View Full Version : Austrian Dopers: How popular is the Viennese Waltz?

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02-26-2010, 03:59 PM
They have a Viennese waltz ball once a year in Washington DC.

I was wondering, in Austria, especially Vienna, do they have one every week?

How popular is it? Does the average dude on the street know it?

02-26-2010, 04:13 PM
Not an Austrian, but watching from across the border:

There's the very famous Vienna Opera ball (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Opera_Ball)once a year. (It's broadcast on TV). This ball also is the event for Debutantes from the upper society.

Also the famous New Years concert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_New_Year%27s_Concert)of the Viennese Philharmonics has lots of Strauss waltz pieces and a section in the middle where ballet dancers do the waltz.

As for being popular: I guess it's similar to Germany, where middle- and upper-class people are expected to have taken a course in the classical dance forms which include the most classical of all, the Vienna waltz. The average working dude on the street would not be expected to know it, because he doesn't move in circles where the opportunity for such balls come up often.

But even that has changed over the generations - in the 50s, the dance lessons were also lessons on proper etiquette for the young men; in the 80s, nothing about etiquette, and besides the waltz, we even did disco.

The best season for dances is the Fasching or Karneval. In summer there might be open-air concerts with waltz music in certain places (like during Strauss times), but a real Viennese would know more about that.

02-26-2010, 10:29 PM
I lived there for a little bit. Well-heeled teens (upper-middle--upper class kids, as constanze says) learn it in school or at dance lessons, and then attend a ball or two in Fasching season/Sylvester, around New Years-- some of them seemed to me like mixers for the good high schools (like a tasteful prom or something-- no real American equivalent that I can think of... cotillion? I'm raised in the wrong social class to know), while some were more 'community' with people of all ages (heavy on the later teens-20s-30s) (I got taken to one of these and was predictably fish-out-of-water). December is big in the semi-formal dance circuit.

02-27-2010, 05:30 AM
The term "Viennese Waltz" is a bit ambiguous, as it can refer to anything from waltz in general (since the Viennese Waltz was the original waltz) to any of various specific forms of waltz. If you mean waltz in general, I'd imagine it's at least as popular in Austria as it is in the rest of the Western world. Many North American school districts (including mine, for example) include it as part of the high school physical education curriculum. We spent several weeks learning the waltz, the polka, the foxtrot, and many other classical and modern dances.

02-28-2010, 11:41 PM
I'm very envious of those of you who learned to dance in school. I'll have to add that to the list of ways that my pre-calculus time could have been better spent.