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Waltz: Tying my dancers to 3/4 timing?
Posted by Jacksonuk
7/18/2017  9:57:00 AM
THE QUESTION: When teaching wedding couples, must Waltz only be done to wedding songs in 3/4 time or is it "okay" to apply it to songs in 4/4 timing if its a one time thing?

CONTEXT:
I teach a lot of wedding couples, and often times they come in with songs that are in 4/4 time, so I just teach them the Rumba. The problem I run into though is the tempo is too slow, and even when I use syncopated footwork it becomes awkwardly fast.

Here are a few examples of songs I'm talking about:



I have transferred wedding couples over to dancing Waltz sometimes. My reasoning being I think the steady 123 footwork is easier for the wedding couple than whatever method of S-Q-Q I am having them do, but then get chastised by my coworkers because the timing is wrong.

I'm not seeking validation for my PoV. Just a larger consensus of opinions on either "Yeah, you can't. The timing must be 3/4" or "It's not correct, but it's 'okay'."
Re: Waltz: Tying my dancers to 3/4 timing?
Posted by Jonathan Atkinson
7/18/2017  11:17:00 AM
Waltz, by definition, is music played in 3/4 time. Literally the only thing that defines the word "waltz" from the standpoint of music is its time signature, 3/4. So calling something a "4/4 Waltz" is a contradiction in terms.

That being said, you can absolutely give your students Waltz choreography to 4/4 music, to the counts "slow-quick-quick". There are certain pieces of 4/4 music (especially certain ballads) that don't really qualify stylistically as, say Foxtrot or Rumba, and where one might prefer to dance in the syllabus and style of a classic Slow Waltz. And even though it may be little more than an issue of semantics, I would advise against calling it Waltz outright. To anybody who knows better, you might come off as not totally educated on the matter, so you're better off describing it as exactly what it is -- Waltz choreography danced to 4/4 music.

Incidentally, "What a Wonderful World" is either in 12/8, or at least has a strong 12/8 feel, which can be somewhat awkward for Waltz box-like actions taken to SQQ timing. For social dancing I would recommend either some sort of simple Blues pattern, or even possibly something like Nightclub 2-Step, which would have a sort of "1-a2" count when danced to 12/8 feel.

Regards,
Jonathan
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