The Waltz is a turning, gliding dance in ¾ time that overcame initial opposition to revolutionize, and ultimately dominate social dancing from 1750 to 1900. A direct outgrowth of the German and Austrian Landler and Deutsche, the Waltz appeared in France after the Revolution (displacing the Minuet) and in England in 1812. Its universal adoption marked the first occasion in centuries that mass taste prevailed in dance without the official sanction of either courts or dancing masters.
Emerging today in two accepted forms, known respectively as the Modern (or Diagonal) Waltz, known also as Slow Waltz and the restricted five figures Viennese (or Quick) Waltz. The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either in a clockwise (natural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direction interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in a properly danced Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while travelling counterclockwise around the floor following each other. International Style Viennese Waltz is danced in closed position. The syllabus is limited to natural and reverse turns, Changes, Fleckerls, Contra Check, Left Whisk, and canter time Pivots (Canter Pivots). American Style Viennese Waltz has much more freedom, both in dance positions and syllabus.