Freitag, 10. Dezember 2021

Maurice Mouvet: The tango and the new dances for ballroom and home (1914)

Editor's Note

In 1915 dancer Maurice Mouvet (New York, 1889) wrote "Art of Dancing", a book that included autobiographical notes and a discussion of Tango in Paris and in the United States at the onset of the 20th century.
For its historical importance we have transcribed its contents.

Maurice was well known for his performances of Tango, Apache and Waltz amongst others. He related that he learned to dance Tango with Argentine dancers in Paris before 1910, which surely is one of the earliest testimonies on the subject. His time in Paris coincided with the arrival en-force of the South Americans, including Enrique Saborido, the Gobbis, Florencio Parravicini, and Ángel Villoldo. The World was undergoing a revolution like no other in Dance, precipitated by the invention of the phonograph and cinema. New rhythms and dancing manuals proliferated, the common folk did not need a live band to join in the Dance craze.

Part 1 of Art of Dancing is autobiographical, and was co-written with his partner at the time, Ms. Florence Walton.

In Part 2, Maurice goes into detail about the different dances. In the 1910s Tango was played and danced at a different beat, and Maurice includes suggestions on what tracks to dance. We have embedded the audio of several of these tracks.

Maurice also published "The tango and the new dances for ballroom and home" in 1914.



Monsieur Maurice is without question one of the most wonderful dancers of modern times. With his equally talented partner, Miss Florence Walton (the stage name still used by his wife), he has literally danced his way around the globe. They introduced in London and in New York the famous Tango Teas which soon became an established craze. He is the most popular dancing instructor society ever engaged. Most of the four hundred who took up the latest dances took private instructions from him. In this series of articles Maurice takes up the Tango, the Brazilian Maxixe, the Hesitation waltz, the one-step and various other modern dances.

The Publishers


The Tango is the national dance of the Argentine. To my mind it is one of the most beautiful dances ever devised. As it is danced in its native land and as I have tried to reproduce it, it is as different from the so-called Tango usually seen on the stage and in public and private ball-rooms as night is from day.

When it was first introduced into this country the Tango aroused a storm of protest. It was said that it was the most suggestive and immoral dance ever presented in public, and in the way it was danced it probably was. Properly danced, however, the Tango is no more suggestive nor immoral from any viewpoint than the most dainty old fashioned waltz.

Indeed, if the dancer wished to dance in a suggestive manner, the old fashioned waltz presents just as available a medium as the modern tango. To condemn the dance for the fault of the dancer is manifestly unfair, and yet that is precisely what has been done in the case of the Tango.

Through its own beauty, however, the tango is destined to survive all the unjust criticism which has been leveled against it, and when it comes to be properly understood, as I hope it soon will be, it will, I venture to predict, be as much respected as the waltz, which our grandmothers used to dance with so much grace.

No dance offers a wider scope to the dancer than the Tango; there are at least twenty authentic figures which may properly find a place in the dance although there are but eight generally used in its native land. These eight figures, which I shall describe in detail, give all the opportunity for variety which the most energetic dancer might demand, and it is just as well to confine one's attention to them instead of trying to master the almost endless variety of steps which have been grafted into the dance.

With these basic eight figures at one's command one could dance the tango all right providing one's endurance lasted without the slightest idea of monotony, for there is no established order in which the figures follow each other. It is this freedom of arrangement, added to the liberal number of figures which go to make up the dance, that accounts principally for its fascination and popularity. Eight different couples might dance to the same music and each of them be doing a different figure at any given moment. Of what other dance might this be said?

Before I take up in detail the eight different figures in the tango let me correct a few popular misapprehensions concerning the dance.

In the first place. It is neither proper nor pleasing to play the tango as fast as it is commonly played by orchestras in public or private bald rooms. As it is commonly danced I can hardly blame the orchestra or the dancers themselves for that matter for wanting to get it over as quickly as possible, for the tango cannot be danced properly to the galloping music usually heard.

