How to dance Waltz for Beginners

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dance couple dancing the waltz

How to Dance Waltz

When learning to dance for the first time. Waltz is a popular option for beginner dancers. The music is slower tempo and it a nice easy dance to learn when you are just starting out.

Timing: Waltz is 3/4 timing and is counted 1, 2, 3.

Characteristic: Waltz is a fun, elegant dance that flows around the dance floor. One of the main characteristics of this dance is the Rise and Fall.


Basic Steps of Waltz

Waltz Box

The first waltz step you should learn is the Waltz Box.

Leader’s Footwork:

  • Front Half of Box Step: Left foot foward, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight.
  • Back Half of Box Step: Right foot back, Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left and change weight.

Follower’s Footwork:

  • Back Half of Box Step: Right foot back, Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left and change weight.
  • Front Half of Box Step: Left foot foward, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight.

Check out the video below to learn how to dance the waltz box.

Waltz Change Step

The next step to learn in Waltz is the change step. For a new dancer this is an important step because it helps you move around the room.

Leader’s Footwork:

  • Forward Change step Left foot lead: Left foot foward, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight.
  • Forward Change step Right foot lead: Right foot forward, Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left and change weight.

Follower’s Footwork:

  • Backwards Change step with Right foot lead: Right foot back, Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left and change weight.
  • Backwards Change step with Left foot lead: Left foot backwards, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight.

Check out the video below to learn how to dance the change step in waltz.

Waltz Underarm Turn

So far we have discussed the basic waltz box and then I gave you the change step which helps you move around the floor. The next step to learn is a underarm turn for the follower. 

Leader’s Footwork:

  • Basic Box (count 1-2-3, 1-2-3)
  • Front Half of Box Step: Left foot forward, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight. (count 1-2-3)
  • Back Half of Box Step while raising Left hand for underarm turn: Right foot back (as you take the step back raise your left arm), Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left and change weight. (count 1-2-3)
  • Front Half of Box Step: (count 1-2-3)
  • Back Half of Box Step: Right foot back (invite the follower back into closed positon), Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left and change weight. (count 1-2-3)

Note: After the follower does the underarm turn resume closed position.

Follower’s Footwork:

  • Basic Box (count 1-2-3, 1-2-3)
  • Back Half of Box Step: Right foot back, Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left and change weight. (count 1-2-3)
  • Underarm turn right: Left foot foward (leader will raise the follower’s right hand – make sure you continue to make your step straight at the leader), Right foot forward beginning to walk under right hand, Left foot forward, Right foot forward, Left foot forwarad, Right foot forward – each step will continue to walk around for underarm turn. (count 1-2-3, 1-2-3)
  • Front Half of Box Step: Left foot forward – joining back together with the leader, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right and change weight. (count 1-2-3)

Check out the video below to learn how to dance the underarm turn in waltz.

Waltz Music

Waltz music is generally slower then the faster tempos of rhythm dances. 

Check out this spotify playlist for Waltz music.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of shoes should I wear to dance in?

Generally Ballroom dance shoes have a leather bottom that allow you to slide around the dance floor. For ladies the smooth dances like waltz and foxtrot it is ideal to wear closed toe shoes.


What are the basic dance steps of waltz?

The basic dance steps any new beginner should learn are waltz box, change step and underarm turn.

How do you waltz around a room?

The beginner waltz box is more of a stationary step where you don’t really travel much around the room. That is why we added the Waltz change step to our list because it helps you travel down line of dance and make it around the room.   

Is Waltz easy to learn?

I definitely recommend Waltz as one of the first dances you learn. One of the main skills sets you need to learn with Waltz is being able to change weight. This is key with our basic steps like the Waltz box and the change step. With practice you can definitely learn how to dance the Waltz.

What to learn more about American Waltz?

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