InternationalStandardWaltz? has only closed figures; that is, the couple never leaves DancePosition?. Contrast AmericanStyleWaltz?, in which some figures involve breaking contact entirely. For example, the (? what's this figure called?) includes a free spin for both the man and lady. Open rolls are another good example of an OpenDanceFigure?, in which the lady alternates between the man's left and right sides, with the man's left or right arm (alone) providing the lead.
A typical Waltz figure (from the man's perspective) starts lowered into the knees and travelling forward with a strong heel lead. Count 2 rises and is taken on the ball of the foot, and count 3 starts on the ball of the foot and lowers to the heel as the couple begins to lower in preparation for the next measure. A smooth rise-and-fall action is a primary characteristic of this dance.
"Waltz" is also the name for the kind of music to which one dances the waltz. In this sense, there are waltzes in nearly every kind of European and American folk music as well as in classical or "art" music. Many songs, too, are "in waltz time." The music is written out in 3/4 time and typically played at a rather slow tempo (but see above).