The Viennese Waltz and the Quick Step

The Viennese Waltz which was derived from the Austrian Landler is an elegant hasty, whirling dance where the partners hold each other as if in a romantic embrace. This raised more than a few eyebrows of “polite” society of the time. The increase in popularity of the Viennese Waltz, like the standard waltz, can at least in part be contributed to the music of Johann Strauss and to Vienna’s famous ballrooms. As with the common waltz the music can be either vocal or instrumental and can be classical, country, or even rock.

The Viennese Waltz

Dancing the Viennese Waltz
Frank Veloz and Yolanda Casazza dancing the Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz is a faster paced dance than the standard waltz, which also makes it more challenging to do. Like the normal waltz the Viennese Waltz incorporates a straightforward, elegant rotation and swinging movements, though there should be no foot rise on the inner turns. The Viennese Waltz also requires a large amount of stamina, the equivalent, actually of the amount of energy that would be required to dance a polka.

The Viennese Waltz uses a right turn (natural turn), a left turn (reverse turn) and two change steps that link the moves between the turns. Dancing the line of dance (direction of traffic – turning left at the corners of the dance floor) and rotating in a clockwise direction is the Natural Turn. Following the line of dance and rotating in a counter-clockwise direction is the Reverse Turn. The step links (change steps) allow you to change directions while still following the line of dance.

The step links are simply two normal steps down the line of dance followed by a third step sliding the moving foot to the standing foot. By performing a string of change figures you can work your way through the tight spots on a crowded dance floor then resume the rotation. The “sway” is simply leaning slightly in the opposite direction of the line of dance movement.

The Quick Step

The Quick Step: The Charleston, the Black Bottom, the Shimmy and probably a couple other dances all melded into a quicker version of the Fox Trot, which in 1923 became called the Quick Step. The evolution of the Quick Step ended with a dance that utilizes a large number of movement, hops, runs, Quick Steps and rotation. It is a very brisk, energetic dance that was developed with very quick jazz music from the ragtime era.

The Quick Step is a fast, happy, lighthearted dance, the footwork can be slightly complex using a slow, quick, quick, slow, quick, quick tempo. Like other dances the slow steps on the heel, Quick Steps on the toes.

The Quick Step utilizes a quick moving up and down swing motion. It’s essential to look light on your feet even supposing the movements are powerful. Owing to the quickness of the dance keeping in sync with your life-partner and attempting to keep similar tension in the legs is a necessity. More so than the other dances facial expression is essential to rapid the fun aspect of the dance.

By Archie Terrell

A more detailed description can be found on WaltzBalls.



  1. Anne Pooley

    Hello, With reference to your Viennese Waltz video, could you please tell me the name of that music. Is it an extract? With thanks, Anne Pooley, Perth Australia

  2. Hi. I didn’t recognise it either. A little detective works reveals that it’s “Mignonette”, as played by the Orchester Werner Tauber. I found a video on YouTube at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge