Atlanta Waltz Society
(2000 to 2006) -- AWS is inactive except for research at this time.
This website is copyrighted - unauthorized copying or reproduction in any form is prohibited.
Split Tree Home Page Updated: 3/17/09
Viennese Balls Calendar Worldwide 2009 Magic and Romance in
Waltz lessons in Vienna Dancing School Elmayer for classical Viennese waltz lessons
Donald Daniel's Viennese Waltz Balls and Waltzing Pages -- all the practical details including floors, halls, shoes, etc.
Article: "Waltzing is Good for the Heart," Associated Press on Yahoo News, Nov 12, 2006
Print of 19th century salon waltzing in Vienna
Painting of wild old Vienna waltzing
Louis' new flash dance idea:
Spontaneous Waltzing in Public Places Locations? Musicians? Dancers? Is Atlanta ready? Where and when?
What about the challenge of dancing to some of AWS's
special, wide range of waltz music? One regular waltzer
emailed her thoughts about the joy of dancing with a partner to the same drummer:
"In reference to the waltzes played, I love to hear a familiar pop tune and
realizing it's a waltz. I also enjoy the challenging waltzes - especially if
the leader and I are 'dancing to the same drummer'. If he is dancing to a
'different drummer', I'll dance his song... but it's the ultimate to hear the
same thing as your partner, and be able to enjoy the dance with the music."
With the interest in our musical selections, we'll return to putting out playlists so you can mark your favorites and also less favorites for the non-playlist.
Editor: Email us your thoughts to share on waltzing. We love all dances and all music and honor the differences.
Link to Powers' Sweetheart Waltz (Shadow & Rotary Figures) workshop syllabus, PDF format
Split Tree's Zen of Waltz Weekend April 2005 Photos
Goethe about waltzing, speaking as the hero in the German romance novel "The
Sorrows of Young Werther": "Never have I moved so lightly. I was no
longer a human being. To hold the most adorable
creature in one's arms and fly around with her like the wind, so that everything
Or as a early 20th century dance historian put it: "Character, expression, spirit, passion--everything the new era [starting with the French revolution in 1789] demanded from the dance, it found in the waltz....For the first time in centuries a dance conquers the world without the sanction of the powers that be, of courts, of dancing masters, of France....At the end of 1791 an anonymous author in Berlin writes that 'the waltz and the waltz only is now so fashionable that one sees nothing else at dances; if you just know how to waltz, everything goes fine....'"
AWS photos from Several Dancers Core studio by Bob Bennett
At the end of 1791 an anonymous author in Berlin writes that
'the waltz and the waltz only is now so fashionable that one sees nothing else at dances;
if you just know how to waltz, everything goes fine..."
Unusual European figurines of waltzing couples from the Split Tree waltz collection
(note the direction of the lady's gown, showing both left and right turns)
(Larger figurine, right, given to Richard Powers at Split Tree Waltz Weekend Nov. 2004)
''If you could dance with
the days of your life,
if you could take life by the wrist and dance,
I think it would be a waltz.
Forward and back, sad and happy, high and low.''
from John Patrick Shanley's new play ''Sailor's Song,''
a romantic fable about a dreamy seaman grappling with the mysteries of love, death and destiny.
Return to Split Tree home page
Email: atlantawaltz [@] splittree.org See other waltz links below.
Atlanta Waltz Tips page, notes from Atlanta
and other waltzers
For first time dancers, see Atlanta Dance Directory at http://www.atldanceworld.com/, a guide to dancing in Atlanta, GA.
If you're interested in the basic ideas of partner dancing,
here's a good lesson web link (from the ballroom world).
Link: http://www.ballroomdancers.com/Learning_Center/Lesson/. Many of the fundamentals apply to improvised, slower social waltzing, although from my experience fast turning waltz is another universe of dance where different rules apply. Since variety is our philosophy, we expect our new ballroom dance friends, Michael and Vanessa, to teach some of these moves and ideas soon. Also at this link, starting on the home page, are samples of slow (90 BPM) and Viennese (180 BPM) music.
