The Castles Demonstrate the Hesitation Waltz for the Washington Times on February 22, 1915

This is the fifth of a six part series on modern dance, written by Vernon Castle, and published in the Washington Times.  Before I realized how often these articles were rehashed, I did another post, based on a nearly identical article printed in the January 17, 1915 edition of The Sun.  In the interest of completeness, however, I feel compelled to republish the Washington Times version below.

The Washington times., February 22, 1915, HOME EDITION, Page 8, Image 8

The Washington times., February 22, 1915, HOME EDITION, Page 8, Image 8

Mr. Castle claims to be “no great authority on this dance,” noting that everyone does the hesitation waltz differently, describing it as “sometimes beautiful and much-abused.”

In the hesitation waltz, the lady, notably, starts on her left foot, and the gentleman on his right.  Per Mr. Castle’s instructions, the gentleman steps right, left backwards (counts 1, 2), and then right, left forwards (counts 3, 4).  The lady moves in opposition.  They then hold, or “hesitate” on 5, 6, the gentleman on his left, and the lady on her right.  Mr. Castle suggests varying this step by interspersing ordinary waltz measures from time to time, or figures either of his suggestions or the reader’s creation.  He encourages dancers to wait until the music indicates a hesitation should occur, rather than repeating the hesitation indefinitely.

The Half and Half, on the other hand, is done in 5-4 time, as opposed to the waltz’s three-quarter.  Mr. Castle describes this step as taking one slow step (1-2-3) and two quick (4-5).  “When done properly (it) looks like something between the tango, lame duck, and hesitation.  It is a very quiet and pretty dance.”

The article was provided by Chronicling America.  The featured image was downloaded from Wikimedia Commons.  It is described as a “Real Photo Movie Card of Mrs. Vernon Castle,” and is in the public domain in the United States.

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