When it comes to Country-Western dancing there are eight different dances you can learn. Today we are going to give you a detailed description on how to dance the most popular country dance in Texas, which is the Country Two Step, or it’s also referred to as the “Texas Two-Step”! If you’re like me and you like to go out and have a good time with your friends at Whiskey River Houston or your favorite country bar, or maybe you are looking to meet new people and socialize, this is THE dance to know how to do in Texas! Not to mention, it is fun and pretty simple compared to other dances! Below, is a quick look into what to expect in this blog post:
· History of Country Two Step
· Musicality and Counting
· The Basic Steps
· Putting it all together
Before we dive into learning to Two-Step, let us take a moment to learn more about the history of this fun-filled dance. This will give you a better understanding of its character and how it was meant to be performed.
History of Country Two-Step
Here is the short and sweet history of Country Two-Step. Country music started to take off in 1925, due to the Nashville broadcasting of the Grand Old Opry. This new music was embraced by square dancers around America. One group of collegiate Texas square dancers picked up a ballroom dance called the “Foxtrot” and began to dance it between different music sets. Before long, this became what we know today as the “Two-Step”. To make it different from the Foxtrot, the timing was reversed to Quick, Quick, Slow, Slow and the frame became slightly more relaxed.
After a while, the Two-Step lost its excitement until it was re-popularized by John Travolta when “Urban Cowboy” came out in the 80s. To this day, through country competitions, the country Two-Step continues to grow and change with the influence of ballroom technique.
Musicality and Counting
The first step to learning how to dance Country Two-Step is understanding the basic rhythm. The most common way to count the basic rhythm is Quick Quick Slow Slow (QQSS). The Quick takes up one beat of the music and the Slow takes up two beats of music, making one full basic equal six beats of music. If you are a numbers person, you may prefer to count 123(4)5(6). The numbers in parenthesis are silent because you would hold on those numbers only stepping on counts one, two, three, and five.
Now that you have an understanding of the basic rhythm and how to count, you are ready to learn the basics!
Dancing the Basic Country Two-Step
At our dance studios, we teach Country Two-Step before any other country dance because it most closely resembles walking, making it a simpler dance to learn than most other country dances.
If you are leading, you will begin with your left foot forward and if you are following, you will begin with your right foot backward. To dance the Basic Step, you will place one foot in front of the other (just like walking) while counting QQSS and traveling counterclockwise around the room. The direction we dance in is also known as the Line of Dance. Think of the Line of Dance as a racetrack – you would not want to drive into traffic, would you? I would recommend dancing this without a partner first so that you can get a better feel of the steps and timing. Next, throw on one of your favorite Two Step songs and dance the Basic to music. Country Two Step music is rather fast, so try practicing to a medium tempo song. I always use a song with a prominent beat such as Shania Twain’s “Any Man Of Mine” or “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band. Now that you have your steps down, it is time to try with a partner!
For my leaders, check out this quick video to see what the Basic looks like from the leaders perspective without a partner:
Dancing with a Partner
The first step to dancing with a partner is learning how to hold your partner. One of the most important parts to 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?
Begin by facing your partner and hold your arms out to the side. If you are leading, make a big circle with your arms like you are holding a big beach ball and place your right hand on your partner’s left should blade. Now, bend your left elbow at about a ninety-degree angle, and followers will bring their right arm slightly forward and bend their elbow at about a ninety-degree angle to clasp their leader’s hand. Keep these connected hands at about the follower’s chin level, but no lower.
Next, followers will take their left arm and place it on top of the leader’s right arm so that there is no space in between. Make sure you both keep your elbows lifted and arms toned (do not hang on your partner or droop the arms down). Now that you know how to hold your partner, try dancing the Basic around the Line of Dance with music!
What’s great about Country Two Step is you can dance to an entire song with just the Basic Step. However, we know it is fun to be able to learn some “cooler” moves to really show you and your partner off. Check out the video below to see how to do the follower’s Double Underarm Turn Right! We hope you enjoyed this blog and learned a lot today.
Ready to give it a try? Schedule your consultation today!
Looking for more Country Two-Step moves? Check out this video on double underarm Turn Right: