Welcome to 1920s England, and the era of “Old Time”. This is a truly old-school dance that has stood the test of time in Australia thanks to its simplicity and beauty. Danced primarily in shadow hold, until the waltz ending, the sequence has swivels, walks, and locks, with a classic break-away to natural waltz ending. The pattern of this dance is not difficult to learn at all; it’s getting it working with your partner is the trick.
Learn the Parma Waltz at Long-Steps
We’ll take you through all the steps from scratch. This is a beginner level dance so, no prior dance experience is required. You do not need a partner to learn the dance, your instructor will dance through it with you.
Long-Steps teaches the Parma Waltz according to a combination of Russ Hesketh’s New Vogue Championship Dances (6th Ed.) and Neville Boyd’s New Vogue Sequence Dancing and the Viennese Waltz.
History of the Parma Waltz
The Parma Waltz was invented and arranged by N. C. Locke (Sunderland) with music composed by Gilbert C. Handy. The dance was Awarded 1st Class Diploma at the British Association of Dancing, 28th Annual Conference, June 1920.
It is reported that, at the bottom of the original script, the following notation is included.
This dance must not be performed unless the original music is used for same, but may be played or danced in public without fee or licence.
The Parma Waltz doesn't appear to have survived in England, but it became popular in Australia along with the Pride of Erin (1911) by the 1930s.
Routine Length: 32 Bars
Time Signature: 3/4
Musical Selection: Waltz
Tempo Range: 48 to 54 bars per minute
The Parma Waltz may also be danced in 6/8 time. In this case the routine would be 16 bars long, and have a scripted tempo range of 24 to 27 bars per minute. However, this is uncommon due to the general composition of music written in 6/8. The triplet form of 6/8 music (123 456 or 1&a 2&a) gives pieces written in this signature 2 strong beats per bar giving the music a feeling of being closer to 2/4 than 3/4. As New Vogue waltz dances often have steps lasting 1, 2, or 3 beats (in 3/4 time) the feeling of 6/8 music can make the learning process difficult.
Despite 6/8 time being less appropriate for dancing and learning the New Vogue waltzes, students often benefit from counting these sequences in 6’s (2 bars at a time). Counting the dance in this way helps make sense of the different step values through different figures and movements.