Likely influenced by recent advances in flight, Mamie Appler composed a piece of music entitled “Aeroplane Waltz.” It was published in 1911, and was accompanied by a short description of the dance written by Alice Martin.
Unlike Joan Sawyer’s rendition of the Aeroplane Waltz, published two years earlier, Ms. Martin’s description is economical. She describes the dance as follows:
“Waltz position throughout the dance.
The gentleman’s position is described, the ladies’ part the counterpart of it.
Waltz balance to the left and right, with a slightly swaying movement. [2 measures]
Repeat. [2 measures]
With a preparatory bend leap on the right foot, land on the left foot, bring the right foot up to the left, shift the weight to the right. Three waltz steps, beginning with the left foot.
Repeat the whole movement, beginning with the right foot.”
In short, Ms. Martin’s Aeroplane Waltz is fairly pedestrian, elevated to “Aeroplane” status by a moment of simulated “flight” in the middle of it (the leap). I assume that Ms. Martin envisions the partners dancing with their arms outstretched like an airplane, as is pictured on the cover of the music, which helps to distinguish it from its mundane parent. A demonstration of this partner positioning, as well as one couple’s interpretation of the Aeroplane Waltz, is available for study in this original video, uploaded on youtube by Sonny Watson.
I found this video of youtube user Gary KlunkervilleTown playing the Aeroplane Waltz on the piano, and accompanying himself on the pump organ and melodica:
Proof that everything is on the internet somewhere, if you look hard enough.
The sheet music and cover image for this post were provided by the Smithsonian Libraries. The Library states that the music is not in copyright.