At the end of the 18th century, the Waltz became an independent dance form with a style adapted to match the growing self-assurance of the bourgeoisie. Until then, slow dances at the courts of aristocracy were rigid. Partners kept their distance, which was all changed by the Viennese Waltz. The hands of the Leader were placed on the woman’s hips while both looked deeply into each other’s eyes, giving rise to subtle eroticism to the dance form.
The Viennese Waltz took the ballrooms by storm in the early 1800s, reaching its first great triumph at the Congress of Vienna from 1814-15. The classical element was shaped in the Habsburgian Vienna with the rhythm taken up by classical music led by the Strauß dynasty of composers. By the beginning of the 20th century, the Waltz became invincible with many variations emerging such as the Hungarian Waltz and French Waltz. Towards the 1920s, the Viennese Waltz almost faded way with the entry of modern dance styles. However, dance teacher Paul Krebs from Nuremberg and Karl von Mirkowitsch an Austrian officer became socially acceptable and a ballroom repertoire once again.
In the Viennese Waltz, the rhythm is interpreted by turns and marked by rises and falls. It is one of the Waltzes that requires the most stamina and is danced at 60 beats per minute in competitive ballroom dancing. The swings are lively as the music flows fluently with Steps 1 and 4 on the first beat in the measure. The steps are steady with a constant rhythm provided by 1 step with each beat. Partners adopt a standard dancing posture. There is less rise, fall and sway since the moves are rapid with the tempo near 200 beats per minute.