Vintage Viennese Waltz
Cathleen Myers & Alex Lerman & Transit of Earth

This most beautiful of all couple dances is now called the Victorian Rotary Waltz, or simply the Rotary Waltz, to distinguish it from the modern Viennese Waltz, but (to add to the confusion) the Victorian Rotary Waltz was the ORIGINAL Viennese Waltz. With origins in an 18th century turning peasant dance from Styria, the waltz (or "Valse dans Trois") was refined by French, German, Austrian and British dance masters and gradually conquered the fashionable ballrooms of Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Rotary Waltz was the waltz of young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, of Johann Strauss (father and son), of the dashing students of Heidelberg, and of the Merry Widow herself. Originally turning almost exclusively to the right, the Rotary Waltz is a truly romantic dance. Surprisingly, it was those adventurous Americans, not the Viennese, who first popularized a left-turning waltz variation called the Boston Waltz, or “Le Boston," in the 1870's, which took over three decades to catch on in Europe. The Modern Viennese Waltz, of course, turns both to the right and to the left.

Does the Rotary Waltz make you dizzy? Perhaps at first but, after sufficient practice, never again.

Our class will begin with footwork but will focus primarily on style, elegance, posture and partnering along with some lovely open waltz variations to keep you from getting dizzy. The ideal shoes for this dance are leather or suede-soled low heels or flats that allow you to glide gracefully over the floor.

Cathleen Myers is the Dance Mistress of the San Francisco Dickens Fair and the Artistic Director of PEERS (the Period Events & Entertainment Re-Creation Society), which produces full-scale historical costume balls and dance classes almost every First Saturday (for details of PEERS' 2011-2012 Season, see her website at A dancer since childhood, Cathleen has researched and taught historical dance in the Bay Area since 1987. In her copious spare time, she also performs occasionally with the Alameda Vintage Dancers and with her own group, the PEERS Flying CirCUS, a historical music, dance and theater performing ensemble, most notorious for their recurring Peerless Music Hall and Le Theatre des Vampires. For more information about the Dickens Fair, particularly our all-day Fezziwig’s Victorian dance party, please see . And, for the first time, Cathleen is the co-Dance Director at WorldCon 2011, the "Oscars" of Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Alex Lerman has studied, performed, and co-taught vintage dance with Cathleen Myers since 2002. In 1992, before Alex knew he liked to dance, he wandered into an Irish pub with the intent of listening to music. He was unwittingly dragged into a dance lesson despite protestations. He was soon hooked, and teaching Irish Ceili dancing 18 months later. He's taught and performed various forms of vintage dance ever since, in venues as diverse as pubs, studios, weddings, formal balls, and the YMCA. Alex's fascination with improvisational performing arts extends to improv acting, and he currently teaches a popular series of improv acting classes in Berkeley.

The gifted and accomplished musicians of the newly named Transit of Earth are William Allen, Paul Kostka, Stanley Kramer (and Susan Kramer when she's in town), Craig Martin, Robert Schultheis, and Nancy Solomon. They are veterans of both the Bay Area Country Dance Society and the San Francisco Free Folk Festival, and, can play everything from Classical to English Regency to folk music and beyond. And they know how to play beautifully and effectively for both ballroom dancers and country dancers.