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The Boston Waltz Worksheet

Decent Essays
Historically, the waltz began as an Austrian peasant dance around the seventeenth century. Developing in the eighteenth century, the waltz was accepted by the upper classes in France thereby increasing its popularity. It was in these European dance halls that the three-quarter rhythm became permanent. More modifications to the waltz came nearing the end of the nineteenth century. At this point, the dance had started gaining the interest on a global level travelling all the way to the United States (Waltz Dance History). Two main modifications that appeared during this period were ‘the Boston’ and the ‘hesitation.’ The Boston was a slower waltz with long, gliding steps. Although this stylized version disappeared with World War I, it stimulated…show more content…
Coming from a background with ballet training, it was not hard to adapt to the strict posture of the waltz. In both genres of dance, the top of the body is to look grand and beautiful. This is attained by a contraction of the ribs, while a simultaneous lift of the sternum. In both forms, the arms are carried from engaging the back muscles and shaping the arms to the desired positions. The difference between the waltz and ballet, however, is what happens with the lower half of the body. To break down what I learned in class, the waltz is basically a series of steps that return to a basic position. The “elegant” top stays shaped throughout the dance. The movement of the waltz is hard to describe simply because “the qualities belong specifically to the dance” (Deborah Jowitt, p.7). The best description would be by linking images with wordplay (Deborah Jowitt, p.9). It is as if the dancers are to slide across ice; the female supported by the male’s outstretched arms. The world has stopped in pause to watch the two glide freely in the…show more content…
The concept of gender is rarely discussed in class because “it is just how the dance is.” Maybe because of it’s historical roots in an era where there was male superiority; or maybe it is just following societal norms, but the waltz is very tenured for the male dancer. Part of the technique is described as “lead and follow.” Men are referred to as leads while women are referred to as follows. I found it interesting to take instructions and substitute the gender in place of lead and follow. For example, the instructor described our roles saying, “Leads, you must be in charge, while followers you must be submissive to your lead.” When substituted, the teacher basically said that men must take charge while women have to be compliant to him. I was reassured by this when it came to the point in class where we were to try to string together sequences. The “followers” were told to follow what the “leads” communicates to you through the dance. By a push on the shoulder, the “follows” were told to spin. By the rotation of the men's arms, the women knew to change the direction of travel. I thought this concept was interesting to link to a dance that seemed to be so pure and
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