There's a picture here.
I had to check the text, where I found that was what Tolstoy had written -- but he was writing the book in the 1860s and obviously hadn't done his research!
On the other hand, it isn't clear exactly what the waltz was in the early decades of the 19th century. Most references make it clear that it was like a regular line dance of the time but with a section in which the couple turned together, in one another's arms. It also kept the couple together throughout, which was different to the usual country dance in which the dancers moved among others.
This picture comes closer to my idea of the Regency waltz and fits with a demonstration I saw years ago. Or this, though it's more exagerrated.
"Far too much intimacy," the critics complained. "Bound to lead to ruin!"
Here's a reenactment of a more sociable version of the same thing.
Byron, who could hardly be called stuffy, railed against it in 1813, but implies much more constant togetherness, and the typical waltz hold, face to face. Ah, if only they'd had photographs back then!
There's a full version of the poem here with interesting annotations.
"Endearing Waltz!—to thy more melting tune
Bow Irish Jig, and ancient Rigadoon.
Scotch reels, avaunt! and Country-dance forego
Your future claims to each fantastic toe!
Waltz—Waltz alone—both legs and arms demands,
Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands;
Hands which may freely range in public sight
Where ne’er before—but—pray “put out the light.”
Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier
Shines much too far—or I am much too near;
And true, though strange—Waltz whispers this remark,
“My slippery steps are safest in the dark!”
But here the Muse with due decorum halts,
And lends her longest petticoat to “Waltz.”
Later he goes on....
"The Ball begins—the honours of the house
First duly done by daughter or by spouse,
Some Potentate—or royal or serene—
With Kent’s gay grace, or sapient Gloster’s mien,
Leads forth the ready dame, whose rising flush
Might once have been mistaken for a blush.
From where the garb just leaves the bosom free,
That spot where hearts were once supposed to be;
Round all the confines of the yielded waist,
The strangest hand may wander undisplaced:
The lady’s in return may grasp as much
As princely paunches offer to her touch.
Pleased round the chalky floor how well they trip
One hand reposing on the royal hip!
The other to the shoulder no less royal
Ascending with affection truly loyal!
Thus front to front the partners move or stand,
The foot may rest, but none withdraw the hand;
And all in turn may follow in their rank,
The Earl of—Asterisk—and Lady—Blank;
Sir—Such-a-one—with those of fashion’s host,
For whose blest surnames—vide “Morning Post.”
(Or if for that impartial print too late,
Search Doctors’ Commons six months from my date*)
—Thus all and each, in movement swift or slow,
The genial contact gently undergo;
Till some might marvel, with the modest Turk,
If “nothing follows all this palming work?”
True, honest Mirza!—you may trust my rhyme—
Something does follow at a fitter time;
The breast thus publicly resigned to man,
In private may resist him—if it can."
*Clearly he believed that the intimacies of the waltz could lead to urgent marriages. It all feels a bit extreme, even for Byron, so what exactly was the waltz that upset him so?
There's an interesting discussion of the subject here.
How do you envision a waltz in a historical romance? How do you want it to be?
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