The Big Waltz Comes to New York City


By Denise Mattia


One, two, tap. One, to, tap.
Some sat on the edge of the newly built fountain at Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertston Plaza on Saturday, October 16th and watched while hundreds of New Yorkers of every age learned how to waltz Viennese style. Professional dancers were on hand to coach the audience on how to perform the sometimes intricate steps and turns.
Other pros demonstrated the movements for the audience from the temporary stage set between the Metropolitan Opera and the David H. Koch Theatre, home to the New York City Opera and the New York City Ballet. Before long, almost everyone was twirling in unison to the tune of the Blue Danube Waltz.

A Tune to a Different Waltz

“These aren’t the steps we learned in grade school,” admitted a participant. “Still, I can do this,” she said as she danced away with her partner.

Those who wanted a head start on their waltzing skills for the big Dance Austria! event signed up for free hour-long Viennese Waltz Classes at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio West on West 72 Street on Saturday, October 2 and Saturday, October 9.

Dancing and More

Sponsored by the Austrian Tourist office, the DANCE AUSTRIA! extravaganza at Lincoln Center began at 5:30 p.m. and ran into the early evening. The Julliard School of the Performing Arts provided original dance pieces and special performances. During intervals, the audience was asked to sign up for a chance to win a grand prize: a trip for two to Vienna, Austria. Included was roundtrip air on Austrian Airlines from New York’s JFK Airport, a 4 day, 3 night stay at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna and a pair of tickets to the Fete Imperiale. No purchase was necessary to win. At 7:30 the random drawing was held and an exuberant couple was awarded the prize. By nightfall, everyone had won an evening of DANCE AUSTRIA!

photos by Denise Mattia

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  • Oh, I wish I had been there!
  • Once upon a time I wanted to be re-incarnated in 1890s Vienna and waltz forever. Very glad that ballroom dancing is making a comeback, thanks to the TV dance shows. There's a huge partner dance scene in NYC -- tango, swing, salsa, even country/western and Cajun, and my favorite, West Coast Swing. Something every night of the week.
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