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The History of Dance : Viennese Waltz

BBC Strictly Gemma

Online team

The Viennese Waltz as we know it today is actually the original form of the Waltz!

It's the oldest of all ballroom dances emerging in the second half of the 18th Century influenced by German and Austrian dance styles.

Here's Ian and Karen doing what they do best... teaching us about dance (and chack out Karen's wig height!).

As you heard, the Viennese Waltz was quite the scandalous dance style when it first emerged. Not only were ankles visible from the ladies but both men and women were in hold! Gasp!

However it later gained acceptance and even popularity amongst the upper class. 

This dance style differs from the Waltz mainly in its speed. The Viennese Waltz has about 180 beats to the minute whereas the Waltz only have 90.


As Karen and Ian mentioned there are three key turns to a Viennese Waltz. They are:


  • Natural turns - to the right
  • Reverse turns - to the left
  • Change step - in-between the natural and reverse turns



In the Strictly Come Dancing history books the Viennese Waltz has had a few high flyers and low divers. Here are the best and worst:

Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna - Series 7, week 8 - 40/40

Pamela Stephenson and James Jordan - Series 8, week 10 - 40/40

Scott Maslen and Natalie Lowe - Series 8, week 5 - 39/40

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev - Series 8, week 11 - 39/40

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani - Series 9, week 11 - 39/40


Will Thorp and Hanna Haarala - Series 3, week 5 - 23/40

Jo Wood and Brendan Cole - Series 7, week 5 - 23/40

Andrew Castle and Ola Jordan - Series 6, week 6 - 24/40

Dan Lobb and Katya Virshilas - Series 9, week 3 - 24/40

Jan Reeves and Anton Du Beke - Series 4, week 5 - 25/40

Kenny Logan and Ola Jordan - Series 5, week 6 - 26/40

Felicity Kendall and Vincent Simone - Series 8, week 5 - 26/40

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