Ballroom Dance > Viennese Waltzes - what's the difference

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Kitty, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    What is the difference between International Style Viennese Waltz and American Style?
    I know American one is slower and has greater variety of steps, but what is the stylistic difference. Say if only bronse steps were danced, what would be the difference between the two?
  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I think it depends on who trained the bronze american couple - if they were trained by people who also do standard, they'd probably just do the same things that would be syllabus in standard since those would be considered the most important basic concept to get comfortable with. If trained by primarily american style people, it's possible they might do more of the change-step and hestiation like figures than consecutive turning steps.

    As far as I recall, most collegiate fields are dancing pretty much the same thing in both styles at bronze... at the few comps which offer bronze VW.
  3. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    ok, remove the bronse condition. I put it there in the first place because I know in open the v. waltzes don't look anything alike since american style dancers don't bother with closed position in open.
    But is there any stylistic difference in how the bronse figures - natural and reverse turn, and change steps - are executed (not by bronse couples at collegiate comps, but in concept)? Is there any stylistic or technical difference between, say, american and international natural turn?
  4. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    A reverse turn is a reverse turn is a reverse turn is a reverse turn is a reverse turn is a ...

    Chris I think you had a brilliant statement once about the way most people don't know there is a difference, then they think there is a difference, then they realize there is no difference...something along those lines.
  5. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Got it! Thank you.
  6. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    A reverse turn is a reverse turn, but if you practice it only at international tempo you could be in for a bit of a surprise!

    My impression, again of the collegiate circuit, is that at the higher syllabus levels American style viennese waltz is often a bunch of relatively minor variations on what still looks, feels, and moves a lot like the international version of the dance.

    Part of the reason for this may be that things which are substantially different can be extremely hard to do smoothly - it's one thing to travel like standard, hesitate, and travel some more. It's a far harder thing to travel in non-standard ways but still retain a smooth feeling rather than getting bouncy and feeling pushed to make things work. If you look at even something so simple as a cross body lead into 3 running steps, chances are everything that was learned about how to move in natural and reverse turns instantly goes out the window - you have galloping uncontrolled movement with rise and fall, at least until a *lot* of practice goes into it.
  7. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Now don't start turning Gertrude Stein on us.... :wink:
  8. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Just got back from Yankee (left after the show and the smooth final), and I have to hand it to the pros for doing a much better job of balancing movement and expression in their Viennese Waltz. While distinctions between divisions in the other dances are often primarily a matter of degree, in the VW the difference from recent collegiate open events was night and day. Pretty much everyone chose to covers some ground during part of the dance, and even if they did it with simply (much) cleaner execution of things you might see in silver, it still played a very important role in clearly establishing that it was in fact a viennese waltz upon which all of their more intricate and stationary variations were built.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Cool. 8) When you get a chance, if you want, please give us your review of the parts of the event you saw? It would be nice, for those of us drooling and imagining from afar. :oops: :lol:
  10. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    It is not that I particurlarly thought anything. I've never taken a class or a lesson in either of Vwaltzes, so I had no way of knowing. I thought that there may or may not be any difference in styling and in the hold.
    I thought the Vwaltzes looked a bit different at the comps (due to tempo differences probably), but I thought I certainly shouldn't try to figure it out by watching and comparing couples at collegiate comps, so I asked.
  11. DanceAm

    DanceAm New Member

    Does anyone else see a problem with "American Style Viennese Waltz"?

    How can it be "American" and "Viennese"?

    Kerry Wilson had told me the complete story of his view of the V-Waltz. It was actually very interesting and funny. Being a former world champion and on this dance, he claims there is no difference except for the open work. He knows we compete American Style and many of our competitors do much more extravigant patterns, but he wanted our Left and Right turns perfect before he would teach us anything else. Since our first time competing Silver, we have always been dancing just the Lefts and Rights and have always been marked first or second in that dance. I thought that we would really get hammered by the experienced competitors we were going against, but that was never the case. When we looked at the tape, we found many of our competitors cheating on right turns by exchanging them for some open patterns. We saw them out of fatigue, having trouble getting back together into frame and getting back on time. We noticed many had no travel and looked like they were just spinning in circles. And frames were dropping like flies in the last 30 seconds.

