None of the elements of the technique occur in isolation. What you are doing on any given step occurs in the context of the previous step and the next step.

With RISE in particular, it is useful to look at a group of steps that start at your ‘set height’ and end with a lowering, i.e. returning to that same height.

In Waltz, there are TWO common groups of RISE. The first is associated with figures where we CLOSE on the third step. The second is associated with figures where we pass the feet on the third step.


Commence to rise e/o 1
Continue to rise on 2 and 3
Lower e/o 3


Commence to rise e/o 1
Continue to rise on 2
Up on 3. Lower e/o 3

The difference is in how we treat the element CONTINUE. In the case of closing we need to spread the action of CONTINUE over beats 2 and 3, still leaving time at the end of beat 3 to lower. In the case of passing we need to complete the action of CONTINUE during beat 2 which means that our action of rising is faster than if we are closing our feet.

This gives us two distinct physical actions that we want to master and create muscle memory for. Well, sort of. In reality, the action of rising is going to be affected by the kind of step we are taking, i.e. SIDE, SIDE & SLIGHTLY FORWARD, SIDE & SLIGHTLY BACKWARD, etc., as well as by the nature of any turn involved, especially whether we are on the inside or outside of a turn BETWEEN.

But to make it more accessible and to create a foundation for the variations, we can start with NO TURN and a step that is either SIDE & SLIGHTLY FORWARD or SIDE & SLIGHTLY BACK.

Let’s start with CONTINUE TO RISE ON 2, since that is somewhat more simple to understand:

  • Stand on the flat of your LEFT foot with your RIGHT foot free.
  • Your LEFT knee should be bent a comfortable amount.
  • Place the ball of your RIGHT foot about 24 inches (60 cm) to the side AND enough forward so that the toes of the LEFT foot line up with the arch of the RIGHT foot. NO WEIGHT and the RIGHT heel as high off the floor as you can.
  • As you place the foot say out loud “ONE THOUSAND”.
  • You want the step to be wide enough that the placement of your RIGHT foot is outside the line of your RIGHT side, and when weight is transferred your spine will have to shift sideways in order to fully place weight on that foot.
  • Transfer weight to the RIGHT foot, keep the RIGHT heel high and fully straighten BOTH legs, leaving the LEFT leg extended side and behind you. (Remember: straight, but not locked.)
  • As you transfer and straighten say “TWO THOUSAND”.
  • By the time 100% of your weight is on your RIGHT foot both legs should be straight (but not locked).
  • Make sure that your RIGHT hip is ‘square’ once the weight is on it.
  • Hold this position of balance for a couple of seconds (say “THREE THOUSAND.”)

You have executed a step that is SIDE & SLIGHTLY FORWARD, no turn, and CONTINUE TO RISE ON 2.

Return to the starting position and repeat this action several times. It is important that you learn to balance high on the ball of the foot with both legs straight and the free leg extended. To test your balance, you might want to ‘bounce’ slightly over your RIGHT foot. Use your knee to do this, keeping the RIGHT heel high off the floor and the posture very erect.

Now, let’s practice the action starting with the weight on the RIGHT foot and stepping up to the ball of the LEFT foot. Repeat this action several times, concentrating on making sure that both legs straighten and that you achieve a position of clear balance which you can maintain for a couple of seconds.

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