Vals Argentino, Tango Waltz, etc, whatever you call it. How do you feel about it? What makes the feeling a waltz instead of a tango?
I went to a workshop this past weekend on the subject. A lot of it was review, but there was one kind of new concept for me... creating a feeling of suspension. Waltz music naturally has that feeling of floating, spinning, turning. One way to create the motion of floating in dancing is to suspend your movement with the 1-2-pause step.
To review... there are three basic ways to step in Vals:
step 1, hold 2, hold 3, etc.
step 1, step 2, hold 3, etc.
step 1, hold 2, step 3, etc.
I suppose there also exists the fourth step 1, step 2, step 3, but Argentine Waltzes are so bloody fast, it'd be hard to keep up stepping on every beat.
So the second musical pattern was the one we focused on in the workshop. Stepping on 1, stepping on 2, then holding until the next downbeat. The trick it seems is not really to hold in place, but to use the music and the moment to sort of go into slow motion until you land your step on the next downbeat. If you listen closely to the music, and happen to land it perfectly on a measure where the second beat is accented, it works out very well, looking and more importantly feeling excellent.
As far as dance steps go, almost any step can work with this pattern. Rocksteps are clearly an easy way to warm up to it. Then you can work your way into using the rhythm in the turn, or slipping in and out of cross-system with the leader marking the second beat, leaving the follower stepping on 1. The step we practiced in class was actually a variation on this, with the follower stepping in ochos, and the leader stepping 1,2 inside and outside of her feet.
So yeah. Good stuff to review. Vals isn't all just turning in circular movements, you have to play with the music too.
[edit: changed the subject so that others won't get confused with Standard or Smooth Waltz