June 2008

And we should consider
Every day lost
On which we have not danced
At least once.

by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Greetings from Waltz Time! This monthly communication offers a calendar of upcoming waltz dances and workshops, dance community news and informative articles. We encourage your contributions to our newsletter. Please send suggestions for topics or a story of your own to staff@waltztimedances.org.

We want to pass on information to you about the Gala in the Park, the annual fundraising dance event at Glen Echo Park. You can have a great time dancing while supporting the event. Read all about it below

Waltz Time is an all-volunteer committee that produces the twice monthly Sunday afternoon waltz dances at Glen Echo Park's Spanish Ballroom. You can view the entire year's calendar of dances and workshops at our web site. We hope you enjoy our newsletter. At the end of this page there are additional links that you can use to forward this newsletter to a friend or to unsubscribe.


Come to the Dance at Retroville!

Saturday, May 17, 9:30 - 11:30 pm
Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park

Retroville is the 1950s theme for the 2008 Gala in the Park to benefit the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture. Join us for an exquisite evening with:

  • dancing to the Daryl Davis Band
  • two dance performances with Markus Smith and Deonna Ball
  • M & D's fabulous Youth Team, the MVPs
  • a dessert buffet
  • free carousel rides

Tickets are just $20, and you can reserve your ticket by calling 301.634.2255 and ordering on the phone using a major credit card. On the night of the event, go to "Will Call" at the Bumper Car Pavilion after 9:15 pm. The doors open at the Ballroom at 9:30 pm. Download a copy of the full details here.

You love to dance at Glen Echo Park, so please join us for a fun night of dance while you support our annual Gala fundraiser. All proceeds benefit the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture and help keep all our programs, including our dances, alive and well.

Love at First Waltz

Do you believe in love at first sight? Well, what about love at first waltz? The first time I danced with him I felt a chemistry I'd never felt before on the dance floor. Did I fall in love with the man or did I fall in love with the waltz? It was the last dance of the last evening of a three-day weekend nestled away at a rustic camp in Pennsylvania. The weekend was mostly filled with hiking during the day and contra dancing, a traditional line dance, at night. While it was fun to dance with most everyone, contra dance does not connect you with your partner, like a couples dance: swing, polka or especially waltz. Waltz is a romance of unspoken communication -- two people speaking with their bodies. The leader provides a strong frame and the follower matches body weight and balance. The music is romantic and styles vary from soft New England country and powerful Strauss to New Age. I became passionate about the waltz as I learned its steps and began to get its swirling, romantic feel.

It is tradition to end each night of contra dance with a waltz. Unfortunately, most contra dancers are not good waltzers, so I picked my last waltz partner carefully. From my perch in the balcony of the dance hall, I looked down on the crowd and noticed two men I had not danced with all weekend. One was tall and thin; the other was shorter and better proportioned to me. You can't tell who might be a good waltzer just by looking -- great waltzers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. I decided to choose the shorter man; even if he wasn't great, I figured I wouldn't get a stiff neck gazing into his eyes.

When the last contra dance ended, I made a beeline for the short guy and asked him to dance. We barely had time to exchange first names when the music began and we struck our position. I knew instantly that this man could waltz by the way he held me. As we took our first steps, I felt his clear lead. We smiled, realizing how well we spoke to each other without saying a word. Then he lifted his arm for a single turn and I spun effortlessly. He smiled again, and I could see his mind turning, thinking of fancier moves to try.

He spun me twice in an underarm turn, then in the opposite direction. We promenaded side by side, as if ice skating. Up went his arms into a difficult turn, and once again I followed his lead. His moves were more complicated than anything I had known, but I was excited by the challenge. We floated past the beginning waltzers who were tripping on their partners' feet. I felt this wonderful chemistry between us as we continued to glide and spin and twirl with grace around the floor.

As the music softly ended, we both beamed with delight. I was breathless with exhilaration. He had shown me how beautiful a dance the waltz can be.

Then the moment ended. The band said good night and packed up. My partner's friend beckoned to him and he was gone in a flash. My head was spinning with delight and my body tingled with electricity.

In the course of a song, you invite a stranger into your personal space, hold each other close, gaze into each other's eyes, and find a rhythm all your own. As soon as the music ends, you say thank you and just walk away. Naturally, there can be mixed signals between partners; is it a romantic overture or just harmless flirting? All of this body language can be very confusing. So was my experience love or dance lust? After that winter weekend, my Fred Astaire and I began waltzing together, but we felt awkward talking; our conversations were strained. But as soon as we stopped talking and started to dance, we immediately connected -- and our bodies once again continued their beautiful conversation.

We continued to dance regularly for several months until one day my waltz partner wrote to say he could no longer dance with me. The dance chemistry was strong between us, but without being able to talk comfortably, he said he couldn't continue to see me. One night we met for dinner to sort this out, and we began to talk -- really talk. From that moment on, we've been catching up, learning to communicate with each other verbally and developing the intimacy our bodies already knew.

When I think back on our first dance together, I still don't know whether I first fell in love with the man or the dance. But it really doesn't matter. In the dance of love, the waltz became the key to my heart.

I     Waltzing!

There are several roads to heart health for those who suffer from chronic heart problems, but the most successful route could very well be the one marked Waltz Street.

In studies conducted a few years ago in Italy, researchers found that waltzing improved heart health as much as other forms of exercise, including working out on treadmills and stationary bikes. The waltzers, however, had better oxygen uptake and less muscle fatigue than the bikers and treadmillers. Moreover, they reported a better quality of life.

The advantage of waltzing over plugging away at the gym? It's more fun than cycling to nowhere or acting like a human hamster; people are more likely to maintain this exercise regimen than more traditional − and solitary − routines.

Several websites contain more detailed information, including this one at the Yale Medical Group.

Wanted: Strauss Photos for Our Website

We would love to post some photos of dancers from the 25th Anniversary "Evening with Strauss" Waltz Ball, held on Saturday, April 28, but we are in very short supply. If you have some photos that we might post, or even include in our newsletter or website, we'd be very appreciative! Please contact staff@waltztimedances.org to arrange for receipt of the photos. Many thanks to all who attended the ball − a fantastic night!

Upcoming Sunday Afternoon Waltzes

Sunday Afternoon Waltzes begin with an introductory waltz lesson from 3 - 3:30 pm,
followed by dancing to live music until 6 pm. Cost is $8, including the lesson.

JUNE 2008

June 15: RHAPSODY DANCE BAND with Marty Taylor, Alexander Mitchell, Dave Wiesler, Ralph Gordon

June 29: THE WALTZTRONS with David Knight, Edith Coakley, Barbara Heitz, Liz Donaldson

JULY 2008

July 20: TERPSICHORE with Elke Baker, Liz Donaldson, Ralph Gordon

NOTE: Waltz Time is hosting just one Sunday afternoon waltz in July.


August 3: CABARET SAUVIGNON with Paul Oorts, Karen Ashbrook, Andrea Hoag, Dave Wiesler

August 17: BLUE AMBER with Mary Lea, Anna Patton, Karen Axelrod, Ralph Gordon


September 7: WALTZING STARS with Alexander Mitchell, Marty Taylor, Liz Donaldson, Ralph Gordon

September 21: NOTORIOUS with Larry Unger, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Paul Oorts, Ralph Gordon

All events are held at the Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD and
sponsored in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc.,
the National Park Service and Montgomery County, Maryland.