The Cellarius Waltz

Sometimes called the Mazurka, though generally best known by the name of its inventor, M. Cellarius, of Paris. It was imported to England in 1845, two years after the introduction of the Polka; and, although it never attained so great a popularity as its predecessor, it was favorably received, and much danced in the best circles. Still it failed to achieve the decided success which might have been reasonably expected from its elegance and beauty. Perhaps one reason of this disappointing result was that many inefficient performers attempted to dance it before they had mastered its somewhat difficult step, and brought it into disrepute by their ungraceful exhibitions. But the grand secret of its partial failure lay in the mania for rapid whirling dances, introduced by the Polka. While the rage for “fast dancing” continued, the measured grace of the Cellarius stood no chance. Now that it has at last happily abated, people are better prepared to appreciate the refined and quiet charm of this really beautiful waltz. To dance it well requires some practice; and particular attention must be paid to the carriage and position of the figure, since no dance is more thoroughly spoiled by an awkward, stiff, or stooping attitude.

We proceed to describe the step, so far as it may be possible to do so in words; but we have an uneasy consciousness that all such descriptions bear a close resemblance to those contained in certain little volumes designed to instruct our fair readers in the mysteries of knitting, netting, and crochet. “Slip two, miss one, bring one forward,” &c., may convey to the mind of the initiated a distinct idea of the pattern of a collar; but are hardly satisfactory guides to the step of a waltz. We must, however, do our best; though again we would impress upon the reader the necessity of seeking further instruction from a professor or experienced friend.

The time of the Cellarius Waltz is ¾, like the common waltz; but it should be played much more slowly; if danced quickly, it becomes an unmeaning succession of hops, and its graceful character is destroyed.

We describe the step as danced by the lady; for the gentleman it will be the same, with the feet reversed; that is, for right foot read left, and so on.


First Step.

1st and 2nd beat.—Spring on left foot, sliding forward right foot at the same time, and immediately let your weight rest on the forward foot. This occupies two beats.

3rd beat.—Spring on right foot; this ends the bar.

2nd bar, 1st and 2nd beat.—Spring again on right foot, and slide forward left at same time. Rest on it a moment as before during second beat; at third beat spring on it; which ends second bar. Continue same step throughout. You will perceive that, at the first and third beat of the time, you hop slightly, resting, during the second beat, on the foremost foot.


Second Step.

1st beat.—Spring on left foot, slightly striking both heels together.

2nd beat.—Slide right foot to the right, bending the knee.

3rd beat.—Bring left foot up to right foot with a slight spring, raising right foot; which ends the first bar.

2nd bar, 1st beat.—Spring again on left foot, striking it with heel of right.

2nd beat.—Slide right foot to the right.

3rd beat.—Fall on right foot, raising left foot behind it, which ends the second bar. Reverse the step by springing first on the right foot, and sliding the left, &c. The music generally indicates that this step should be repeated three times to the right, which occupies three bars; then rest, during the fourth bar, and return with reverse step to the left during the three bars which follow, resting again at the eighth bar.


Third Step

1st beat.—Spring on left foot, and slide right foot to the right.

2nd beat.—Rest on right foot.

3rd beat.—Spring on right foot, bringing left up behind it.

2nd bar, 1st beat.—Spring on right foot, sliding left foot to the left.

2nd beat.—Rest on left foot.

3rd beat.—Hop on left foot, bringing right behind it as before.

Continue at pleasure.

The first of these three steps is most commonly used in the waltz; but the second is an agreeable change for those who may have grown giddy or weary in doing the figure en tournant (circular movement).

Be careful not to exaggerate the slight hop at the first and third beats of each bar; and to slide the foot gracefully forward, not merely to make a step, as some bad dancers do.


This is taken from Routledge's Manual of Etiquette.




Copyright © D. J. McAdam· All Rights Reserved