The Last Waltz by Neal Elias

I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom!
Bob Hope


About The Last Waltz

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time to fold: About an hour
Paper: Medium thickness, two colour.  Gift wrap paper is good.

The Last Waltz by Neal Elias is another of my favourite models.  It looks quite dated by today’s standards of highly detailed complex origami design, but arguably it still holds its own as one of the most beautiful, graceful origami designs ever made. It has a real sense of story to it and the title ‘The Last Waltz’ sums it up perfectly. You can almost hear the music playing. Elias designed several models of couples dancing and to me, this is the best of them all.

Although the model is called ‘The Last Waltz’, it could just as easily have been titled ‘First Dance’.  I have known several people give this to friends who are getting married.


Folding The Last Waltz

Paper choice is important for this design. It is made from a single 3×1 rectangle of paper, coloured differently on each side, which provides the contrast between the male and female figures. Thick paper should be avoided as there are several layers around the middle which may not be easy to fold and shape neatly if the paper is too thick.  Really thin paper probably isn’t a great idea either.  This one is made from silver gift wrap paper. A piece of paper about 45cm x 15cm (18in x 6 in) produces a model approximately 10cm (4in) tall.

Although The Last Waltz looks difficult to fold it is actually surprisingly simple, although it does require a reasonable degree of accuracy. Anybody that can manage simple origami steps such as reverse folds should be able to complete this model with some care, and I’d encourage everybody to try.


Diagrams for The Last Waltz

The British Origami Society holds the copyright for Elias’s works and diagrams are available from the BOS website (sadly sold out at the time of writing). With the permission of the BOS, Sara Adams has produced an excellent set of videos explaining how to fold this model in about an hour. These are available, free of charge, on her YouTube channel.