Rounddancing on Ice in Vienna

Viennese ice dancing tradition is part of the Austrian list of intangible cultural heritage

Since Austria joined the UNESCO - Commission it is responsible to create a national list of intangible cultural heritage. In 2018 ‚Round-dancing on ice in Vienna‘ has been included in the national list of intangible cultural heritage.

Cultural heritage is not only about monuments and objects anymore. The term has changed content considerably in recent years. Intangible cultural heritage honors traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. It is not only a cultural good, but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that have been passed from one generation to the next. Furthermore it can only be recognized as one by the community that creates, maintains and transmits it.

Round-dancing on the ice evolved from social ballroom dances. It is performed in a dance circle on Viennese ice-rinks. Everyone who has the basic knowledge can join. There are no fixed rules or dance partners and the various step sequences are performed to the rhythm of the music.

The Austrian Commission for UNESCO provides a short abstract in German and the subitted documents are available as downloads. There is a video created by Constanze Natmessnig available as well.

The Austrian newspaper ‚Die Presse‘ states: ‚Wiener Rundtanzen auf dem Eis ist Unesco-Kulturerbe‘ and ‚Kulturerbe: Ein Titel wackelt – vier sind neu‘

 Thank you to everyone who supported us and provided us with their knowledge!

Ice Dancing

Ice dancing - what is it? For grassroots sport, it is a rather exotic unknown way of dancing, because this is known first and foremost as a great competitive sport. But there are however, two cities in the center of Europe, in which there is the tradition of ice dancing for fun and passion - Vienna and Munich. Here we want to pay tribute to this sport, which is called "round dance".


As the name implies, the round dance is danced in a circle. You dance counterclockwise - very rarely also clockwise ;-) The round dance is danced for about 150 years at the "Wiener Eislaufverein" (Vienna Ice Skating Club) in Vienna and also in Munich. Similar to a ball, the gentlemen asks the ladies for a dance - no fixed partner is required. The individual dances, which are danced in the dance circle are partly very easy to learn. It is neither a performance sport nor competitions sport - round dance is danced because of the desire for the movement.

Getting started is relatively easy. Moving forward and backward and one or two steps and you can already dance a waltz on the ice ...

Round-dancing for a Christmas Video

Couple Dancing


The waltz is the easiest dance of the round dances - quick to learn and very swinging.


The Java is the dance, which is danced to a four-quarter time. The step sequence is already a bit more demanding. The steps of the waltz can be integrated into the dance.


The Kilian exists in a simple variant and in a somewhat more challenging. Typical for this dance is the so-called Kilian hold, where the dance partners dance side by side with crossed arms.


The dance is presented close to each other. Music: waltz Steps: many threes ("Herz" means heart, because of the heart shape of the threes).



... you can mix all together ...

Group Dances


The chain-kilian (Kettenkilian) is a short form of the Kilian step - several dancers dance together - three, four ... sometimes up to eight. It is especially important for this reason that everybody is driving in the same direction ;-)


The "Knopf"-dance is danced by 4, 6, 8, ... dancers.

"Knopf" is "wienerisch" slang for knot.

Dumpling Dance

Is a form of the "Herzel"-Dance ...

Circlewaltz (Kreiswalzer)

A crowd of dancers dance together in a circle. A dancer announce the special steps - like simple turn, double turn, ...
Music: waltz

Münchner Dipferl

Special dance from Munich ...

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