Frequently Asked Questions
What style of waltz is danced at the Sunday waltzes?
You will see many different styles of waltz at the Sunday waltzes, and you may dance any style you wish. The organizers and
the dancers welcome all levels, from beginners to the very advanced. Among the styles that you will see are folk-turning waltz
(also popular at Contra/Square and Cajun dances), American ballroom, international, county western, tango vals, cross step,
Viennese, and improvisational.
Our 45-minute pre-dance lesson, included in the cost of admission, teaches the basics of the folk-turning
waltz as well as a more “advanced” move during the last 15 minutes. This is a popular style of waltz at the Ballroom, but dancers are welcome to dance any style of waltz - and there are many popular styles today - that they prefer. Waltz Time also
hosts special workshops in various styles of waltz during the year.
Is waltz the only dance at the Sunday afternoon events?
No. We ask our bands to play a group of three waltzes at various tempos followed by one other partner dance, that can be a
polka, hambo, schottische, swing, blues, tango or something else. If you don’t know that dance, just take a short break,
as three more waltzes will follow. Although we let the band choose the "other" dances from their repertoire, feel free to make
What should I wear at the Sunday waltzes?
Wear whatever you feel comfortable dancing in. You will see women variously dressed in jeans, slacks, skirts, or even long dresses; men wear
jeans or chinos paired with a t-shirt, dress shirt, or even suit coat and tie. The Ballroom is an historic structure with
neither heat nor air-conditioning. Large fans placed strategically around the dance floor help cool the dancers in warm weather.
In summer, due to the perspiration factor, both men and women often bring extra shirts or tops to change into. In winter, we
advise dancers to wear layers. An afternoon of dancing can warm you up more than you would guess, even with freezing temperatures
outside. (See below for suggested Strauss Ball attire.)
Do I need a partner?
No. All dances at Glen Echo are social events, so both singles and couples usually change partners for each dance. Both men and women are
comfortable asking others to dance. It is also quite acceptable for a couple to dance with just each other. Instructors usually ask dancers
to rotate during the pre-dance lesson to help ease any gender inbalance, allow people to meet each other, and create the best
learning experience, but it is not required.
Do I need special dance shoes?
No. However, we do have some suggestions:
- The best shoes for both men and women have smooth leather soles, such as those
found on dress shoes. Both men and women will glide and turn more freely wearing leather rather than shoes with tacky or
- Sandals without a heel strap or flip-flops are not a good choice as they are easy to step out of when dancing
- Open-toed shoes leave you at risk for greater discomfort if your partner accidentally steps on you.
- Bare-feet is strongly
discouraged for the risk of catching a splinter in your feet while spinning.
- Finally, because of the risk of damage to the
historic wood floor, we ask that you please do not wear stiletto or similar sharp heels.
Do I need to know how to dance?
No. Our waltzes, as with most dances at Glen Echo, commence with a lesson aimed at beginner dancers, with occasional hints
for the more experienced. Even if you have never waltzed before, our lesson will give you enough of the basics to get you out
on the floor so you can enjoy the afternoon. We teach the folk turning-style of waltz. The lesson is included in the price
How do I purchase tickets to dance events at Glen Echo Park?
All tickets for our dances - and for nearly all the other social dances at Glen Echo Park - are purchased at the door. Sunday afternoon dances cost $13 per person, $5 for students and children over 5 years. We accept cash and checks (no credit cards). Admission includes the 45-minute lesson from 2:45 - 3:30 pm. The dance to live music goes from 3:30 - 6 pm.
The Strauss Ball is coming – what should I wear?
Our annual Evening with Strauss Viennese Waltz Ball, always held at the end of April or early May, offers dancers a chance to dress up in their finery. Although
not mandatory, most men choose to wear tuxes, suits and ties, or dinner jackets. Most women wear long gowns or cocktail dresses.
We suggest that ladies' dresses clear the floor by 2-3 inches to avoid tripping during the peppy Viennese turning waltzes.
Do I have to dance Viennese-style waltz at the Strauss Ball?
Not at all - you may choose any style of waltz you prefer. However, the Viennese style will best suit the music that night which will
include many of the famous Strauss waltzes at upbeat tempos. Some dancers will waltz in the folk-turning style that is predominately
danced at our afternoon waltzes, since this half-turning waltz also works well with the Strauss tunes. You may take the hour-long
Viennese lesson immediately before the Ball to learn the basics.
Updated January 2021