Atlanta's Creative Loafing newspaper article with Bob Folker photo on Atlanta Waltz Society, Jan. 8, 2004
Kind words from a new waltzer: "I have found the Atlanta dancing community to be composed of extraordinary people. I showed up at my first AWS dance a novice who knew almost nothing. I was greeted with smiling faces and offers of help. The experienced dancers were willing and eager to dance with me. I was surprised to find myself on the dance floor almost constantly. It didn't take me long to realize that I had discovered something special. The combination of friendly people, beautiful music and graceful, elegant dancing made an indelible impression on me. Now you know why I drive two hours to your dance." -- Many Thanks, Bob Bennett, Anniston, AL (by permission). AWS photos by Bob Bennett
The Nightly Planet: Ballroom dancing in Atlanta web news site -- where to go to learn many kinds of dancing
Some thoughts about Atlanta Waltz Society:
Due to the diversity of our dance community, we normally do not take holiday breaks unless dancers stop coming. For fall 2005, we have voted to remain at Knights of Columbus ballroom and return to weekly waltzes each Sunday 2-6 pm. The price remains $5. We will send regular email reminders but please check our web page before each dance for updates in event of emergencies or studio unavailability and for the program, which evolves as we all learn more about our waltz heritage. We may explore new dance spaces during the coming year, always with adequate notice, and we welcome suggestions for low-cost wooden dance floors inside the perimeter.
As usual willing tutors of both genders will work with dancers new to 3/4-time partner dance during our 3-6 pm regular dance times. We can offer or recommend special lessons during the week if there is enough interest from beginners. However, we are not a commercial ballroom dance community but rather a social waltz community at this stage of our development. We can recommend workshops, teachers, and ballroom studios for those just starting to learn couples dancing.
We welcome new CDs with selected waltzes we can sample for the dancers and if enjoyed by most to add to our collection. We offer many folk and popular waltzes but we always push the edge with new and different 3/4 time music from all over the world in every style; most work, some do not. Our mission is to offer the highest quality and variety of waltz music from waltzing's more than 200-year history and to allow dancers to explore and extend the range of their waltzing abilities and to meet exciting dance partners in a safe social space free of smoke and alcohol. We sometimes play a little swing, tango, blues, foxtrot, Latin, Cajun, etc but our focus and interest is what it was from the beginning in July 2000 -- a dance with varied waltz music both live and recorded for any style of waltzing or dance steps that couples create together and safely share. Soon we should be ready to offer Atlanta an evening of the finest waltzing anywhere and we believe learning the basic rotary waltz to the faster tempos, such as Strauss wrote, is the first step in that direction.
Sid Hetzler, AWS president Jay Aland, vice-president August 21, 2005
Dance Master Wisdom -- from Cincinatti's Vintage Dance web page
"Do not volunteer any directions about the dance, or even the correction of mistakes. Appear not to notice it, and wait quietly till your turn comes, when you can do it right. If you do interfere, depend upon it no one will thank you, or think you know more about the dance than themselves. Besides, it only adds to the confusion."
"If a person refuses to dance with you, bear the refusal with becoming grace: and if you perceive him/her afterwards dancing with another, seem not to notice it, for in these matters one is exempt from all explanations."
Dean Paton, from "Night Work-The Waltz Book": "I had to keep reminding myself that almost all great waltzes, from Viennese epics to Parisian musettes, and even those commercially inspired pop waltzes from the first years of the Twentieth Century, were meant to be danced first and listened to as an afterthought. The composers set out to entice a connection between two people who had learned to twirl in tandem. Was it not Strauss who wrote, "Connection is the opiate of the waltzer"? From Night Work Press. Copies of Jane Candice Bullard's little waltz book are available at Split Tree dance store.
Schedule: Each Sunday Afternoon
Atlanta Waltz Society is a not-for-profit organization with
all volunteer leadership; door fees go to rent, equipment, dues, insurance,
and live music.
President: Sid Hetzler
Note: We welcome volunteer leadership
to Split Tree waltz page
Split Tree Waltz Weekends (previous and current)
Stanford Univ. dance historian and social dance instructor Richard Powers started his waltz weekend series at Split Tree Farm in October 1997. They have been offered worldwide and the second full waltz week was at Stanford June 22-26.
