The Landler or Ländler is a Austrian dance, which has no certain birthdate but evolved as a type of Folk dance known under different names, until it was finally called the 'Landl ob der Enns' which was shortened to Landler, Ländler or Ländl sometime around 1690 and gained popularity around 1720. The origins of the word Ländler comes from the word "Land" (country), a dance "coming from the country-side" in opposite to dances from the court or city, also signifying the state of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) and the adjoining Styria (Steiermark).
At this time dances were often choreographed from dance-masters at royal courts and were then mimicked by the people. Elements of "folk-dances" then were reused by dance-masters, so there was a steady exchange of dances and styles. The Landler was furthermore a dance were closer body-contact between men and women was necessary, in comparison to Menuett (Minuet), Circle-dances, etc. and therefore seen as too erotic and lusty and the authorities and the church tried to restrict or forbid dancing, especially dances like this.
People who moved to Vienna brought with them the Landler from these regions and developed faster dancing of the Landler-steps, due to the new smoother dance floors and better shoes for dancing (relegation of Hobnailed shoes) which we know nowadays under the title of "Viennese Waltz".
Due to emigration Landlers were taken to different areas like Deutsch??Mokra (today Ukraine), or Siebenbuergen (Neppendorfer Landler,) ... which were at this time part of the Austra-Hungarian Monarchy. The overall name of those emigrated people today is "Landler" with many variations to the dance in their respective regions/ provinces. The Ländler was one of the smoothest and fastest dances known at the time but is moderately slow today.
The Landler at one time consisted of much turning and gliding, mime and said ... but no longer done a kissing of the partners. A type of folk dance in which couples were arranged in sets or faced one another in a line and has been written that the couples would break away and the man would dance solo (er, as a couple) later to return together and finish dancing as a group.
A typical characteristic for the Landler today is that it is
A) a typical couples dance (usually open position) and ...
B) includes a lot of rather sophisticated "arm-tying" (known as "wickeln") and turning. Also in many Landlers the boys step into the middle of the circle and sing (funny & erotic short songs) and clap ("paschen"). Landler can be very wild and fast (e.g. Untersteirer Landler), but also rather slow (e.g. Stoahauser Landler).
The Ländler is said to be a forerunner of the Waltz. It became very popular during the 1790-1800 period. The Landler is also known as the Hospur. In Frankfurt, Germany in 1770, the Parisian Strassburger dance or Strassbourgeoise was very close to the Ländler. Giacomo Cassanova (1725-1798) was said to enjoy dancing the Landler very much.