First waltzes were danced internationally in the areas of today's Germany and Austria, back in the 13th century. It was quickly picked up by other countries who each created their own form and style of the dance. Napoleon and his army are said to have been responsible for bringing Waltz to the rest of the world. In 1812, the dance was introduced into England as the German Waltz and was considered a huge sensation.
The first version of the Waltz, also known as the Boston Waltz, was brought to America around 1830 and is known to have fewer steps and a slower tempo. It eventually was deemed as the International Slow Waltz. There is also a version known as the American waltz, which is represented with more open positions.
By 1864, Strauss was exclusively composing music for the dance and drove the Waltz to popularity, for which he earned the title The Waltz King. Three years later, the song “On the Beautiful Blue Danube,” commonly known as the Danube Waltz, was composed and is recognized as the unofficial Austrian anthem today.
Considered THE ballroom dance of today, the dignified, sweeping movement of the Waltz gives dancers an opportunity to move lightly with ease — it helps develop balance and control. The basic Waltz steps are foundational patterns used in most ballroom dances. Proper posture, rise and fall, and flowing movements should be practiced to achieve accurate styling.
Today, the Waltz is primarily taught around the world at Arthur Murray Dance Centers. It is also still danced in competitions and as a traditional wedding dance to songs.