The Waltz forms a bridge from the 19th to the 20th century. Its revolutionary youth shifted to maturity in the 19th century.
It reached its old age of nostalgic sweetness, in the 20th century. The original 19th century, 3 beat measure, became slower and was carried by sentimental melodies, in the early 20th century. The waltz of this era was referred to as ‘The Hesitation Waltz’, or often as the ‘Boston’. The essence of this waltz is that it allowed the dancers to “hesitate”, to hold a beat, or to miss stepping on every beat.
This brought the following innovations:
Fewer and, therefore, slower steps for each waltz measure, plus the free form ability to play with the rhythm (due to the influence of Ragtime).
This slow dignified waltz balanced the vivacious ragtime dances. It became the ultimate pendulum for skillful dancing. It is the single dance that kept its dignity and importance through both the 19th and the 20th centuries. As all things change,including dances, still the waltz has remained the crown of never-ending beauty.