What Are the Differences In Waltz Styles?

Aerial view of a crowd of people practicing various dance styles.

As one of the most iconic ballroom dances, the waltz has long enchanted dancers and spectators with its grace and fluidity. However, the waltz isn’t just a single style of dance. It has evolved over time into several unique types, each with their own distinct characteristics. Below, we’ll detail the differences between various styles of the waltz.

Viennese Waltz

Known as the original form of the waltz, the Viennese Waltz was born in the early 19th century. Originating from Austria, this dance style is known for its rapid pace, revolving movements, and elegant rise-and-fall technique. 

Dancers must maintain a close hold on each other. The result is a romantic, swirling dance that is breathtaking to watch and fun to perform.

American Style Waltz

The American Style Waltz, sometimes known as the Boston Waltz, is a slower, more fluid variant of the Viennese Waltz. With more emphasis on connection and expression, this style has both closed and open dance positions. This gives the dancers the flexibility to express themselves more freely. 

The American Waltz features smooth, gliding steps, and its slower pace allows dancers to execute more intricate patterns and underarm turns.

International Style Waltz

The International Style Waltz is also known as the English or Modern Waltz. It is a competitive dance style that requires precision and discipline. It strictly follows a closed dance position, with dancers traversing the dance floor in a counter-clockwise direction. 

Its distinguishing feature is the graceful rise and fall action, accompanied by body swing and continuous, flowing movements.

Country Western Waltz

This style was born out of American folk tradition. The Country Western Waltz is a popular social dance style in the United States. It is typically danced to country-western music with a slow tempo. 

It allows for both closed and open positions. Its simple and compact steps make it a good dance style for beginners.

Cajun Waltz

The Cajun Waltz has roots in Louisiana’s vibrant folk tradition. Danced to the rhythm of lively Cajun music, this style has a playful, relaxed feel. It incorporates elements of other dance styles like swing and two-step, emphasizing improvisation and personal expression.

Learn to Waltz With Fred Astaire Dance Studios

Dancing is a journey, and the joy is in the process of learning, practicing, and ultimately mastering the dance. With its diverse styles, the waltz offers a beautiful pathway to start or continue that journey.

At Fred Astaire Dance Studios, we can guide you through this journey, one step at a time. Founded in 1947, we have been inspiring dancers of all ages and experience levels, helping them discover their unique rhythm. With two convenient locations in Carmel and Greenwood, our expertly trained and experienced instructors are ready to help you explore the world of dance.

Whether you are interested in the Viennese Waltz’s quick tempo, the American Style Waltz’s expressiveness, or the playful rhythm of the Cajun Waltz, we have a class that’s perfect for you. 

Learn to dance the waltz with Fred Astaire Dance Studios. Call us at 317-846-3237 to get started.