I don’t write Regency, but often think it would be great fun to send a hip-hopper back to 1820’s England. Just think of the possible plotlines! During the Regency period, the waltz caused as much of an uproar as Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Yep, the boring 1-2-3, 1-2-3 waltz. The dance was considered outrageous and initially condemned by polite society. Never before had men and women actually embraced in public.
So where did the waltz come from? No one actually invented the dance, it evolved from a German folk dance into the Walzer, which basically means a rotating movement. The dance became popular in Vienna and migrated to Paris via Napoleon’s soldiers. The waltz later glided across the channel to merry old England.
The three-quarter timing is one of the most distinguishing features of the waltz. Each measure of music has three beats rather than the more common four and this timing is pretty unique to the waltz. When dancing, you literally count 1-2-3, 1-2-3, with a heavy emphasis on the one. Graceful turns are essential for polished dancers.
The dance has endured for over two-hundred years. Pretty impressive. Even in today’s hip hop world, the waltz has been touted as being one of the world’s five most popular dances—with foxtrot, rumba, cha-cha, and swing being the other four. Don’t ask me who compiles these surveys, because I find the statistics a bit suspect. Still, no one can deny the staying power of this once “shocking” dance.
Now that you understand a bit of the waltz’s history and the scandal it created in ballrooms, how would you insert a head-spinning, hard-hitting crumper with low slung jeans into the Regency waltzing mix?