Country and Western > overthinking the two step?

Discussion in 'Country and Western' started by skunker, May 6, 2012.

  1. skunker

    skunker New Member

    Hey all,
    I'm a beginner taking country western two step classes. Only taken 3 classes so far (1hr each) and having trouble keeping in correct step (QQSS) as the song goes on. I tend to over think things. When I'm about to twirl a girl, I start counting in my head Quick Quick, Slow Slow and then turn her on the second slow. When you guys do the two step, are you also counting in your head or does it just come naturally to you? It does not yet feel natural to me.

    I'm about to order one of those two-step instructional videos so I can practice at home.

    Any tips for a beginner? Thanks.
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi skunker. welcome. I'm having trouble understanding the issue. You're having trouble knowing when to initiate your partner's spins?

    And give yourself a break, btw. Three lessons is kinda soon to judge yourself. I'm sure you're doing fine. :-D
  3. skunker

    skunker New Member

    Yea, good point. I also got dragged into a line dancing class and having a blast. I know line dancing is kind of looked down upon by people, but have had several compliments by the ladies hehe (whom, btw, make up 97% of the class).

    This whole dancing thing started after I read a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Do the things you fear...and the death of fear is certain."

    I feared dancing all my life, so I just threw myself into these classes and now wish I would've done this earlier!
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Counting your steps qqs s qq s s is one way, the best? the only? way to get it "into your body." Heck, I've been doing this for maybe 15 years, and by now its something I don't have to think about much, but I still mess up sometimes.

    It'll fell "natural" to you when you've done it "enough times", not until!

    Check out Skippy Blair answering this quesiton at this url

    When do you stop counting

    Think we fairly recently had a discussion about when to lead a turn.

    Oh, hey, Hi skunker!
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Awesome quote!

    I'm not a leader, so I'll be quiet, but there a few guys here who can really help you, IMO. Good luck!!! :-D
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Ooops. And there goes one of them. :) You're in great hands with Steve.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    One more comment for the day, line dancing teaches you to move in time to the music. And THAT is something a whole ton of guys have a problem with, based on just about everything I've seen. And, it's a good way for the gals to see that you dance!
  8. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Don't stress ... when I started I could either keep time with the music, lead a pattern or manage our way around the dance floor, but not all three at the same time. With some practice, it all goes much easier.

    Don't worry about counting just do it. Eventually, it becomes a much less pronounced part of each of your dances. Being on beat is more important than being able to lead harder moves.

    Line dancing is great at making you stay on beat and move.
  9. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    Just keep doing it over and over, you'll stop counting soon enough, 2-Step is really just walking to a beat.
    Line dancing is indeed the one type of dance class with a (BIG) surplus of women.
    It does, however, appear to be an 'either-or' proposition, at least in my area. Seems like you're either a line dancer OR a partner dancer.
  10. skunker

    skunker New Member

    Hey guys thanks for the feedback! Another question:

    Does everyone on the dance floor need to be on the same QQSSs or can some dancing couples be on the Slow while others on the Quicks?
  11. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    When you eventually take your newly acquired Cowboy skills to the bar, you will discover thast some of them are 2-Stepping, some of them are Swinging, some of them may even be WCSwinging, somemof them are doing the Clueless Penguin Shuffle, som e of them are doing the Sex-with-your-clothes-on Hip-Hop Grind, all to the same tune.
    Even Waltz.
    And line-of-dance is optional to unknown/ignored.
    You'll be plenty busy just trying to avoid collisions to worry about what the other dancers are doing.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Short answer is "no."
    A longer answer is "heck, no."
    If you are actually on A beat, and staying in time with the music, you're probably doing better than most!
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Sounds as if not counting is the point but hearing. Skunker, most couples adjust their dancing to beat n° one of the first bar of a new verse!

  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Since there is no hard and fast rule about which step is the "first step" of the two step....

    Meanwhile, hope you'll look at this next post in another thread!
  15. plugger

    plugger Member

    Hi, Skunker! I don't know if this is part of the problem, but I've heard beginner two-steppers count the basic as quick-quick, slow, slooooow (1/2, 1/2, 1, 2) -- giving two beats to the second slow. This probably happens because it makes the four steps in the basic SSQQ add up nicely to four beats of music, which may feel more natural than
    having four steps add up to the actual three beats of music.

