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Music

Paired dance

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Paired dances such as the waltz and tango involve two people dancing together.

Waltz

The waltz evolved from folk dances in Austria and Germany in the mid-18th century.

Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler dancing the waltz on Strictly Come Dancing

Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler dancing the waltz

Waltzes:

  • were very popular in Vienna in the early 19th century then spread to the rest of Europe
  • are in triple time, usually 3/4, sometimes 3/8 or 3/2
  • usually have one chord per bar with the bass note being heard on the first beat
  • have lyrical melodies
  • sometimes use several different melodies in one piece

Waltz

Some waltzes were written to dance to, others were composed as concert pieces. Many waltzes were written for piano and many for orchestra.

A lot of classical composers have written waltzes. The most famous waltzes are by the father and son Johann Strauss. The younger Johann Strauss wrote The Blue Danube waltz. Chopin and Brahms both wrote many waltzes for piano. Waltzes for orchestra include Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky and La Valse by Ravel.

Some pop songs use waltz-style rhythms eg First Love by Adele and Blackout by Muse.

Waltz dance steps

  • The waltz uses a closed position – the partners hold each other with both arms.
  • It is graceful and elegant, the dancers glide effortlessly around the ballroom.
  • Waltzes are characterised by long flowing movements and rise and fall.
  • In a waltz there are three steps to each bar.

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