There are two versions of night club two-step; ballroom and country. Both dances are beautiful with a romantic feel and are danced to love ballads. In today’s post, I’m going to get you started with the Country Night Club Two-Step.
Topics covered in this post:
· History and Characteristics
· Musical Information
· Dancing the Basic
· Dance Frame
History and Characteristics
Night club two-step was created by Buddy Schwimmer to fill a void in the club scene in the early ’60s. Besides hugging and swaying with your honey when slow songs came on, there were no specific dance dancers could do, so Buddy developed the Nightclub Two Step. Later, The Country-Western organization adopted this dance as a smooth style in the competitive circuit ( UCWDC ) and made some slight changes along the way. Country Night Club is characterized by its romantic feel, gliding movements, and slight sway. Unlike other “Smooth Style” dances, it does not travel around the floor in the Line of Dance, but it does cover some ground.
Night Club Two-Step is written in 4/4 time, which means there are 4 quarter notes within a bar of music. A bar is synonymous with measure and it’s a rhythmical grouping set off in written music by a vertical barline. What that means for us dancers, is that we will count to either 4 or 8 when creating choreography or counting patterns to help us stay on time and in the phrase. Country Night Club Two-Step music is danced to slow romantic country songs and ranges between 58-62 beats per minute (BPM). Click this link to get a better feel for Night Club Two-Step music: https://youtu.be/7qaHdHpSjX8
There are two ways you can count this dance: SQQ SQQ or 1 2& 3 4&. Essentially, the first step (slow count) uses one beat of the music and the second two beats or quick counts use half a beat each. Therefore, the beat value is 1 ½ ½. The 1 and 3 are the downbeats and as dancers need to accent these beats throughout. I will go more into detail with how to do this in the next section when I break down the Basic Step.
Dancing the Basic
Now that you have a better understanding of where this dance came from and what type of music it’s danced to, let’s get into the fun dancing part! First, I’ll break down where your feet should go, then I will give you a couple of technical tips that with practice, will make your dancing beautiful and look effortless.
Leaders: Begin with your weight on your left foot with your right foot pointed to the side without weight. Your basic foot positions are as follows: Step to the side with your right foot, step back with your left foot (toe to heel – small step), step forward and across with your right foot. Now, repeat on the other side. Once you do this on both sides, you have completed a full basic.
Followers: Begin with your weight on your right foot with your left foot pointed to the side without weight. Your basic foot positions are as follows: Step to the side with your left foot, step back with your right foot (toe to heel – small step), step forward and across with your left foot. Now, repeat on the other side. Once you do this on both sides, you have completed a full basic.
The Basic step: https://www.facebook.com/665881863801998/videos/3032464033511051
The first technical tip I want to cover is proper footwork. Footwork refers to the part of your foot that is in contact with the floor. The main footwork in this dance is ball flat. This means your weight begins at the front of the foot and rolls to the whole foot on each step your take. As in most dances, your feet always remain in contact with the floor unless you are doing some type of embellishment. So, if you slide your feet into position on each step, chances are you will be doing the proper footwork for this dance 😊
Here’s a video of the footwork: https://www.facebook.com/665881863801998/videos/786151398615708
The second technical tip I want to cover is sway. Sway is also one of the characteristics of this dance, so it’s important to add this to your basic step! Sway happens as a result of swing. When your foot and hip move out to the side, your body will slightly incline in the other direction creating a counterbalance, known as sway. You will use this action on the 1 and 3 counts (slows). I know this may be a little confusing in writing, so check out this video for a visual: https://www.facebook.com/665881863801998/videos/878140719335061
Now that we have covered the Basic Step and a couple of technical tips to get it feeling good and moving smoothly, let’s move onto the dance frame and dancing this with a partner.
The first step to dancing with a partner is learning how to hold your partner. One of the most important parts of partner dancing is holding and maintaining a good frame – frame meaning, your arms. This is what connects you to one another and through a good frame and connection, makes it possible to lead and follow. Are you ready to give it a try?
To take a closed position hold, begin by standing just under a foot apart from each other. If you are leading, extend your left arm and hand towards your partner to invite them into your frame. Followers will respond by placing their right hand in the leader’s left while holding their left arm out to the side. Once this connection happens, leaders should bring their left elbow back slightly so that the elbow is in line with their shoulder with the elbow pointed slightly down. The leader’s right hand will connect on the follower’s left shoulder blade with the elbow out wide and lifted. The follower will rest her hand gently on the crease of the leader’s bicep while keeping a light and responsive frame. Lastly, the follower needs to maintain a slight off-set position to the leader’s right side so that she can maintain a good connection into his hand. Both partner’s need to maintain tone in their arms so that they don’t collapse in towards each other and always remember to move from your center – not your arms.
To put everything together, throw on that song I mentioned earlier, take your partner, and dance the Basic.
Watch this video to see everything put together: https://youtu.be/lWXeA8HBtQQ
There is so much more you can learn with this dance, and I hope that you are inspired to continue learning after reading this. As always, keep practicing and growing. I hope you enjoyed today’s post and have a great rest of your day 😊