About Friday Night Waltz

Friday Night Waltz has mostly Waltzes in the dances and classes, along with Polka, One Step, Tango, Swing, and Cha Cha, in addition to line dance, waltz and polka mixers, and specialty choreographed dances like Congress of Vienna, and Bohemian National Polka.

People are friendly, and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.

Partners are not needed as we rotate rapidly in classes.

Casual comfortable attire. All ages.

People come from San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and Oakland. We are on facebook.


info@FridayNightWaltz.com or callscott phone number

Where is Friday Night Waltz?

Upstairs, First United Methodist Church

625 Hamilton Avenue X Byron

1 block from University and Middlefield

Palo Alto Ca 94301


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Directions from Highway 101

Take the University Avenue exit and head west on University Avenue toward Palo Alto.
Turn left onto Middlefield Road. Take the first right on Hamilton Avenue.
The church is located on the right side, 625 Hamilton Avenue.

Directions from El Camino Real (north of Palo Alto )

Going south on El Camino Real turn left at first light in Palo Alto, which is Alma.
Cross railroad tracks and continue on Alma to first light.
Turn left at light onto Lytton for approximately one mile and turn right at the light on Webster
Go one block to cross University Avenue
The church is located at the end of the next block on the left side, 625 Hamilton Avenue

Directions from Highway 258: Take the Page Mill Road exit and head east on Page Mill Road toward Palo Alto.

Cross over Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real.
Page Mill Road has now turned into Oregon Expressway.
Turn left on Middlefield Road and continue for approximately 1.5 miles to Hamilton Avenue.
Turn left onto Hamilton Avenue.
The church is located on the right side, 625 Hamilton Avenue.
Public Transportation - Bus and Train Information Bus and train service are located nearby.
Our street address is 625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto 94301.

The Palo Alto CalTrain station is .7 miles from the Church.

Parking is available on city streets or in the municipal Parking Garage on Webster. There is limited parking in the church parking lot on Byron.

When is Friday Night Waltz?

Friday Night Waltz is on ... Fridays! We are usually open about 48 to 52 Fridays a year. Typically the owner of the hall, the First United Methodist Church uses the hall on some Friday nights during the year, preempting our dance. We always give ample notice that we are not using the hall on certain days.

What is the format of the dance?

There are 45 to 50 dances in an evening. About half the dances are waltzes, including several kinds of waltzes: cross-step waltz, ballroom, rotary, viennese, redowa, hesitation.

Often there are about 6 polkas and about 4 Tangos.

Many of these polkas are fast. The rest of the dances are the mixers, the choreographed waltzes, one-steps, swing, tango, cha-cha, Zweifacher or salsa The easier and slower dances are in the half of the dance with faster and harder dances are in the second half..

At our dances we provide free water and light refreshements, usually blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, seedless grapes, green grapes, carrots, mms, small chocolate cookies, potato chips, trail mix. If you want to get better at these dances, both Joan Walton and Richard Powers regularly have classes for all the dances we have at Friday Night Waltz.

What if I don't know the first thing about waltz?

Friday Night Waltz offers newcomer and beginning waltz lessons beginning at 7:15 p.m. Many of the people who regularly attend Friday Night Waltz are also quite happy to answer any questions you might have. We all remember what it was like when we were just starting out.

What if I don't have a dance partner?

A dance partner isn't necessary. Partners are rotated while in class, and ballroom dancing is a venue where men and women are encouraged to ask each other to dance.

How many people come to each dance?

It varies. Between one hundred and two hundred people is typical.

Do you dance anything other than the waltzes?

About half of the dance music we play in an evening is for waltzes ranging from the very slow to the very fast. Between waltzes, we play polkas, tango, salsa, cha cha, one step, several different line dances like Tokyo polka, the madison, in addition to specialty dances like the Congress of Vienna, cross step mixer, Bohemian National Polka, and Romany Polka.

What should I wear?

The dress is casual. People wear anything that is comfortable for an evening of energetic dancing.

