(fah-MEEL-yeh vahls-en)

Skandia CD, tracks 9 & 10


Credible English Title The Family Waltz.


Heritage Swedish / Scandinavian.
U.S. Source As learned by Gordon E. Tracie in Sweden, l948, and taught at Skandia.
Category Old-time couple mixer.

Motivation and application

Recreational, non-performance-oriented.



Triple meter (3/4), even waltz.


Function Couple mixer dance.
Character and form Flowing and spirited, but with grace.
Footwork Opposite.
Specific steps Waltz balance, waltz turn.
Dance holds Ring hold.  Waltz hold (see description in Appendix A).


Single ring, alternate M and W.  Hands joined, held at shoulder height, elbows bent so arms form "V."



A.  Greeting corner and partner:
Hands joined at should level in a ring hold, M beginning on L, W on R foot, waltz step (turn, step, close) to face corner (to M's L, W's R).
2 Beginning with other foot, waltz step to partner side (to M's R, W's L) in same manner.
3 - 4 Repeat 1 - 2 above.

5 - 8
B.  Waltz turn with corner:
Retain hand hold with corner (see Helpful Hints, below), take waltz hold.  Beginning with M's L, W's R foot, do 4 turning waltz steps to make one- and-a-half rotations CW, making sure to keep in circle formation.  At the end of measure 8, M leaves the W he just danced with, on his R (i.e., his partner side), and re-forms a closed ring.
  The sequence begins anew with new corner, changing partners every 8 measures.

Helpful Dance Hints

1. If the dancers wish to dance the first waltz turn with their "original" partners (presumably the ones asked for the dance), it is necessary that the woman start on the man's left side (i.e., as his "corner") when the ring is initially formed.
2. When two or more circles of dancers are required because of space restriction, care should be taken to avoid forming a spiral.  Each ring must retain its independence.
3. Smile!
4. When Measure 4 ends, the man stands with his back toward his next partner.  When Measure 6 begins, the man is in Waltz hold, ready to dance with this partner.  In between, he must get out of the woman's way so she can get in front.  The most useful cue you can give an beginning male dancer:
Men: take the first L step, count 1 - measure 5, strongly to the outside of the circle.
If the women arrives in front quickly, with some momentum, can Waltz well, and is lucky enough to catch the man on the proper foot; then she stands a decent chance of leading him through the turn.


The Family Waltz is as "all-Scandinavian" a group dance as can be found, long a favorite mixer among folk and old-time dancers in all the Nordic lands.  It has a particular sentimental significance for dancers in Seattle, for it was the first "imported" dance taught at the founding meeting of Skandia Folkdance Society in 1949.

Spelling Note:  This dance is popular in many nations, so the dance name is properly spelled in many ways.  "Family" is spelled Familje in Swedish, Familie in Danish and Norwegian.  The "en" at the end corresponds to "the" in English.  In Swedish, Danish and Norwegian the word for Waltz, vals, may properly be the last syllable or a separate word.  The most common spellings currently seem to be; Familjevalsen - Swedish, Familievals - Danish, and Familie vals - Norwegian.  However, no spelling or grammar rules restrict anyone from preferring other forms.

M.C. Note:  The Skandia recording of Familjevalsen spans tracks 9 & 10.  Use this track break to extend the number of partner changes.

Musicians commonly play for this mixer while watching a brightly dressed dancer.  Once that dancer has danced all around the room, they end the dance.  Track 9 includes the introduction and music for four partner changes.  Track 10 follows immediately, with no time between tracks, and contains music for eight more partner changes.  Once track 10 plays, you can extend the length of the dance; just press the "Skip to beginning of track" button on most CD players, the dance will end eight partner changes later.  Practice a few times, to hit the rhythm.  (The little squeek that sometimes sounds will not be noticed over the noise the dancers make.)  If you wait until the eighth, or last, partner change of track 10, the dancers will notice what you did, because the music is slowing by then.

Copyright © 1997 Skandia Music Foundation Familjevalsen

You may freely distribute this document provided you agree to retain this copyright notice and mention that a recording for this dance is on the Viking Skandia CD, available from www.folkdancing.com.