When the Waltz was first introduced into the ballrooms of the world in the early 19th century, it was met with outraged indignation, for it was the first dance where the couple danced in a modified closed position with the man's hand around the lady's waist.
The Waltz dates back to the country folk dances of Bavaria, but it was not introduced into society until 1812, when it made its appearance in the English ballrooms. By 1840 it had become one of the most popular dances in the U. S. and later proved its mettle by being the only dance to survive the "Ragtime Revolution." The latter part of the 19th cent. found composers writing Waltzes to a much slower tempo than that of the original Viennese Waltz style. "After the Ball" and "The Band Played On" are two of the characteristic music styles of those years.
The Waltz Turns, typical of the American Waltz, was in evidence and was being taught in the U. S. in the 1880's, an even slower tempo came into prominence in the early 1920's, with the result that today we have three distinctive tempi with varied accented beats and dance styles; i.e., the fast or "Viennese" style, the medium tempo used for the Bronze level and the slower tempo used for the Silver and above levels of dance.
The Bronze Waltz music is written in 3/4 time and should be played at a tempo of about 36 - 40 measures per minute for examinations and competitions. The Waltz is a progressive and turning dance moving along the Line of Dance. The figures are designed for both a larger ballroom floor and the average nightclub floor.
Sway and Rise and Fall highlight the smooth, lilting style of the Waltz.