strathspey Archive: Waltzing

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Waltzing

Message 1441 · Pat Gladchild · 22 Mar 1995 23:45:10 · Top

Martin Mulligan raised the issue of closing waltzes and women being
uncomfortable dancing together in ballroom hold. This reminded me of
something that has puzzled me ever since I started Scottish dancing
15 years ago. Where are people suppose to learn to waltz. I started
dancing in international folk dance circles and got wonderful
instruction in learning to waltz there. Instruction, by the way,
which involved everyone dancing both parts in order to enhance
communication throrugh leading signals.

But at least around here (Minneapolis, MN) waltzing is never taught
in the branch and frankly, I have often sat out the last waltz or
been grateful that I used to teach it and am therefore comfortable
leading. (By the way, I have often been told by my women partners,
in a conspiratorial whisper, that I was one of the best waltzers
they've ever had the pleasure to dance with.) Too often there
isn't anyone at all that I wanted to stumble through (and that's what
it is) a waltz with. Given that the dynamics of ballroom hold are
completely different from anything done in country dancing, without
specific instruction the waltzing is painful. I'd rather just
listen, thanks.
pglad@polisci.umn.edu
Department of Political Science
University of Minnesota

"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
-Muriel Rukeyser

Waltzing

Message 1443 · LAURA K. HANSON - PH.D. · 23 Mar 1995 01:14:17 · Top

A nice paterned waltz is the Welsh FFarwell Marian. This is done
in a circle of couples with the men (or male equivalents) on the
inside and women on the outside. It does include some ballroom style
waltzing and can be done either retaining partners or as a mixer.
On the subject of women waltzing with other women. There are a
variety of gender neutral holds which can be used which are
frequently seen at contra and folk dancing around here. These
include: shoulder/waist, each person putting their right hand on
their partners waist and joining left hands underneath, and both
people holding their partners waist. Another very pleasant
alternative that was common in one group was trio or more waltzes
when good friends (of whatever gender mix) would get together in
groups and form a circle with arms around waists (sometimes in a back
basket hold) and waltz as a small social group.

Laura Hanson
Norfolk, VA

Waltzing

Message 1447 · Richard L Walker · 23 Mar 1995 06:13:29 · Top

>Where are people suppose to learn to waltz.
>pglad@polisci.umn.edu

For a cad like me, I find a nice partner on the sidelines and state that I
certainly wish I could do one of those lovely waltzes, but I never learned
how. Guess what happens almost every time? :-)
Richard L Walker
rlwalker@amaranth.amaranth.com

Waltzing

Message 1449 · McOwen · 23 Mar 1995 10:13:16 · Top

Dear Folks,

Pat Gladchild says it's sometimes hard to find Scottish country dancers who
can waltz. I have a little tiny anecdote that might be helpful. More than
20 years ago, at the Summer School at St Andrews, I was in Tiki West's Ladies
Step Dance class, where she taught the waltz step (in order to teach John
Drewry's dance "The Dark Island"). She preceded the teaching by saying,
"Scottish country dancers as a rule can't waltz, because they are used to
steps being 'step close step' while the waltz is 'step step close.' " Ever
since that simple statement, I've found waltzing very much easier.

Here in the Boston area, the Folk Arts Center will periodically run an
afternoon workshop, frequently taught by Marianne Taylor, called "Turning
Dances," including the waltz, hambo, polka and zweifacher. This summer at
English/Scottish Pinewoods, Marianne has been asked by the committee to teach
the hambo, though it's neither an English nor a Scottish dance. Neither, for
that matter, is the waltz; it's just made it into our consciousness a little
sooner.

Sincerely,
Barbara McOwen
Arlington, Mass. USA

Waltzing

Message 1450 · Anonymous · 23 Mar 1995 17:15:35 · Top

With all the talk about waltzing, it crossed my mind to wonder how often
ladies have to remind the man to swing his sporran round to his left side, so
that it cannot interfere with her dress. Nobody seems to have mentioned this
point yet. It happened to me once or twice, but I usually remember to do it
nowadays. Any ladies got views on this ?

Waltzing

Message 1451 · Norah Link · 23 Mar 1995 17:16:52 · Top

Sorry, but I can't resist...

One of my most memorable closing waltzes was with the Briscoes at
Pinewoods. It started with the three of us, ended with about ten
of us sitting along the bench and swaying to the music. Every so
often Mel would call "turn" and we would all stand up, turn around,
and sit down ready to start swaying again. I'm not sure it would
work anywhere other than Pinewoods, but was definitely social!

Norah Link
Montreal

Waltzing

Message 1452 · Anonymous · 23 Mar 1995 17:32:03 · Top

On Thu, 23 Mar 1995 00:14:21 +0100
"LAURA K. HANSON - PH.D." <LKH@borg.evms.edu> said:
> A nice paterned waltz is the Welsh FFarwell Marian. This is done
>in a circle of couples with the men (or male equivalents) on the
>inside and women on the outside. It does include some ballroom style
>waltzing and can be done either retaining partners or as a mixer.

More details would be appreciated, please.

And while we're on the subject, could anyone name me a source reference for
descriptions (with music if possible) of the "old favourites" like Valeta,
St Bernard Waltz, Boston Two-Step, Barn Dance, and lots more of that ilk
which I can't think of just now ?
Yours hopefully,
Anonymous

Waltzing

Message 1453 · Anonymous · 23 Mar 1995 17:40:24 · Top

On Thu, 23 Mar 1995 09:13:22 +0100
McOwen@aol.com said:
>
>Here in the Boston area, the Folk Arts Center will periodically run an
>afternoon workshop, frequently taught by Marianne Taylor, called "Turning
>Dances," including the waltz, hambo, polka and zweifacher.

Waltzer, Polka, and Zwiefacher I know. How do you Hambo, please ?

Waltzing

Message 1456 · Deborah Shaw · 23 Mar 1995 23:46:42 · Top

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

I'm only a rudimentary waltzer, but I've danced many waltzes with
other women and enjoyed them very much. (I enjoy dancing with
men, too, provided they know about the three beats and hold a
firm frame so that I can remember I'm not leading.) I've waltzed
in ballroom hold, sometimes leading and sometimes not, or in some
type of neutral hold, such as the single-sex contra hold (right
hands on each other's waist, left hands joined underneath). It's
a great time to chat and catch up on things with an old friend,
male or female. Polkas are also fun, but you usually are too
busy breathing to talk and you must agree who's leading before
you start, which means using the ballroom hold.

Susan Holmes (formerly of Columbia, SC, and NYC; currently of
Philadelphia) taught an afternoon class on waltzing at Thistle
School several years ago. It was well attended and VERY helpful,
as she included leading and the box step. Someone made the point
that many sit out the waltz because they don't know how, since
it's never taught. If someone in your group has experience in
teaching modern ballroom dancing, perhaps he or she can be
persuaded to hold a crash waltz course? This would also make a
great workshop afternoon class.

In Raleigh, we learned the Victory Waltz as a demo dance and
frequently two Raleigh dancers will dance it during a closing
waltz, if they happen to be dancing together (and with any other
partner, too). I learned it several years ago at T.A.C. summer
school, from Ruth and Alex Jappy; our teacher, Pat Johnston, ran
into it somewhere else. It's fun and easy, done in allemande
hold very much as gay gordons is done, but looks very elegant.
You could also easily make it a round-the-room dance by having
the woman move to the next man during the last 2 or 4 bars. If
anyone's interested in the directions I wrote down from memory --
especially someone willing to review them for accuracy or who can
tell me where to get the originals -- I'll be happy to send them
to you (contact me privately).

A couple of months ago at a contra dance I was chatting with a
married couple when the last waltz was announced. I started to
step away so they could dance it together, but one of them said,
"no, we'll all dance," and we three were off. We had a grand
time as a threesome, experimenting with hand holds, turns,
waltzing under arches, back-to-back, one-in-the-middle, etc.,
even though we did take up more than our fair share of room. We
were laughing so much that it was hard to concentrate. Of the
looks we got, most were accompanied by smiles.

Deborah Shaw
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
dss13245@glaxo.com

Waltzing

Message 1469 · Pat Gladchild · 27 Mar 1995 20:28:23 · Top

> Philadelphia) taught an afternoon class on waltzing at Thistle
> School several years ago. It was well attended and VERY helpful,
> as she included leading and the box step. Someone made the point
> that many sit out the waltz because they don't know how, since
> it's never taught. If someone in your group has experience in
> teaching modern ballroom dancing, perhaps he or she can be
> persuaded to hold a crash waltz course? This would also make a
> great workshop afternoon class.