Update: See Richard Powers' Wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Powers_(dance_historian)
Wikipedia public encyclopedia waltz
Waltz Bibliography page Split Tree Collection; library references
Photos: Richard Powers Nov. 7, 2004 AWS workshop
Richard Powers' Nov 5-7, 2004, Waltz Weekend and Gypsy Waltz Ball photos Mizilca's Gypsy Woman Dance Solo
Richard Powers' Nov. 1-3, 2002, Waltz Weekend and Gypsy Waltz Ball
Richard Powers Nov. 2003 Waltz Weekend and Gypsy Waltz Ball
Richard Powers' Waltz Weekend 10/98 at Split Tree Farm; related links
Richard Powers' Zen of Waltz Weekend at Split Tree, Apr. 30-May 2, 1999
Richard Powers' Old Vienna Ball at Split Tree, Nov. 3-5, 2000 photos
Richard Powers' Traveling Dances Weekend at Split Tree, Sept. 28-30, 2001
Richard Power's Thoughts and Musings on Dance
To attempt to learn waltz and related steps from written
instructions in a traditional ballroom style, go to dancetv.com.
("Welcome to the Ballroom Dance Group home page. If you have always
wanted to learn how to ballroom dance but never knew where to start, this is
the right place for you. You can start learning the Waltz,
and Swing by
looking at our Learn-Online
sections, or you can browse through our Dance
Tips section. Either way, you will be out on the floor and ballroom
dancing in no time!") This is a more structured
style than is done at the Atlanta Waltz Society's dances, where many styles
are danced in a improvisational way, but the material may give you the basic
language of waltz, partner dance, and leading and following.
You also can order videos, etc from this site.
Another major dance studio is Dancesport, one of New York City's largest ballroom and Latin studios.
You can find some other short articles about waltz history
http://www.centralhome.com/ballroomcountry/waltz.htm, http://www.bobjanuary.com/waltz.htm (that one has some waltzes to listen to), and http://www.streetswing.com/histmain/z3waltz.htm. (From Bejurin Cassady, Seattle Waltz etcetera)
If old dance manuals or instruction books are of interest, go to a Library of Congress site,
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/dihtml/dihome.html. Learn how to avoid the evils of the sinful waltz, as our 19th century ancestors saw this dangerous, scandalous practice.
American cities with regular waltzing (send us other locations
and web links):
New: Knoxville Waltz Society, each Friday night, 7-8 pm class, 8-9 pm, dancing
Portland, Oregon, "Waltz in Portland,"--monthly Sunday brunch waltzes in 1920s ballroom, the Viscount.
Philadelphia's 4th Sunday waltzing program -- their waltz links are a fascinating journey to the wide world of waltz
Waltzing in Seattle "Waltz etcetera, the Traveling Dance Company"
Glenn Echo Park, Washington, D.C. (old time Chautauqua assembly, now federal park with the huge Spanish Ballroom beloved by all dancers)
Link to photos of waltzing at Glenn ECho
Palo Alto and Berkeley, CA, 1st and 3rd Fridays, instruction by Joan Walton and Richard Powers
Atlanta, GA, 1st & 3rd Sundays Waltzing at Several Dancers Core studio, Decatur square near Emory University
Memphis, TN -- usually monthly but no web page yet
Waltzing couples in a Vienna Dance Hall (from Encyclopedia Britannica Dance History pages)
(Vienna Dance Cards and other useful waltz links) http://www.drawrm.com/dance.htm
(Richard Walter's waltz page; articles; Viennese waltz balls) http://www.paterson.k12.nj.us/~richwalt/strauss/
Photo of old-style circa 1820s Viennese waltzers from 19C print on wall of Piaristenkellar in Vienna
Patterson, NJ, Feb. 98 Strauss Ball
The Year of Strauss 1999 100th Anniversary page
Donald Daniel's Waltz Balls page: www.waltzballs.org
Waltz Writing Page (including text of NY Times articles from the past year on waltz and Vienna))
Says Goethe about waltzing, speaking as the hero in
the German romance novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther":
"Never have I moved so lightly. I was no longer a human being. To hold the most adorable creature in one's arms and fly around with her like the wind, so that everything fades away...."
Or as a early 20th century dance historian put it: "Character, expression, spirit, passion--everything the new era [starting with the French revolution in 1789] demanded from the dance, it found in the waltz....For the first time in centuries a dance conquers the world without the sanction of the powers that be, of courts, of dancing masters, of France....At the end of 1791 an anonymous author in Berlin writes that 'the waltz and the waltz only is now so fashionable that one sees nothing else at dances; if you just know how to waltz, everything goes fine...."
