The Swing Waltz is a fun and energetic New Vogue sequence. With numerous “swing” actions or “aerials”, solo turns, and plenty of opportunities to add your own creativity, this dance is a popular one among dancers. With a nice balance of different steps and repeating musical themes, the Swing Waltz is the perfect intermediate level dance for those looking for a challenge or a chance to add some creative style to their dancing.
Learn the Swing Waltz at Long-Steps
We’ll take you through all the steps from scratch. This is an intermediate level dance so, some dance experience is advantageous. You do not need a partner to learn the dance, your instructor will dance through it with you.
Long-Steps teaches the Swing 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 Swing Waltz
The modern version of the Swing Waltz is credited to Albert Boal in 1947. However, an earlier script for the dance, known as The Australian Swing Waltz, was choreographed by Jack Kennedy in 1939. It is possible the credit for this early script was lost in the war years, yet it is more likely that Albert Boal’s modifications and dissemination of the dance through Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne sets it apart from the original.
In her 1974 publication Take Your Partners: Traditional Social Dancing in Colonial Australia, Shirley Andrews recounts her experiences with the Swing Waltz.
The Swing Waltz is one of 20 or so sequence dances created in Australia. Originating in Sydney, it was first brought to Melbourne in 1947 by dancing teacher Albert Boal who had seen it danced in Brisbane. He added the Viennese Waltz variation to it, and it has become very popular in Victoria among the New Vogue Old Time dancers. It is also done in some country districts and I first saw it done at a Nariel Folk Festival in 1976 by some visitors from Bamawn (near Echuca). The version here with the alternative waltz section as a reverse Viennese Waltz is the version issued by the Combined Societies Old Time Standardisation Committee in 1962. I have also given the ordinary circular waltz ending which I have seen danced in some places, and which is closer to the original.
Routine Length: 32 Bars
Time Signature: 3/4
Musical Selection: Waltz
Tempo Range: 48 to 54 bars per minute
The Swing 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.