slowly across a floor. And sometimes slower dance movements are more difficult to control. To perform the Waltz correctly, it's necessary to patiently learn a three-part sequence of correct footwork, the basis for all smooth dancing: heel to toe; toe; toe to heel.
But this is a dance that generously rewards patient dancers. As you progress in Waltz and improve your balance, you will experience a sensation of "floating" when taking longer strides. Only a few dance styles offer that reward.
Because changes in direction are not as abrupt as in other styles—like Tango or the much faster Viennese Waltz—the Waltz provides more time to check for proper posture and a strong, upright frame.
Waltz even helps with the Rhythm/Latin dances. It's another opportunity to practice pulling in your center and becoming more aware of your core. This helps with your hip action and weight transfer from foot to foot.
While all dances have characteristics that make them special, the Waltz remains a true classic. It has outlasted trends and short-lived styles. Even those new to a Ballroom sense they will enjoy the Waltz for as long as they continue to dance, regardless of age.
There are many reasons why it's traditionally played as the "last dance" at studio parties, big band dances and grand ballrooms. The combination of graceful movement and romantic music is a perfect ending for a night of dance.
No wonder it has been around for more than five centuries!
I hope to see you on the dance floor!
Cheryl Burke Dance Studios are located in two California locations: Mountain View and Laguna Niguel. For more information, see cherylburkedance.com and click on the studio "Contact Us" or Facebook pages.