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Viennese Waltz Steps

Updated on September 9, 2013
Viennese Waltz
Viennese Waltz

Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz (also known as the Vienna Waltz, the Rotary Waltz, and Wiener Walzer) is the classic, original waltz and the oldest of all ballroom dances.

It's a quick rotating dance, up to four times as fast as the more common Slow Waltz. It's actually so fast that it has been known to cause motion sickness in the dancers.

The Viennese Waltz is danced in a fast tripple 3/4 time in a closed dance position. Compared to typical waltzes which range between 30-90 beats per minute, Viennese Waltz is typically in the range of 120-180 beats per minute. Because of the faster pace it makes it a bit more challenging to do.

Viennese Waltz Steps

Like the typical waltz the Viennese Waltz incorporates simple and elegant rotating movements. It consist only of turns. To dance it you need to know the basics - the natural turn (right turn), the reverse turn (left turn) and change figures to change the direction of rotation.

The basic steps for the Viennese Waltz:

  • The Natural Turn (to the right)
  • The Reverse Turn (to the left)
  • Change Steps

Rotating in a clockwise direction is the Natural Turn, rotating in a counter-clockwise direction is the Reverse Turn and the change steps between turns allow you to change directions while still following the line of dance.

The Natural Turn

The natural turn consists of six steps - in the first three steps you move forward and rotate clockwise 180 degrees, and in the second three steps you move backward and again rotate by 180 degrees.

Here are the steps (The lady mirrors the steps of the gentleman):

Viennese Waltz Steps
Viennese Waltz Steps

The Reverse Turn

The reverse turn is almost a mirror image of the natural turn (with right being left and vice versa). Reverse turn is optional and should not be attempted until you learn the natural turn.

Change Steps

Change steps are used to make the transition between natural and reverse turns.

There is also an American Style Viennese Waltz which is quite different from original. It includes the basic steps but has more freedom and adds many extra things (dancers can break hold, may spin away from each other, do movements out of dance position, etc.). A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves are modern inventions and not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna.

If you think Viennese Waltz is too fast for you, then go slower. Here are the steps for the Slow Waltz:

There you have it, now put on your dancing shoes and start waltzing!


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    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      11 years ago from Sydney

      "A bit more challenging to do" - you are a master of understatement, Gregorius!  The biggest problem with the Viennese Waltz is that because you're constantly turning, you can get very dizzy very quickly.  Some people claim that changing direction helps reduce the giddiness, as if "unwinding" helps, but I've never found that!

      I'm interested to hear that the true Viennese waltz steps are only the two types of turns and the change step.  Does that mean the Fleckle is a modern invention?


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