Five-Step Waltz

(La Valse à Cinq Temps, 5/4 Waltz)


General Description

The names "Five-Step Waltz," "Waltz in Five Steps," and "Valse à Cinq Temps" refer to a variety of waltzes that are danced in 5/4 time.

Five-step waltzes have been danced since the mid-19th century, and adventurous dancers (like us) have been innovating on the basic concept ever since.

Vintage Five-Step Waltz

Valse à Cinq Temps (1847)

Sources: Cellarius 1847, Durang 1856, Howe 1858, Brookes 1867

Position: Waltz position throughout.

The Footwork:

1-2-3-4: First four counts of a Leap Waltz.

5: The Lead glides (brushes) the left foot forward and into the air, while the Follow glides (brushes) the right foot closely behind the right, smoothly transitioning into the following leap with the same foot on the next count 1.

The first half turn happens on 1-2-3, the second half turn on 4-5. Howe 1858 notes that the second half turn happens mostly during the brush step.

Cellarius 1847 notes that this, like most waltzes, can be reversed, turning to the left instead of the right. The easiest way to do this is to change the rotation on the brush step.

Five Step Waltz (Five Step Polka Mazurka) (1854)

Sources: Carpenter 1854, Ferrero 1859, Howe 1862, Hillgrove 1863, Dick & Fitzgerald 1878, Sause 1880, Sidney 1881, Carpenter 1882, Koncen 1883, Rivers 1885, Dodworth 1885, Gilbert 1890

The Footwork:

1-2-3: First three counts of a Polka Mazurka, "slide-cut-lift," straight along LOD.*

4-5: The last two counts of the Zingerilla, "slide-hop," turning halfway.

Repeat opposite.

Ferrero 1859 notes that this can also be reversed, turning to the left on the slide-hop.

* The Gilbert 1890 version features a heel click as the third step of the Polka Mazurka (and Five Step Waltz), rather than a lift.

The New Five Step Waltz (Five Step Polka Waltz) (1878)

Sources: Cartier & Baron 1878, Cartier 1882, Dodworth 1885

The Footwork:

1-2: "Slide-and-slide-and" à la Galop, on the Lead's left and Follow's right.

3-4-5: Half waltz, the Lead backing around.

Repeat opposite, on the Lead's right and Follow's left, and with the Follow backing around.

Cartier & Baron 1878 notes that this can also be reversed, turning to the left on the waltzes.

Five Step Waltz (No. 2) (1890)

Sources: Gilbert 1890

The Footwork:

This is basically a Hecla Galop with an extra hop to fill the fifth count.

1-2: "Slide-and-slide" à la Galop, on the Lead's left and Follow's right.

3: Lead closes right foot to left as Follow closes left foot to right.

4: The Lead leaps back around the Follow on his left foot as the Follow leaps straight forward between his feet, starting the half turn.

5: The Lead hops on his left foot as the Follow hops on her right foot, completing the half turn.

Repeat opposite.

Though not explicitly noted in the description, this can also be reversed.

The Music

Music in 5/4 time.

Cellarius 1847 specifies 152 bpm. Dodworth 1885 and Gilbert 1890 specifies 144 bpm.

Here's "The Fashion" a "New Waltz in Five Steps" composed by Christian Nolff in 1848:

Here's "The American Republic" a "Waltz in Five Steps" composed by Christian Nolff in 1849:

Here's the "Hampton Five Step Waltz" composed by J. A. G'Shwend in 1852:

Ferrero 1859 provides this music, "The Five Steps Waltz" by Christian Nolff, which appears to be a copy of "The Fashion" from 1848:

Carpenter 1882 provides this music, "Saratoga" by Walston:

In 1887, Frederick Blume published this under the title "Dodworth's Five Step Waltz," with composer C. Nolf. It also appears to be a variation on "The Fashion."

Here's a "Five Step Waltz" composed by John M. Loretz, Jr. in 1880:

Here's "The Original Five Step Waltz" composed by Clarence R. Sidney in 1881:

Other vintage five-step waltz tunes include Edward de Roland's "Five Step Waltz," and A. J. R. Conner's "Valse À Cinq Temps."

Contemporary Five-Step Waltz

In 1847, the original publisher of the five-step waltz, Cellarius, wrote, "This waltz is capable of as many variations as the others." Here are a few other possibilities we've explored:

» Waltz
» Reverse Waltz
» Waltz and Step Hop
» Leap Waltz and Step Hop
» Waltz and Pivot
» Waltz and Two Pivots

Hesitating Variations
» Varsovienne
» Rocking Waltz

Leaping Variations
» Redowa
» Viennese Step
» Air Redowa
» Reverse Air Redowa

Mazurka Variations
» Polka Mazurka
» Pas Glissé
» La Gitana (La Carlowitzka)

Galop and Polka
» Five-Slide Galop
» Three-Slide Galop and Polka
» Polka-Pivot-Polka

Heel Clicks
» Hungroise

Newport & Waltz Galop
» Newport and Waltz Galop

Reverse Five-Step Waltz
» All of the above can be reversed.