    I really love this dance and I love watching the pros, American or International, move around the floor with such grace and ease. I think this is one dance where if you stick to strick International and do it well, it will get you to very high levels even in American. It might not work for Steve and Larinda, but I am talking Amateur competition. What Kerry Wilson has said to us and the foundation he built on this one dance has never been disputed by any other coach and no comp judge has ever penalized us for this either. Just last week a visiting coach complimented us on our V-Waltz at a social dance and he flagged us down in the parking lot to tell us.
    (What was also amazing was to see a coach stay for a social dance party, that was a first for me.)
  12. cl5814

    cl5814 New Member

    Yea, first time i heard the phrase it was odd. I just accepted as something americans created...... ok, i am not american.
    I am green of jealousy reading about your VW. One day, i hope to be where you are now with your VW, even if this is the only dance i can do that well. Congratulations, your hard work paid off.
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Hmm, perhaps it should be "Viennese-American Waltz"

    More serioulsy, I was just watching the open smooth video from MAC on Warren's ballroomvideonews site, and finding it fit fairly well with my memory. Despite the fact that this event was won by the couple which also (after an elgibility ruling) won the pre-champ standard, you saw very little interest in trying to show the basic figures that are common to standard. The camera did catch the 2nd place couple doing some naturals, but they do not have quite the same standard background of the winners... So why is it that the people you'd most expect to be able to make simple classic things look nice won't try?

    As I said before, the pro division at Yankee seemed to restore this interest in using standard-like (if not always exactly) elements in vienesse waltz that seems to fall from favor in amateur events after syllabus.
  14. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    So if a couple dancing in gold or open smooth will just do natural and reverse turns with like gold-level standard technique, will they have a chance of winning or would they be considered stylistically wrong, "not american enough" and ignored?
  15. Gumby

    Gumby New Member

    What would be the point of dancing smooth if you aren't doing open work. I doubt there are more closed patterns (which is what I am assuming you meant by basic figures) danced in smooth waltz or foxtrot routines than there are in smooth viennese at the top levels. One beef that I do have with smooth choreography is that many times without the music you wouldn't know whether they are dancing a waltz or a foxtrot as many of the distinctive elements (the rise/fall of waltz and the lilt of foxtrot) are missing.

    My teacher says that any problems you have in Viennese you have in the other dances the speed simply magnifies them to the point where they are unavoidably noticable.
  16. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member


    I have just started taking V. Waltz lessons, American Smooth style. What pointers could you provide from your early lessons that could be helpful as I develop my ability to V. Waltz? Any other suggestions?

    And if anyone else care to chime in, feel free!
  17. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    I am really mixed on smooth VWaltz. While me and Chris never really competed seriously in smooth (never really got a chance to work on our routines etc...) I feel we've been often punished for both, either our unpolished routines, and sometimes for just dancing the basics... Our VWaltz never had much open material, and depending on the judging pannel, we were marked either very well or very poorly... :( :(
  18. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    Personally I like standard VW much better as a dancer. Only six figures to remember, and so practice, practice, practice.

    On the other hand, I can also see why people get bored. I understand smooth VW and its open figures for the purposes of choreographing something for performances. But I don't know... sometimes you have to really know your timing and understand your dance space should be (relative to your partner) to do those open breaks and moves well.
  19. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Where did we get marked poorly in VW compared to the other dances? I recall we usually did somewhat better in it. But we never did amateur open, which seems to stress varied, relatively stationary choreography - compared to gold which still moves, and pro open which moves AND has varied choreography.

    To dance poet: I'd strongly suggest trying to steer things to the traveling basics common with international style - these are pretty much the only thing you will safely be able to do in social dancing. You could learn some of the hestiations and simple things of smooth, but a lot of the materail being taught as silver/gold smooth vw is far, far too hard to use nicely in competition or social settings.
  20. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

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