Then again the suggestive action of Tango dancers which have aroused so much discussion would be quite out of the question if Tango dancers would remember that in no figure of the dance is it necessary for the gentleman to get into closer proximity to his partner than three or four inches. Hugging may be a perfectly permissible undertaking, but it forms no part of the tango when danced properly.

On the other hand, it is never permissible to break away from your partner in the tango. With very few exceptions, the graceful relative positions assumed at the beginning of the dance are maintained all through it.

The shoulders should never be moved in the tango. Although many dancers seem to have the idea that the shoulder movements characteristic of the turkey-trot are an essential part of every modern dance, they are certainly entirely out of place in the tango and mar its beauty.

Another general misapprehension is as to the position of the arms. Many tango dancers dance with the gentleman's left arm and the lady's right arm outstretched. This is wrong. Both the gentleman's arm and the lady's arm should be bent at the elbow, the lady's more so than her partner's. The gentleman's arm is bent horizontally and the lady's perpendicularly. That is to say, the lady's right forearm is practically upright.

The gentleman's right arm should rest on the lady's back and with the palms and fingers pressed on the lady's back he should indicate just how he intends to map out the dance, for, as I have pointed out, the tango dancer is his own master with respect to the order in which the various figures are to follow each other.

It is for this reason that it is almost impossible for a gentleman to dance the tango with a lady with whom he has never rehearsed it, unless, of course, both are familiar with the names of the various figures and the gentleman announces in due time to his partner just which figure he intends to execute.

While, as I have explained, there is no set or standard order in which the various figures ought to be danced, the order I follow in instructing my pupils is as follows: First, The Walk; Two, the Corte, which is the principal step of the tango and is sometimes referred to as the “Five”; Three, the single three; Four, the Fan, or eight crossing; Five, the Scissors or Double Crossing; Six, the half-moon, or Media Luna; Seven, the Passo, or passing; and Eight, the Evantaille.

The novice might well adhere to this order until he has grown quite proficient. Indeed, if the tango is ever standardized, which I hope it won't be, because that would deprive it of much of its beauty and possibilities, the order I have given above would perhaps be the best that might be devised, as it gives a maximum of variety and the transition from one figure into another is most simple.

I shall now describe the eight figures in detail giving the steps as made by the gentleman, the lady's steps are of course just the reverse to her partner's.



Holding his partner as I have previously explained the gentleman, starting with the right foot, walks four or eight steps backward, counting four or eight bars of the music as the case may be. From the walk the dancers go naturally into the corte, the next step.


This is the principal step of the tango.

Starting with his right foot, the gentleman brings it slowly back of his left, then brings the left foot even with the right and then brings it back to its original position. Then, bringing the left foot back of the right, he bends the right knee slowly. This bending of the knee constitutes the fifth step of the figure. At the end of the figure the lady should continue the forward movement which she started when her partner executed the fourth step. The couple repeat this figure five times slowly with the music, and then with the left foot the gentleman leads his partner into the next step.


In this figure the gentleman advances instead of retiring. His left foot advances about two feet, and then he crosses over it with his right, and then the left is brought around the side of the right and the two are brought together. While this figure consists in reality of four steps, the third and fourth are combined, with respect to the music, being made quickly so as not to lose a beat. The hands are kept in the same position throughout this figure as at the start. The Single Three should be executed four times, and is followed by the Fan.


Starting with the left foot, which is slightly advanced, the gentleman crosses over it with his right and then pivots on the right foot, brings the left about two feet back of the right foot. Then bring the right foot back of the left and cross over the right, then pivot and bring the right over the left, then the right back of the left to the original position. In executing this figure, the couple describe a complete circle, or fan, the girl walking into the man's step, and he walking into hers. The gentleman's right foot is always brought in in crossing. This figure should be executed twice, and is followed by the scissors.


