Monday, August 18, 2008

The Hesitation Waltz

The dancers assume the ordinary plain Waltz position. Then the man steps back with the right foot, taking two steps on two counts, alternating the right and left foot; then he moves forward two steps--right foot, left foot--again allowing each step to fill in one count of the music. Thus, to be very explicit, four counts have been occupied, but the steps should not be directly forward and backward, leaving you in the same position; you should turn and travel just a little. For the next two counts the gentleman allows his weight to rest on his left foot. This creates the sense of hesitation in the dance which has given it its name.

The lady starts forward--left, right, and back left, right--finally holding her weight on the right foot through the fifth and sixth counts. Then she goes back on her left foot for the next part of the step--left, right, and then forward, left, right--finally holding her weight as before on the two last counts. I might add here that a great many people start with the hesitating steps and finish with the Waltz. That is a matter of preference.

This measure could be continued indefinitely. By counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and holding or hesitating the 5, 6, you can't very well go wrong; and you are doing the Hesitation Waltz.

Of course, were this all, it would be a very tiresome dance. So you vary it slightly by doing either two or three' ordinary Waltz measures--or some of the figures I am about to explain or some of your own. After you have a rough idea of this first step, I advise you to cease counting and try to do the hesitation when the music seems to "ask it"--if you know what I mean. Nearly every good Waltz has certain strains which, if you have a good ear for music, you will not fail to recognize as calling for some sort of hesitation or pause.

In my opinion it is much better to hesitate when the music hesitates, and, when it does not, simply do the ordinary Waltz movement or steps to that tempo. Avoid always the terrible schedule which obliges you to waltz, hesitate, waltz, hesitate, etc., no matter what tune is being played or who is in your way. That kind of dancing belongs to the people who count to themselves, looking up at the ceiling, 1, 2, 3--1, 2, 3--1, 2, 3.

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