Related Dances

Five-Step Mazurka Clandestina

Most variations in mazurka clandestina can be adapted into five-step waltz, and vice versa.

© 2015 Nick Enge

(Click to expand)

Historical Descriptions

La valse à cinq temps (Cellarius, La Danse de Salons, 1847, p. 61):

The Valse à Cinq Temps (Cellarius, Fashionable Dancing, 1847, p. 48):

The Waltze à Cinque Temps (Cellarius, The Drawing-Room Dances, 1847, p. 48):

La valse à cinq temps (Cellarius, La Danse de Salons (Deuxième Edition), 1849, p. 37):

Five-Step Waltz (Cinq Temps Valse) (Carpenter, The Amateur's Preceptor, 1854, p. 65):

The Valse a Cinq Temps (Five Step Waltz) (Durang, The Fashionable Dancer's Casket, 1856, p. 87):

The Valse a Cinq Temps (Five Step Waltz) (Howe, Complete Ball-Room Handbook, 1858, p. 79):

Five Step Waltz (Ferrero, The Art of Dancing, 1859, p. 152):

The Five Step Waltz (Howe, American Dancing Master, 1862, p. 114):

The Five-Step Waltz (Hillgrove, A Complete Practical Guide, 1863, p. 181):

Valse à Cinq Temps (The Five Step Valse) (Brookes, Brookes on Modern Dancing, 1867, p. 55):

Five-Step Waltz (Dick & Fitzgerald, Dick's Quadrille Call-Book, 1878, p. 115):

The New Five Step Waltz (Cartier & Baron, Practical Illustrated Waltz Instructor, 1879, p. 28):

Five-Step Waltz (Sause, The Art of Dancing, 1878, p. 52):

Five Step Waltz (The Five Step) (Sidney, Original Five Step Waltz, 1881, p. 1):

The New Five-Step Waltz (Cartier, Practical Illustrated Waltz Instructor, 1882, p. 42):

The Five Step Waltz (Carpenter, J. W. Pepper's Universal Dancing Master, 1882, p. 26):

The New Five-Step Waltz (Koncen, 1883):

Glide the left foot forward, (count one;) draw the right foot close to the left, springing on it and raise the left foot pointing to the floor, (count two;) glide the right foot forward, (count three;) glide the left foot forward between your partner's feet turning to the right, (count four;) glide the left foot and bring the right foot in front of the left and turn half around, (count five).

Five Step (Dodworth, 1885):

Introduced in 1849.

This is a peculiar dance in five-four time, for which we have but few musical compositions. It consists of the mazurka with leap and hop.


M.M. [quarter note] = 144.

The turn is made at the leap; hop (fourth and fifth motions), two bars being required for one revolution. At the moment of making the last hop (fifth motion), the disengaged foot should be brought to the first position, so that the heels will touch simultaneously with the hop.

Cinq Temps (Rivers, 1885):

Take one mazourka step to the left, count one, two, three; leap or jette on left foot, count four; spring on left, at the same time place right foot in third position, count five, thus turning half round; mazourka step, beginning with right foot, leap on right, spring on right, and place left foot front in third position, which will complete the turn.

The lady begins the dance with the right foot, (and as above described for the gentleman).

New Five-Step (Dodworth, 1885):

A very agreeable change is made by making two slides at the first and second motions, and at the third a change instead of a hop.

The accent will be seen under the music.

Five Step Waltz (No. 1) (Gilbert, 1890):

M.M. = 144 [quarter notes]. 5-4 time.

One Mazurka step to the left, 1, 2, 3; leap upon the left foot, 4; hop on left and bring right to 3d raised, 5; one measure. Repeat commencing with the right foot.

Counterpart for lady.

Five Step Waltz (No. 2) (Gilbert, 1890):

Slide left foot to side, 1; chasse & 2; draw right to left placing weight on right, 3; leap from the right to the left foot, 4; hop on left and bring right to 3d raised, 5; one measure. Repeat, commencing with the right foot.

Counterpart for lady.

The 5-4 Waltz (Valse en Cinq Temps) (Zorn, 1905):

836. A Waltz in 5-4 measure, which was said to have originated in Paris, was at one time brought out, but its rhythm was so greatly at variance with the ordinary sense of measure that it was very short-lived and the endeavor to make it fashionable resulted in utter failure.

837. Nearly the same fate overtook the Sicilienne and the Impériale, which were published, with notes and descriptions, in 1854. They were too complicated to attain popularity.

The 5-4 Waltz (Valse en Cinq Temps) (Zorn, 1920):

[Same as Zorn 1905]

If you or your community is interested in learning Five-Step Waltz, .

For more, including descriptions of 25 different waltzes and hundreds of variations thereof, see Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living a book by Richard Powers and Nick Enge.

Home     About     Dances     Classes     Manuals     Search     Friends     Patrons

Follow @libraryofdance