This figure may be started with either the left or right, depending upon the direction in which the gentleman wishes to carry his partner. Assuming it is started with the left, this is crossed over with the right and then the gentleman pivots on the left foot without moving from the spot on which he was standing and faces to the left. Then cross the right over the left and pivot again. Bring the feet together at the end of this step and then go into the Media Luna, or Half-Moon.


Make a large step forward with the right foot, and then another with the left, then bring the right to the heel of the left with a smart tap, then bring the left back, follow it with the right, then make a little slide of the left foot in front of the right. This figure consists of six steps, three forwards and three backwards, and should describe a half-moon. Then lose a bar of music and go into the corte. From the corte the transition to el passo is simple.


Standing with the left foot back of right, turn left at right angles to right, bend the knee slowly with the time of the music, bring the right foot over across the left, bending again. Continue this for eight steps. Cross the right foot over the left and alongside of it, and turn in that position. The lady walks with the music, while the man turns completely around and ends figure with the corte.


Advance the left foot and then bring right in front of left and bend both knees half way. Pivot on right and bring the left foot to the side of the right at right angles.


The Brazilian Maxixe can be danced to any two-step, whereas the tango can be danced only to tango music.

The maxixe is peculiarly adapted to the American temperament. It is full of snap and life, while the tango is slow and languorous.

But the maxixe proves popular because of its very beauty. It is a series of picture figures. Although the new dances have been freely condemned by critics who continually refer to the greater simplicity and grace of the old-fashioned forms, this criticism cannot fairly be made with reference to the maxixe. One will have to go back to the end of the eighteenth century to find as picturesque a dance as this national dance of Brazil. The maxixe has much in common with the dainty minuet of that mixed period.

Although the maxixe is not difficult to learn, it requires a good deal of strength to execute. It is not a dance for obese people, although if conscientiously practiced by them it might prove a valuable reducing medium.

As the tango is the national dance of the Argentine Republic, so the maxixe is the national dance of Brazil. There the children on the street are seen executing its graceful numbers, and its influence is seen in the graceful carriage of the people.

The maxixe is splendid physical exercise for the waist and hips, and in fact, there is hardly a muscle in the body which is not splendidly developed in the inveterate maxixe dancer.

I have not found the slightest trouble in teaching the maxixe to children of five or six and I don't believe there is a more charming dance for children than this South American composition affords.

When it was introduced in Paris in the winter of 1912 and 1913 it met with instant approval, and when Miss Walton and I presented it in New York for the first time, in the spring of 1913, it was likewise received with the greatest enthusiasm.

The fact that it can be danced to any two step music will be a strong factor in popularizing it.
Now let me describe the dance in detail.


For the first figure, the gentleman places his right hand around his partner's waist just as far as he possibly can, she facing him. His left hand and her right are outstretched—in the manner in which many dancers improperly outstretch them for the tango.

The gentleman's left foot is far advanced, resting on the heel with the tip of the foot raised. The left knee is bent. His body is bent forward in a veritable crouch. The position of the gentleman for this step might be described as a lunge. It is important to remember that his right arm should encircle his

partner's waist just as far as he can possibly make it go.

The first step brings the right foot up to the left and the second advances the left foot again. The figure consists of eight two-steps, the gentleman advancing all the time.


The second figure comprises another eight two-steps, only the steps are somewhat longer than those used in the ordinary two-step, and with each step the gentleman sways his body from the waistline alternately right and left. The figure is danced in a circle. The lady also sways her body, but not quite as much as her partner. This swaying of the body is one of the characteristic features of the maxixe.


The position of the third figure is altogether novel. With his left foot forward as in the first figure, although it now rests flatfooted instead of on the heel, the gentleman stands with his arms outstretched as if he were driving a horse which was trying to pull away from him and nearly succeeding. His reins are the hands of his partner, who stands facing him and assumes a similar position.
In time with the music, the couple then go through eight steps as in the first figure, the lady retiring, the gentleman advancing.


The fourth figure is one of the most picturesque movements of the dance. The lady stands with her hands resting on her chest and the gentleman stands close behind her, his arms encircling her and his hands grasping hers. In time with the music they two-step to the left for eight beats of the music, the gentleman slowly bringing his partner's hands down, out and then up over her head until they touch with palms together as far above her head as she can raise them. In this way their hands describe a complete circle or wheel, the hands reaching their highest position with the finish of the eighth beat. Then eight more steps are taken to the right and the hands are brought slowly down again to theft original position, the lady's hands resting on her chest at the end of the eighth beat.

Once again the wheel is described as the couple two-step to the left and at the end of the eighth beat the gentleman turns his partner completely around until she faces him, his right hand still holding her left in the air and his left hand holding her right behind her back. In this position they dance eight large two-steps.


With the gentleman's right hand still in the air clasping his partner's left and 

his left hand clasping her 
right behind her back, the couple facing each other, seven more two-steps are danced in a circle and with the last of them the lady is left at the gentleman's right side and the rather strenuous kneeling-step is executed six times.

At the end of this figure, the lady turns round so that her back is to her partner and she is standing in front of him with her two hands outstretched to the side. The gentleman standing at the lady's back similarly stretches out his hands and clasps hers.


The couple dances eight two-steps as in the fourth figure, only they move to the right. As the fight foot moves, the right arms go down and the left arms UP and with the movement of the left foot the left arms go down and the right arms up in regular see-saw fashion.

At the end of the eighth step the lady faces her partner with arms still out-stretched and four more bars are danced.


The partners now face each other and assume the position used for the corte of the tango.

Starting with his right foot the gentleman brings it slowly back to his left, then brings the left foot even with the right and then brings it to its original position. Then, bringing the left foot back of the right, he bends the right knee slowly. This bending of the knee constitutes the fifth step of the figure.
This step may be repeated four times, at the end of which the lady stands with her back to the gentleman's face and his right arm around her waist and they dance five big two-steps.


The dance may be completed with a repetition of the principal figure of the dance, the fifth.
While there is really no set order in which these various figures must be danced, any more than there is in the case of the tango, I insist upon my pupils following the arrangement as here outlined.
When the maxixe dancer becomes proficient, however, there is no reason why he may not vary the order to suit himself. Every figure throughout the dance is danced to two-step time, and it is a simple matter to pass from one figure to another, provided both partners know just which figure is to follow.


The Maurice Walk—an eccentric variation of the one-step—is a simple dance.

Yet it is effective. It is one of the most popular of the new dances to syncopated rhythm.

Properly danced, the one-step in its various presentations is beautiful.

Unfortunately, like its sister dances—the Tango, the Maxixe, and the Hesitation Waltz—the One-step has been abused sadly.

In dancing all these new dances to syncopated rhythms, the point to remember is that bodily contact between the partners must be avoided .

And this avoidance is easy.

Bear in mind that in all the dips, and the swirls, and the kicks, the partners use alternate feet.

For instance, when the man dips with his left knee, the girl dips with her right. When the man dips with his right knee, the girl dips with her left.

This sounds confusing. In practice it is exceedingly simple. Further, it is the wholesome and natural method of procedure.

All the way through, the steps of the Maurice Walk, or of any other One-step, are as facile as is the music. They are really instinctive steps—catchy, quick, spontaneous.

The “Maurice Walk” or any other variation of the One-step, is danced to One-step music. A two-step that is good and rippling, with strongly accented time, may be used if the orchestra plays it fast enough. I know of one dancing teacher whose advertisement reads, “I teach the One-step—Good on any Turkey-Trot.” And this is practically true.

The “Maurice Walk,” as Miss Walton and I dance it, began life as the “Florence and Maurice Walk,” a One-step variation. My wife and I created the eccentricities of it to fit a certain dance music written for us by our accompanist for the past several years, Sylvester Belmont.

Later we shortened both the dance and the name, the better to adapt it to ball-room dancing.
In all of our demonstrations, whether at a Le Dansant or a soiree, it has remained one of our best numbers.

