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Mar 4

Waltz Day

Waltz
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Divine Dance
Pierre Vidal (1908)
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"We who go forth of nights and see without the slightest discomposure our sister and our wife seized on by a strange man and subjected to violent embraces and canterings ... can scarcely realize the horror which greeted the introduction of this wicked dance." 1866, Belgravia Magazine, commentary on the scandalous waltz

The date for Waltz Day, as you might guess, is based on the 3/4 time signature! Now considered one of the most graceful of couple dances, the waltz (with origins in the suburbs of Vienna and in the alpine region of Austria) initially scandalized the general populace! The dance was considered both vulgar and sinful, not only for its closed hold and lilting meter, but because of its early adoption by the dissipated courts of Europe in the late 18th century. But by the late 19th century, it reigned supreme as a dance form and even influenced gown styles to take advantage of the swirling motion. Many familiar waltz tunes can be traced back to simple peasant yodeling melodies, and the original musical form is believed to have been derived from the German Ländler, a dance in triple meter. Can you see the 1-2-3 ... 1-2-3 ... in this beautiful blue tartan's sett?

The date for Waltz Day, based on the 3/4 time signature of what was first considered a scandalous dance because of the closed hold and the lilting meter, has its origins in the suburbs of Vienna and in the alpine region of Austria.  Many familiar waltz tunes can be traced back to simple peasant yodeling melodies.  The original musical form is believed to have been  derived from the German Ländler, a dance in triple meter.

Popularized in the courts of Europe (beginning with the allemande hold but eventually changing to the more modern closed hold), the waltz shocked and titillated by its closer hold and rapid turning movements.

Religious leaders almost unanimously denounced it as vulgar and sinful.  Dancing masters also saw the waltz as a threat to the profession. The basic steps of the waltz could be learned in relatively short time, whereas, the minuet and other court dances required considerable practice to learn the many complex figures, but also to develop suitable postures and deportment.

However, continental court circles held out obstinately, and its popularity spread.

The waltz was given a tremendous  boost in popularity around 1830 by Austrian composers - Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss. These two composers set the standard for the Viennese Waltz, (a faster version of the waltz). andbBy 1900, a typical dance program was three quarter waltzes and one quarter all other dances combined.

This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, is made up in groups of lines of three for the characteristic time signature of the waltz.  

 

Its soft blue colours suggest the namesake of one of the most recognized of waltz tunes, "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss.  

 

To hear and see this waltz as performed as a ballet accompanied  by the Vienna Orchestra, click the waltz painting by Pierre Vidal, 1908, with just a hint of blue.