Or as that famous Southern
gentleman Rhett Butler put it: "You need to be
waltzed - and by someone who knows how."--paraphrase from Jeff J.
The WALTZ was a smash hit
from the very start, mesmerizing its listeners into non-stop revelry.
The waltz swept out of Germany in the middle of the eighteenth century
to conquer all of Europe, inspiring an old German verse: “Whosoever the
dance did discover/Had in mind each maid and lover/With all their
The name of the waltz is taken from the Italian ‘volver’
- to turn, or revolve. It was an outgrowth of the
ländler, a country dance in three-quarter time, and replaced the
heavy hopping and jumping movements with more polished and graceful
It was, indeed, rural lads and lasses who first found
these whirling steps so appealing. And so, the waltz originally was
decidedly low-brow and provincial. In those days, there was something
unsavory about a woman being gripped in a man’s embrace while whirling
in a frenzy around the dance floor.
The close contact with one’s partners body contrasted
sharply with the stately dances of the aristocracy - the minuets,
polonaises, and quadrilles - in which one kept one’s distance. A
first-hand account of a village dance in the latter part of the
eighteenth century read “The men dancers held up the dresses of their
partners very high so that they should not trail and be stepped on,
wrapped themselves both tightly in the covering, bringing their bodies
as closely together as possible, and thus whirling about went on in the
most indecent positions....
As they waltzed around on the darker side of the room,
the kissing and the hugging became still bolder. It is the custom of the
country, I know, and not as bad as it looks, but I can quite understand
why the waltz has been banned in parts of Swabia and Switzerland.”
Naturally, the scandalized upper classes could not
endure to have the lower classes having all the fun, and so, in time,
the waltz finally achieved a degree of legitimacy, yet not losing any of
its basic appeal.
The Austrian music scholar, Max Graf, has written, “If there exists a form of music that is a direct expression of sensuality, it is the Viennese Waltz. It was the dance of the new Romantic Period after the Napoleonic Wars, and the contemporaries of the first waltzes were highly shocked at the eroticism of this dance in which a lady clung to her partner, closed her eyes as in a happy dream, and glided off as if the world had disappeared. The new waltz melodies overflowed with longing, desire and tenderness.”
These new waltz melodies could trace their ancestry back
to the beer gardens of early eighteenth century Vienna, and to the rural
inns and tavern situated on the outskirts of Vienna and on the banks of
the Danube River. Traveling orchestras, some of them from the ships and
barges that plied the Danube, whetted the Viennese appetite for this new
dance, and the waltz craze soon reached epidemic proportions.
Into this dance-mad atmosphere stepped Josef Lanner and
Johann Strauss the elder, both band musicians and both at one time
members of the same orchestra. In the compositions of these two men the
waltz gained sophistication and a distinctly Viennese light-hearted
A contemporary music critic, Eduard Hanslick, wrote that
“You cannot imagine the wild enthusiasm that these two men created in
Vienna. Newspapers went into raptures over each new waltz, and
innumerable articles appeared about Lanner and Strauss.”
And when he visited he city in 1845, the composer Hector
Berlioz, too, was struck with the passion for the waltz . “The Viennese
youth abandons itself to its passion for dancing, a very real and
delightful passion, which has led the Viennese to make a very real art
of drawing-room dancing as far above the routine of our balls as the
orchestra and waltzes of Strauss are superior to the polkas and
strummers in the dancing salons of Paris. I have passed whole nights
watching thousands on incomparable waltzers whirling about . . ."
Until his death in 1899 kept Europe whirling in blissful
abandon. Even in 1919, H.L.Menken wrote: “The waltz never quite goes out
of fashion; it is always just around the corner; every now and then it
returns with a bang . . . It is sneaking, insidious, disarming, lovely.
. . .The waltz, in fact, is magnificently improper-the art of tone
turned lubricious. . . . There is something about a waltz that is
irresistible. Try it on the fattest and sedatest or even on the thinnest
and most acidulous of women, and she will be ready, in ten minutes, for
a stealthy smack behind the door-nay, she will forthwith impart the
embarrassing news that her husband misunderstands her and drinks too
much and is going to Cleveland, O. on a business trip tomorrow.”
Yes, the waltz is irresistible-and exceptionally durable. In a world where the Mosh and the Monkey are popular social dances, and the macarena, line dances, and the chicken dance sometimes seem to be the only alternatives, the waltz still holds on tenaciously to a small part of our dancing lives, for its lilting strains never fail to evoke three pleasure dearest to the heart of civilized man – wine, women, and song!