I've got questions not answered on this list. Who do I contact

Any questions that aren't answered in this FAQ can be email to Scott, ScottFNW@pway.com

Dance Descriptions

There are 45 to 50 dances in an evening. Typically, about half the dances are waltzes, including several kinds of waltzes- cross step, ballroom, rotary, viennese, redowa, hesitation. Often there are about 6 polkas.

Many of these polkas are fast and often played to silly music, such as "Constantinople", and a great instrumental from "Gilligan's Island".

The rest of the dances are the mixers, the choreographed waltzes, one-steps, swing, tango, cha-cha and an occasional blues dance.

The dance is in 4 sets, with a 1 to 2 minute break between sets, so that people can take a breather. The easier and slower dances are in the first two sets, faster and harder dances are in the third and fourth set. There is usually a mixer in the first and third set, and a choreographed waltz in the the second and fourth sets. These are not hard rules, just typical.

If you want to get better at these dances, both Joan Walto and Richard Powers regularly have classes for all the dances we have at Friday Night Waltz. Check out our links page.


Choreographed dances

Congress of Vienna: The Congress of Vienna waltz was choreographed by John Hertz of Los Angeles (inspired by illustrations in Regency-period dance manuals) to music that he edited and assembled himself from recordings of three more-or-less period Swedish waltzes. In addition to being danced at Friday Night Waltz, the Congress of Vienna is also danced at PEERS, BAERS, and Gaskell Ball dances. Music for the Congress of Vienna is available from Brassworks and Bangers and Mash Cds.

Bohemian National Polka by Richard Powers is based on a reconstruction by the Czech dance historian Frantisek Bonus. Cross Step Waltz Mixer is a waltz mixer created by Richard Powers and is played at most Friday Night Waltzes. Richard Powers has a webpage on dance descriptions, discography, and additional thoughts about social dancing.

Theme dances

Movie Music night. Richard Powers teaches dances from movies and plays wonderful music from beloved and famous movies. Late February or early March. Very popular dance.

BRW Ball. A Valentine ball, the Black Red and White Ball from tshirts to tuxedos. You are welcome to wear any combination of red, black and/or white from Tshirt to Tuxedos. Romantic Valentine music and classes. Around Valentine's day.

Contra Waltz. This is an extremely popular dance mashup of contra dancing and social couples dances. Link to describe contra dancing. Two hours of introductory rotary waltz and one step. One hour of introductory contra dancing. Live band. Format is called contra dance, waltz, one step, repeat 8 times. Often a dance performance. Huge fun for all. The contra dancers benefit from experienced social couples dancers from Friday Night Waltz. The social couples dancers benefit from dancing with experienced contra dancers. Supported by the Bay Area Country Dance Society, which hold 40+ monthly dances. Over 200 have attended all 6 previous Contra Waltzes. April or May.

Bastille Day Waltz Dance. classes in sublime french dancing including valse musette, la java, and le one step. Wonderful French music including 1940's and 1950's French bistro music. A must Go! the week of July 14th, Bastille Day.

Disney Music Night. Memorable and joyful danceable Disney Music. Classes in dances from Disney live and animation movies. Disney costumes encouraged. Very popular!

Anime and Game Music night. Richard Powers' vast collection of anime and game music. Classes in dances from anime and game. March or April.

Viennese Waltz Night Classes and music for Viennese Waltz. November.

April Fools dance. The most silly dance music imagineable. Week of April 1. We often have silly waltz or polka choreographies in the classes.

FNW anniversary dance. Mid August. We invite all current and past FNW dancers. A fairly big crowd. We play all the most popular tunes from past years.

Winter Waltz Ball A holiday live band ball. Elegent evening wear. Second Friday in December. Our holiday dance.

80's dance music night One of Richard Powers favorite themes.

Disco Night Richard Powers' classes and music from the 80's.

Halloween dance imaginative spooky and halloween music. Often we teach Michael Jackson's Thriller choreography, as well as the Time Warp dance. costumes encouraged. Last Friday in October

Copyright © 2001-2024 Scott Gamble