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Ballet Talk for Dancers

balance vs waltz


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I know I remember reading about this ..... maybe a year ago? But I did a search and couldn't find the thread I thought I had seen before. So anyway, would someone explain to me the difference between a balance and a waltz step? In my class balance is always done side to side, and we usually do waltz across the floor with a turn, but the basic step seems the same :) I know that a balance can travel and turn as well, so there must be some other difference. Any help???


Thank you!


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Balancé and pas de valse are first cousins. A balancé is done with turnout, and certainly may be done turning, but with the pas de valse, practically everything is sacrificed to the turning. Usually, there's really little turnout and the step is done in sixth (first neutral) position. Some schools codify it very tightly, but in the main, it's a very free, skimming step.

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Yes, skip, that's a good way to describe it. A waltz step is like triplets in modern dance, done turning.

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  • 2 weeks later...

hmm... "interesting", as they say...


in my experience, the terms 'waltz', 'valse', 'waltz balance', 'balance' and 'pas de valse' are often - rightly or wrongly!! - used interchangeably!


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Yes, I remember the thread about this as well, here it is:


The basic difference between the pas de valse step (waltz) and balancé is that in a pas de valse your legs never cross, in a balancé they do.







Thank you all very much!

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Balance' are usually done right-left-right-left ad infinatum, where a Valse almost always continues in the same direction.


You would rarely if ever do a Balance with a partner


A Valse looks great with a partner.



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Just as an aside, in teaching the waltz step, I'm sure all teachers here have seen students' difficulty in grasping what appears to be a rather simple combination. What I've found helps initially is to have them start it from the corner standing in first position with arms simply held in second, and then emphasizing that it is always the downstage leg that brushes as they keep turning (as opposed to telling them it's right, then left, etc.) Or you can say, it's always the leg closest to the mirror, if that applies to your situation. Other teacher comments?

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Just a semi amusing note. I think the ballet waltz step was absolutely the most difficult easy step for me to learn. Seriously, I could do a reasonably consistent double pirouette before I could really do the waltz step. The biggest problem for me was that I began dancing as a competitive ballroom dancer and Viennese waltz (same music as ballet waltz) was pretty good for me. But the ballroom waltz and the ballet waltz have zero in common other than that both turn (but in essentially opposite directions). And the concept of swing is paramount in ballroom and nonexistent in ballet. Add the fact that we didn’t do the waltz much in ballet class and seemed primarily to use it to “skitter” across the floor, and I was a complete mess.


It wasn’t until I told myself that I was being ridiculous and took two days of one hour each just to learn the %$#& ballet waltz that it finally sunk in. And even now, years later, I still feel foolish doing the ballet waltz step though I’m doing it technically correct. I’m ready to ballroom waltz right now in fact, though I haven’t done it for 6 years.

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