Viennese Waltz, A Dance You’ll Fall in Love With

Turn, turn, turn…that pretty much describes the Viennese Waltz. Oh, wait, there’s something else. Turn, turn, turn…fast, fast, fast! In other words, yeah, it’s quick. But, nothing says Disney princess like Cinderella’s Waltz with the Prince.

Differences between American Style and International Style Viennese Waltz.

Dance Position

The first thing you’ll notice is that the American Viennese Waltz incorporates every dance position in the book. What that means is the couple uses open movements where they may briefly separate from body contact while dancing.

The International Viennese Waltz maintains body contact throughout the dance. Therefore, open movements are a no-no.

Viennese Waltz at the ball.
Viennese Waltz at a Ball.


The tempo is the speed of the music and is measured in Beats Per Measure (BPM). International VW is danced at a brisk tempo of 168-174 BPM.

The American VW is danced a bit slower at 159-162 BPM. This is to accommodate the open actions that are so common in this dance.

Thanks to for this list of acceptable dance tempos for American and International Style dances. Click and scroll down to see the list.

The challenge of creating expression while rotating.

The International VW consists of just a few patterns. But, you’ll find it’s absolutely mesmerizing to watch. For one thing, the smoothness of the dance seems impossible considering the speed at which the couple is moving. It’s both serene and elegant.

On the other hand, American VW seems playful and almost flirty. Moving in and out of partnership creates a game-like feel, almost like Hide and Go Seek.

American VW is like playing hide and go seek.
Ready or not, here I come.

By the way, it’s become one of the most popular styles for the wedding first dance.

What does it look like?

Here’s a pro-am demonstration of American Viennese Waltz from Bravo Dancing Ballroom Academy at SOHO Dance LA. For International Viennese Waltz, we see competing professionals, Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova.

Before you rush to the studio to tell your teacher you want to learn this amazing dance, slow down. For the purpose of safety, I’m gonna recommend that you spend some time with slow Waltz first. Better safe than sorry.

For some more Waltz love, read the Dance Safari post, “Types of Waltz in Ballroom Dancing“.

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