You’ve probably heard of the waltz before. The Viennese waltz is the most famous version and is one of the staples of ballroom dancing.
You can waltz to any music that has three beats per measure and many people will waltz at their wedding (except Arianna’s parents, who did a Hallingspringar).
Since most Scandinavian dance parties will play dances that have three beats per measure, if you know how to waltz you’ll be able to dance that to nearly everything if you want to.
Start by walking in a straight line: one normal-length step and then two short steps. For the short steps, you want to stay up on your toes (your heel shouldn’t touch the floor much). This is the basic step, with each step happening on one beat of the measure.
Here’s a Vals you can practice walking to the music with.
Once you’re comfortable walking forward in this long-short-short pattern, try walking backward. Then try turning around in six steps, staying close to where you started. Then try turning and moving around the room at the same time. Note: If you’re having trouble hearing where the steps should be, watch the video below of the Lordags Vals and pay attention to the dancers’ feet and the music together.
When you’re dancing with a partner and you take a long step with your right foot, your partner will take a long step with their left foot so that you’re both moving in the same direction.
The classical waltz hold is the lead’s right hand on the follower’s left shoulder blade and left hand holding the follower’s right hand while the follower’s left hand is on the lead’s right shoulder.
In the Swedish hold, the lead’s right hand is on the follower’s back below the left shoulder blade and the lead’s left had is on the follower’s back either on the right shoulder blade or just below. The follower’s hands are on the lead’s shoulders. Your elbows should be stacked on top of each other. Many people who do Scandinavian dance prefer this hold because you are less likely to fly away from your partner while turning together or changing directions quickly.
With either hold, the follower should be able to tell what direction to take based on where the lead’s torso is moving AND through increased or decreased pressure on her back from the lead’s hand. You are one unit, moving together unless the lead offers a solo-turn to the follower.
Many of the Mixers (dances where you change partners every few measures) are based on the Vals. Here’s one example: