Waltz 3/4 or 4/4 or both?

I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I thought all waltzs were danced to 3/4 time music.

However, we went to a German club to take a beginners polka lesson. The waltz step they taught was to 4/4 time. Like a slow-quick-quick. It was a struggle since we have always done the waltz in 3/4 time. The house polka band played everything in 4/4 time that night. I asked the instructor about 3/4 or 4/4 time and he never gave a clear answer. We left the club convinced the German waltz was in 4/4 time since the house band never played a 3/4 time song.

That night we went home and pulled out an old polka CD to practice our new steps. Every other song on the CD was a 3/4 time song. Now I'm wondering if we were taught incorrectly.

Can anyone explain this? :?:
Yes, Waltz is defined by 3/4 time.

I noticed you said that you learned the Waltz step to Polka music - this really means that you're learning a different dance than Waltz now (you're learning to Polka), since the music is no longer 3/4. There are only so many patterns people can do with their feet, thereby making some patterns virtually identical between dances, but they should be done in the correct timing to match the music.

For example, there is a step in Tango called a Viennese Cross, which comes from the Viennese Waltz. Tango is not 3/4, but the pattern fits when done as Slow-Quick-Quick.

So, again, Waltz is 3/4, but you will encounter Waltz-like steps in other dances. In any case (just to add some more confusion) you should never be Waltzing to anything than Waltz ;)
Thanks! Let me clarify what I was trying to say. We did learn some polka steps, all to 4/4 time. But they taught a different slow step they called a waltz, only with 4/4 music. I think they were in error or didn't know the difference.

I've heard polka bands play 3/4 time with the distinct 'um-pa-pa' sound, but not this band! They would play a slow 4/4 song and everyone would jump up and say "That's a waltz, let's dance."

If we go back we'll just modify our rumba steps and no one will be the wiser.

Thanks for confirming the waltz and other info. We are beginning dancers and we are still learning. Just want to get the facts straight.


New Member
Speaking for german dancers and musicians in general: Our Waltz is definitely 3/4!!! In the music and in the step. Period.

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