Anybody can dance it and dance it easily. There is perhaps but one of the figures that would be out of place in a ball-room. This is an interpolated step in the middle of the dance, later called Figure Eleven.

The man supports the girl with his arm around her waist. She flexes her body in a semi-circle, simultaneously

touching the floor with her heels and with her head. This position is maintained for scarcely a single beat of the music. Its charm lies in the speed and dexterity with which it is done.

But to begin with the dance, step by step.

True to its name the “Maurice Walk” starts with a walk.

This is a simple toe and heel step, (Figure One). This is the first step almost that a child learns in its first dancing lesson. This step runs through sixteen bars of music. Gradually it verges into a skipping step (Figure two). This is the same little skip with which a child hurries to school. For a few bars this skip continues—for how long is practically within the discrimination of the dancer. Then at a heavy accentuation of the time begins the “dip” (Figure Three). The “dip” consists in a series of genuflections on alternate knees. Any one who has ever seen a child drop on one knee in reverence will know how this dip is made. Four times to four bars of music come these dips. Remember they are made on alternate knees. The man begins with his right knee, the girl with her left. The man dips with his left knee, the girl with her right. The man dips with his right knee again, and the girl with her left. The man dips with his left knee and the girl with her right. Rising on a beat of the music, they skip again for eight bars (Figure Four). On the swing of the last bar they whirl into a big turn, dipping in the middle (Figure Five). The turn and the dip last for one beat of the music. In this turn the man pivots himself with his right foot flat on the floor. The girl faces him. He clasps both her hands. But while he is semi-stationary, she is dipping in a turn. This might be described well by considering the man the center of the circle with the girl by her turnings, forming the circumference, while their clasped hands and out-stretched arms make the diameters.

Rising from this they do the grapevine (Figure Six). The grapevine step is alternate and continuous crossings of the feet. Left over right, fight over left, back and front, they go. This step persists in the retreat and the advance.

After several bars of this the two stand facing (Figure Seven). The girl puts her right hand, palm out-turned at

the back of her waist. The man stands so that his right hand clasps hers. He

turns her squarely around so that she is directly in front of him.

For the next eight bars the girl walks in a wheel around the man (Figure Eight). Her arm is around his neck. But her body is so far distant from his that this figure is alluring and picturesque, and not in the least suggestive.

The next figure (Figure Nine) introduces the cake-walk step. The man at the end of the eighth bar reaches out his hands, clasps the girl's and draws her towards him in a simple old-fashioned cake-walk step. As she advances he retreats. When she has come to within ten inches of him they outstretch their arms and go for the next four bars in the cake-walk step (Figure Ten). Here is where the interpolated figure comes. It lasts for just one bar (Figure Eleven). With a skip the girl bends backwards to the floor. 

Her body is flexed. Simultaneously her heels and her head touch the floor, but she is supported around 
the waist by the man's left arm. He bends from the waist holding her right arm outstretched.

She skips to her feet (Figure Twelve), assisted by her partner, and for from eight to sixteen bars the same skipping step that marked the second figure of the dance is resumed.

Then comes the second characteristic step of the dance (Figure Thirteen). This is made up of two hops and a glide sidewise. It alternates, being done first with the right foot and then with the left. And this is the one figure in the dance where the partners use simultaneous feet. Begin with the man's right foot and the girl's right foot, two hops and a glide. Alternate with the man's left foot and the girl's left foot—two hops and a glide. This step continues for eight bars. They then revert (Figure Fourteen) to the “dip,” and swirl, or Third Figure, for eight bars. The skipping step, or Figure Two, is then resumed until the end of the music (Figure Fifteen). The only change is in the position of the dancers. For now, while the man's right arm rests very lightly and only half-way about the girl's waist, her arm is all the way around his neck. The left arms of both hang loosely at their sides. Their hands are unclasped.


To begin the Blights of Gladness Waltz the girl and the man assume the conventional waltz position. 

For sixteen bars of the music they do the regulation, old-fashioned waltz step. It includes of course the usual reverse. This is known as Figure One.

On the last bar of this sixteen bars begins Figure Two. The man swings the girl to his left side, Hand in hand they take four plain walking steps forward.

Both begin on the right foot. These four steps go simply, right, left, right, left.

This swing and the four steps take up two bars of the music.

The next two bars mark Figure Three . The couple balance to the time on alternate feet beginning with the right foot. The time is accentuated by pausing with the left foot raised in a backward quarter circle—the natural and instinctive swing to the rhythm.

Now for Figure Four . With a skip the girl shifts her balance to her left foot. She brings her right foot forward and up, describing an ascending semi-circle backwards . She balances an instant on her left foot with her right foot in the air. She again resumes the simple skipping step that is the bridge between figures in many of the new dances. With two short skips she should manage to bring her right foot back even with, and directly beside, the left foot, and also to turn her body round. She then takes four retreating glides with her right foot. This same figure is then repeated with the left foot. The whole figure with both

right and left feet should take up only twelve bars of music. The man dances this figure exactly as does the girl. Its finish 

should leave them standing side by side with hands clasped.

Now begins Figure Five . Starting with the right foot they advance for eight bars of music in the lattice step. This ends on the left foot. The lattice step is merely the simple crossing of the ankles of alternate feet in a quick advance.
In Figure Six the man swirls the girl in front of him with a skip for one bar of the music.

Figure Seven is more complicated. They advance with four glides of the right foot. Then with four glides of the left foot. These alternate glides take up eight bars of the music. The girl is always in the position assumed in Figure Six . She is slightly in advance of the man—their hands are clasped.

The plain old-fashioned waltz with which the dance started makes up Figure Eight . This runs for eight bars.

In Figure Nine is the prettiest part of the waltz. This is the now famous “Back to Back Waltz.” With the only point of contact the backs of the heads and the hands clasped with outstretched arms, the couple waltz, literally back

to back, for eight bars. The old-fashioned waltz step is used for this. It is simple in step, but the knack of it is difficult to master—at least most of my pupils seem to find it rather so. So don't be discouraged if at first the swing of it evades you.

On the ninth bar they whirl and bring themselves again vis-a-vis. This is Figure Ten .

In Figure Eleven they waltz face to face, but with folded arms, for eight bars.

A plain walk, the same as Figure Three, but for three steps only, makes Figure Twelve . This takes up one bar of the music.

In Figure Thirteen we have “ The Bend .” This differs slightly from the “ Dip ” of the “Maurice Walk,” already explained in that dance. The man pauses as in that figure. The girl genuflects on her left knee. This takes up four bars of the music.

On the fifth bar after the start of “ The Bend ” the girl regains her feet. This makes Figure Fourteen .
It paves the way for Figure Fifteen , which takes up four bars of music. In this they whirl vis-a-vis in a semi-circle together until they have brought themselves still facing each other, but

each facing in the opposite direction from which the commencement of the figure found them. The natural following of the rhythm of music is the best guide for this.

In Figure Sixteen the plain waltz step is resumed for eight bars. Again the couple should be at least eight inches apart. Their hands should be clasped and their arms outstretched.

On the eighth bar count of this figure comes Figure Seventeen . This is a repetition of the “Bend,” or Figure Thirteen. The “Bend” is done twice here and on alternate knees.

On the completion of this follows Figure Eighteen . It is the “side to side Waltz.” The start of this finds the girl directly in front of the man. She waltzes forward. He waltzes forward, too, as if in pursuit, but at the close of each bar of music he swirls her from side to side. This finds her on alternate bars of the music waltzing on his right or on his left side and slightly in front of him.

This may run for from eight to sixteen bars. It runs into the final figure of the waltz, Figure Nineteen . Now Figure Nineteen is the “Bend” of Figure Seventeen and Figure Thirteen. Technically it is called the “Bend with a Break.” The Bend may be any interpolated step that gives a swirl to the genuflection. 

