Culture and Customs: Everyone ought to know how to waltz. The waltz is easy: It’s just a step, slide, step (or step, step, close) in 3/4 time with the accent on the first beat. The world waltz comes from the German for “turn.” When it first appeared in the 1700s in Vienna, the waltz scandalized society, since couples embraced closely while dancing rather than just holding hands. It was also considered shocking that the energetic dance would leave young ladies out of breath. The waltz came to England in the early 1800s and soon after became one of the most popular dances in Europe.