Basic Waltz – Close Change and Natural Turn

This lesson demonstrates that with just two basic ideas, the close change and the natural turn, a beginner can progress around the dance floor.

There are two common problems. When your feet come together, you rise slightly on your toes and then lower changing weight so you can take the next step. Notice that the partners are slightly offset to the left, so the the person stepping forward on LEFT steps outside the partner, and stepping forward on the RIGHT steps directly between your partners feet.

I post this because on Saturday night, this was what I danced with one of the new ladies at Walter's dance.

Professional Paso Doble Demonstration, 2013


Until recent years, I’ve been unable to connect with the Paso Doble.  I’m now tempted to try it.  It’s a two-step, but Spanish in origin, emulating a bull-fight.  In our dancing, circle there are about eight couples who dance  the Paso Doble, none quite as dramatic as this, but they still get applause from the other dancers. 

Sindy Swing – as a Progressive Dance

The Sindy Swing is a popular beginners sequence dance, in quickstep time.

This dance group has history. It’s run by the Bristol Aeroplane Company Welfare Association, which was formed 80 years ago. Filmed 8 years ago with a live music, by Larry Green on keyboard. Everyone dressed up, this was clearly a special occasion. 

Most Wednesday and Saturday nights this dance features in the programme of dances our group does, although we don’t dance the progressive version.  (Progressive in this context means changing partners. The men progress forward to the next partner in this case.) 

What’s a Grand March?

The critical thing about the Grand March is participation, and that everyone does the same thing, so it’s a way of demonstrating unity, and skill, and cooperation.

Typically a circle of couples, becomes two circles marching  in opposite directions, when they meet, they form lines of four, parading down the center of the room.

Lines of four split two ways and then they meet they become a line of eight.  and these lines assemble facing the stage. 

There are many ways of making this parade much more complex. In Austria debutants practice for months to perform formation dances as part of the march. The Scottish and the Victorian English have taken the tradition around the world. 

There may be a small formal process, like a welcome. and at the end people usually form a circle and do a well known dance.  

The Grand March Begins
Everyone Assembled

The photographs are from the Scottish Country Dance Society Ball, in Wellington. 

Simple Dances – Where did they go?

Sixty years ago before Television, perhaps while TV was still black and white, dancing was a very important social activity.

Just after WWII, I’m told that on a Saturday night there were about FORTY public dances in Christchurch. All those dances required a dance band, often quite small three or four people, often playing country or folk music, Piano, Accordion, Banjo, Fiddle and drums.

The St Bernard’s Waltz, as danced in Blackpool, UK, in December, 2021.  Notice the children at the dance.

That was also common at country dances in New Zealand, where there was no (official) alcohol allowed near dances. (But drinking in the car-park was often tolerated although illegal.) That was also before families were expected to find a babysitter if the parents went out.

The St Bernards Waltz vanished in Christchurch about 20 years ago. You can see why, it’s not modern. It’s very simple. there are only FOUR parts.

Side close and stamp (Actually heal taps)

Side close and walk to center

Walk to wall and ladies turn

Waltz turn to finish

So simple that you can do it already. But for experienced dancers it was boring, so it vanished, like the Military Two Step, and the Gay Gordons, and the Valetta, and more than twenty others.  You can’t turn the clock back, I’m not suggestion that we start dancing the St Bernard’s Waltz, or the Boston Two Step, but please treasure the fairly simple dances that remain, like the Merrilyn, and the Oslo Waltz.

Walter’s Easter Saturday Dance

Ladies Highland Pipe Babd, 1958

Walter’s Dance is on Saturday, 16th April.

In the Beckenham Primary School Hall, at 7.30pm

Admission $10, a light supper provided. – R.O.A.R

A mystery question for you. Someone very involved in Walter’s Dance is the Drum Major in the City of Christchurch Ladies Highland Pipe Band photographed above..

Can we maintain a Blog?

This blog is new, an experiment. It will be successful or  not depending on the ability of the Dance Sport Canterbury Committee, and our members to keep providing interesting content. This photograph very nicely  shows who we are.

Social dancers on Saturday night
Social Dancing in Christchurch

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