My wife, Miss Walton, dances it as a curtsey or a skip. That is the best way I can describe it. I dance it by throwing her off her balance and yet poising her again before she falls by a lunge of my body that gives her a chance to regain her equilibrium gracefully. This I never have been able to teach successfully. You might call it a personal mannerism, or an extemporaneous step. I know that I do it—I know that my wife does it. This is the best explanation I can give. I have never seen any one who could copy it, even after watching us time after time. This is not egotism—it is simply a “tricky” step that comes from a knack at interpreting rhythm. Read that last bar according to your own lights is the best instruction I can give to devotees of the “Nights of Gladness Waltz.”


And Some Comments on the New Dances

This lesson presents a set of figures and graceful movements which constitute a modified version of Carmen's famous dance, but especially designed for the ballroom and drawing-room .

La Habanera is another tropical importation into the dance family. It is a modified version of the Carmen's famous dance of allurement.

One point I have tried to make clear in my presentation of these dances to syncopated rhythm in all of my teaching and in all of the demonstrations by my wife and myself; That is, that they are especially intended for use in the ballroom and drawing-room.

They do not demand the familiarity of one partner in order to dance correctly, nor such complete abandonment to their rhythms as is necessary in the stage forms of these same dances.

The new steps are essentially the same. It is in their various adaptations to differing environments that they vary.

There are a number of people who even yet may find cause for criticism in some of the new dances. To these I can only say that the older order of the dances is passing away. There never will be a dance more beautiful than the perfect waltz—the waltz as they dance it in Vienna.

But it is the old tale of new times, new people, new customs. The new music crept in and caught the popular ear, the new dance steps had to follow. Ballroom dancing was dead practically. The onslaught of the syncopated rhythms gave it life.

The newest steps are practically kindergarten steps. Any child can do them.

The “kick” in the maxixe has been disliked by some spectators.

The kick is very hard to do. The girl must lift herself from the floor to a certain extent. It is rather dangerous to depend on the frequently awkward drawing-room partner. But the kick is not actually necessary to the maxixe. While it is the kick that makes the maxixe it is a variation from the motif of this dance. It is the peculiarly Brazilian characteristic, yet the maxixe has numerous figures and the kick can be left out. As I have stipulated ever since I first gave a lesson in this dance there is the maxixe with the kick and without it.

In my demonstration I give it. That is because I wish to show the dance in its entirety. In my lessons i teach it. That is because I engage to teach the maxixe. But that kick is a great deal like cream and sugar in tea—you may dispense with it, or dispense it, just as you desire.

One word, though, I must say in defense of the new syncopations again and again. That is this—you can eliminate physical contact from them almost entirely if you so desire. Their frequent change of figures. and their speedy tempo insist upon a constant alertness and a concentration of mind 

that keep the thoughts as busied as with a problem.

My contention is that the new dances are what dances were intended to be—healthful exercises. The dreamy sensuousness of the waltz, the riotousness of the late polkas and the schottisches and the undue haste and the foreshortened grace of the two-step are done away with.

Dancing has come in for a certain caliber of criticism ever since dancing began. Like original sin in man, there is a subtlety to all dancing that must be reckoned with, watched for and guarded against.

But I maintain, and this heartily, thai the new dances with their bracing, crisp measures, their insistent action and their whirlwind rate of speed are the nearest approach to childhood games that have ever penetrated adult ballrooms in the guise of amusement. “The new dances are the most healthful form of indoor exercise that I know,” said Jean de Reszke, who has been one of the best friends that I have ever made, and is an enthusiast about them. As a “reducer” he says he knows of none better.

Now just a final word about the waltz. It is the most graceful and artistic dance there is. The person who can waltz can be taught any dance. There are many who are called “dancers.” To my mind a person who would be called a dancer must first show me that he or she can waltz. The waltz is the key-stone to all dances. The dances that are now the present vogue are very pretty. They are easily learned. Almost anybody can do them. But glance around among your acquaintances and count how many there are who can show you the graceful swing of the real waltz. When I went to Vienna, where the real waltzers of the world are I used to sit and watch for hours the Vienese officers in their uniforms waltz; view them sliding and gliding by. Then I would go home in front of a mirror and practice until I was tired. Then again the next night I would go watch the officers again. Finally I got a vague idea of the real waltz. 