A common point of confusion is that many people have never been told
that ballroom waltz, often described as box step, is completely
different from folk, or circular, waltzing. The two forms go in
opposite directions (ballroom - ccw; folk - cw), have a different
shape, and require different lengths of steps. I've learned and
enjoyed both, and found it is important to think of them as different
dances to the same rhythm.

Pat Gladchild

pglad@polisci.umn.edu
Department of Political Science
University of Minnesota

"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
-Muriel Rukeyser

Waltzing

Message 1500 · AMURDOC · 29 Mar 1995 21:42:36 · Top

Date: Monday, March 27, 1995 11:33AM

Pat Gladchild writes

"A common point of confusion is that many people have never been told
that ballroom waltz, often described as box step, is completely
different from folk, or circular, waltzing. The two forms go in
opposite directions (ballroom - ccw; folk - cw), have a different
shape, and require different lengths of steps. I've learned and
enjoyed both, and found it is important to think of them as different
dances to the same rhythm."

I think it confuses rather than helps to think of them as two different
dances. "Circular waltzing" is just a repetition of the standard right hand
turn from the ballroom waltz.
What is confusing is that some male folk dancers start forward on their
right foot (and female back on their left) while a ballroom waltz always
starts forward on the left foot for the man.

Alastair_Murdoch@UManitoba.CA

Waltzing

Message 1506 · ccartwri · 30 Mar 1995 09:47:32 · Top

Mr Mulligan has written about trying to find a suitable waltz that would
enable everybody to enjoy the waltz at the end of an evening. With the
risk of being taken for an old-fashioned git - have you ever considered a
progressive waltz? Those dancing are signalled to stop and get a new
partner from those sitting out. Then the next time, again everbody finds
a non-dancing partner, and so on until everybody's waltzing.

There are other similar games - the three chairs where a man sits between
two ladies. At the end of a phrase or on a signal the man selects a partner
then the lady left remaining moves to the center position and two men join
her, she then selects a partnnd the leftover man.... It sounds stupid but
it can be a lot of fun in large groups especially.

Also - how about Swedish Family Waltz - similar to Kent's description of
Oslo Waltz?

I think it's a shame more people don't know how to waltz competently. But
this brings up a point I've noticed about many Scottish Country Dancers. I
don't know if I dare mention it but, quite often I hear people in my class
say "My, isn't So-and-so a terrific dancer!" I always find myself saying
"Yes, So-and-so is a good _Scottish Country Dancer_". We seem to have a
number of people here in Tucson who are very competent Scottish Country
Dancers, but who seem to have no feeling whatsoever for other types of
dance. When I try to teach things like the Eva Three Step or the
Mississipi Dip, it becomes obvious that many of these people can't feel
the rhythm, or can't get their bodies moving, or both. I'd be interested
in hearing if other instructors are finding this as well. Perhaps I'm
sensitive to this from my dance background. But once in a while, a person
will come into class with no SCD training and will pick up the Skip change
and the pas de basque and the figures in the first evening or two - much to
the amazement of the rest of the class - Now those are the people I call
good dancers - the ones with the kinesthetic ability to control their bodies
and the sense to start phrasing immediately.... I'm not complaining about
my class mind you - where would instructors be if every body learned
everything the first evening? I'm just intrigued....
----------------------------------------------------------------
Courtney Cartwright "To live is to dance..."
Tucson, Arizona Snoopy
ccartwri@interserv.com
----------------------------------------------------------------

Waltzing

Message 1581 · cerberus · 4 Apr 1995 00:24:13 · Top

I seem to recall that one of the original reasons the topic of waltzing came up
was the question of correct ballroom hold woman to woman. If one wants in
general gentlemen to dance with ladies, what about the double ballroom hold
that they used to use after the first world war in England? A gentleman stands
in front of a lady (as per usual), but another lady stands behind said lady.
Gentleman then takes ballroom hold with the foremost lady, but extends his
right hand to the back of the lady behind (as opposed to the behind of the back
lady!). She, meanwhile, places her left hand on the waist of the lady in front,
and her right hand joins the paired hands of the other two. Be warned:
gentleman will need long arms, and the lady in the middle must be below average
size. In either case, it demands superb dancing skill, good humour, and greater
good fortune than I am master of.
I look forward to the dancing equivalent of double-dating, the triple
ballroom hold. The mind boggles.
Moray McConnachie

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