Return to Split Tree home page Email: atlantawaltz [@] splittree.org
Return to Split Tree home page 18 Apr 2015 15:28:47 -0400
From Jim Bird: "We will talk a little about the origin and nature of Cajun culture, music, and dance. Our emphasis will be on traditional Cajun Waltz. We will start with the basic, closed couples position, line of dance, counterclockwise, traveling movement and teach people to use the Woman's Right Hand three-quarter turn for negotiating corners. We will also teach the full Right Hand Turn for variety when going down the straight line before arriving at corners. Then we plan to teach a combination move from an open position, emphasizing that the leader must first navigate to the center of the floor for such "spot," in place, moves. First the leader will guide the partner to a Right Hand Turn ending in an open position. This will be immediately followed by a Man's Waist Wrap to get to an open crossed hands position. From here, we will teach couples to go directly into a Jolie and then a Reverse Jolie. Then we will teach them to continue the momentum into a Window followed by a Reverse Window. Finally, they will be taught to end this sequence by moving to a closed couples position and returning to the line of dance. We will emphasize the playful and flirtatious aspects of the Jolie and the Window. If we have time left over, we will introduce other traditional Cajun waltz moves. Bonnie and I will talk a little about Zydeco Waltz and the different nature of these two cousins. We will also teach the basic Zydeco Waltz."
On the light side :)-- Herr Professor Dr. Hetzler (shown in lederhosen at Split Tree's 1999 Old Vienna Waltz Ball with Stanford dancer vintage dancer Tara Rishko), waltz historian, distinguished occasional Vienna waltzer, founder of the Atlanta Waltz Society and Split Tree Farm studio, creator of the world famous Mozart Dance Salons, instigator of the Richard Powers Split Tree Waltz Weekends, and descendant of northern Austrian/southern German waltzers (known for their short legs and big ears and short fingers, genetic markers of the finest waltzers), has chosen, after a decade of systematic and intense field research while in the lovely arms of dozens, nay hundreds, of the most exquisite American and Viennese waltzing ladies as partners, to reveal a heretofore secret and believed to be a lost art of waltzing to a select group of Atlanta area waltzers who, he feels, are now sufficiently indoctrinated and psychologically prepared to be introduced to the long lost and, he has discovered, delicate secrets of the art of waltzing, a scandalous social behavior brought from the lawns of Germanic country taverns to local Viennese inns to the elegant balls of bored Viennese society and then from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the world, having been associated with as early as 1789 the adventuresome period known as the romantic revolution. (Translated literally from the German).
It is known that many European politicians much
preferred the subtle passion of their energetic waltz partners to the far more
risky passion of guns and cannon, the Congress having been criticized widely (or
complimented?) that it does not march, it dances. The English dancing master,
Wilson, was in fact afraid to publish in 1816 in London the real dance that
Viennese ladies, and naturally also the gentlemen, so much loved out of fear of
inciting a woman's revolution in early Victorian England and in backward
colonies such as America. Now, at last, select members of the Atlanta Waltz
Society can hear the truth revealed, a Masonic type of truth known to President
George Washington if not to American's most recent president, who has chosen to
march and not to dance. This same secret of waltzing also will be presented in
a more scholarly format at the annual meeting of the Split Tree Society of Fools
Apr 1-3 (seminar registration below). Do not tell your friends; this seminar
is only for members in good standing of the Atlanta Waltz Society (those who
have attended one dance or intend to do so). A simple waltzing secret,
beginners will be amazed to discover in no more than one hour's seminar the
powerful force waiting to be released within them and their partner. A class
prerequisite is that dancers release the professor and AWS from all liability
and risk of consequences from romantic entanglements and intimate encounters.
Therefore, it is wise to be on time for this encounter so as not to miss the
simple first move.
3 to 6 pm, Continue to explore with Herr Prof. Hetzler the lost art of waltzing to the great classical, traditional and popular waltzes--from Mozart to Elton John and liven up a cold winter Sunday afternoon.
"So, Albert, who cares if neither of us is leading now?
Don't be so macho.
When you're on a slick floor like this,
it's the frame that counts.
And stay on your toes so we can do that spinning thing.
What is this traveling turning waltz anyway?"