Then I practiced for a year before I really considered that I could do it. The majority of men are ignorant of the proper way in which to pose a woman for the waltz. This is one of the most important points. 

Here is the way it is done in Vienna.

You should hold the lady's right arm out straight and not bend it at the elbows, as so many men do. You move only the arm in a species of wave motion. The bodies of both the man and the woman should be kept straight. The man's right hand should rest lightly and almost at the center of the woman's waist in the back. If there is any definite pressure it acts as a restraint and the woman is impeded from freedom and grace of movement. You will find if you observe these cautions and take these positions your waltzing will be much more easy and far more graceful.


This new dance creation of ours is quite different from any other dance we do.

It is danced to a rather peculiar “Raggy” rhythm, with the syncopations much the same as the rhythm in primitive Spanish music.

Properly to do this dance one should get that particular piece of music written for me called the “Maurice Walk.”

It is unlike any other walk that is being done. It has the versifications necessary for the figures of “La Habanera.”

To start the dance you take the eight plain walking steps ( Figure One ).
A quick “One, Two, Three” movement of the music follows.

The interpretation of this is a decided marking of its accent.

This is done with the shoulders and body in unison to a quick advance of alternating feet. ( Figure Two .) You begin with the right foot. The movement is then right, left, right, left, right, left, etc., through sixteen bars of music. The shoulders bend simultaneously. When the right foot advances, the bend is with the right shoulder, slightly forward and sidewise. The left shoulder bends as the left foot advances.

For Figure Three the time is broken from “one, two, three” and you go into a two-step, starting with the right foot, for one, two , and then with the left foot, one, two .

This continues for eight bars of the music.

Then comes Figure Four . For this you make a small skip and then go into a side step for sixteen bars of music, sliding first on the right foot and then on the left foot. You repeat this twice.

For Figure Five you make a small circle, going right foot, one, two , left foot one, two , for eight bars of music.

In Figure Six the man folds his arms in front of him, putting his right arm over his left. The girl folds her arms, right arm over left. Holding them right on a level with their chests they continue the two-step time and make another circle for eight bars.

For Figure Seven , with their arms still folded, the girl starts on the right foot and the man on his left foot and they resume again the “ one, two,

three ” time. They go right foot , one, two, three, and then left foot , one, two, three, making a circle starting with the front and ending in the front. They repeat this twice. At the end of the second circle they go into Figure Eight.

Figure Eight : This is a dip to the floor. The girl goes down on her right knee in a genuflection. The man dips on his left.

In Figure Nine they rise and resume again the one, two, three time for sixteen bars, making large circles all around the room.

Figure Ten is a large circle at the end of Figure Nine. This is one, two, three, on the left, with the girl's left foot lifted in the back at the end of their third count. Then one, two, three, on the right, with the girl's right foot lifted in the back at the end of the third count.

Then, one, two, three, on the right with the girl's right foot lifted in the back at the end of the third count. This continues for sixteen bars of music.

At that point the music changes to a sort of cake-walk. This change in time makes possible Figure Eleven . This is what is known as the “Eight step” in the Tango. If you will refer to my lesson on the Tango you will find this plainly described, but you do it here to cake-walk time and you do it twice.

The knees are raised right up almost waist high, as was done in the old fashioned cake-walk. The girl starts on her right foot , and the man on his left . You go right, left, right, left for sixteen times. 

Finishing, the girl is on her left foot and the man is on his right foot .

Figure Twelve finishes the dance. The couple do a plain cake-walk step, but the girl is on the side of the man instead of facing him. On the two final bars of the music, the man turns the girl squarely around deep curtesy in

This dance is when danced once won its way with positive that if you will give up the idea of the worked one step and want the La Habanera.