    QQSS isn't the easiest timing to dance to, especially if you're starting out, because after you walk the first QQSS, the next QQ comes on beat four of the same measure and may feel like it's arriving too soon. Two-step is one of several dances that have basic patterns three beats long even though the musical measure is four beats. The basic pattern and the measure end/begin together every 12 beats but the rest of the time they're sort of independent of each other. I've been told that this gives the dance a flowing look because the movements and the music work together without being in lockstep.
    OTOH, that may have nothing to do with the problem. Just a thought.

    As for turns, most of the lady's spins are prepped on the second S and executed on QQ, but when I first learned a simple right turn we leaders began on the second S, placing our right foot between her feet and pivoting us 180 degrees. Several years later I was taught not to step between her feet but move her slightly to my right on the second S and walk around her starting on QQ. (I still do it the old way.)

    You're going to find two-step loads of fun, not as hard as some of the flashy patterns look, and full of likable people very willing to dance with beginners.
  16. chuck4788

    chuck4788 Member

    No but they need to be on the same even or odd beats. The quicks are one beat of music, and the slows are a weight transfer one beat and hold for one beat. So the two step foot work is on beats 1,2,3,5 for the QQSS. e.g. the first quick is started on the 1 beat and thereafter will always be on an odd beat. This may seem strange since most 2 Step music is in 4/4 time and most 2 step dance foot work is in 6 counts, but it works.
  17. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Many (top) instructors teach the movement over the 1-2-3-4-5-6
    beats as L-R-L-<-R-> for leader or R-L-R-<L-> for follower,
    so what's considered the first S is done as a Q and the second S is
    extended. This counting method makes a lot of maneuvers
    much more "natural" as the "pause" happens only on one foot/
    leg. Since preps happen mostly on the second S (now extended),
    there is now less confusion since there is only one long "pause"
    per 6-beat grouping. The "earlier" arrival/weighting onto the
    third step/foot/leg also allows more time on the fourth step
    to set up for the next figure (and to complete the current figure
    more cleanly).

    Being able to consciously count the beats in any type of dancing
    is a an exceedingly useful, and often necessary, skill. As one
    becomes more advanced, the counting will become more
    subconscious and ingrained, but there will always be times
    when conscious counting will be needed, for instance when
    the music is hard to hear or interpret.
  18. chuck4788

    chuck4788 Member

    Yes Yes Yes! Verbally counting is the most effective way to learn counting, it doesn't need to be loud but the act of speaking reinforces the mental counting. While I usually don't verbally or consciously count I often encounter songs that require it at least for the first part of the dance, partners understand. And I always count out load when practicing.
  19. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I started dancing in 2000, though in intermediate-level salsa (an entirely different story). I have always counted. Though after one class in Balboa (a Lindy-hop swing variant), I learned to keep my counting to myself (my partner in one class asked me to count out loud a bit louder so she could follow it).

    There are two different ways to count country two-step: QQSS and 1-2-3-5. Most of us resort to QQSS, but what the other counting does for us is to emphasize the preparation for the turn. You see, there were two things I was taught very early on:
    1. Turn her on the quick-quick.
    2. If she does something different than what you were trying to lead, then claim that what she ended up doing was what you were trying to lead -- this was a female teacher who taught us this, BTW.

    The thing is that when you want her to turn, you need to prepare her to turn. Is she going to turn to her left? Well then, you need to prepare (AKA "prep) her to the right. Since you are to turn her on the quick-quick, when do you prep her? On the second slow, AKA "the 5". Another way to think about it is the "Kodak Moment". The "5" is the moment when you pose her, prepping her to turn in the opposite direction. I have one teacher (female) who prefers the 1-2-3-5 method of counting because of the emphasis of that "5" as the "Kodak moment" preparing her for the turn coming up on the "quick quick".
  20. skunker

    skunker New Member

    I had to end up taking private lessons because I wanted to be sure I got on a solid foundation. It's sort of like weight lifting--I wasted so many years doing things on my own when I should have just asked a personal trainer what the correct form is on certain exercise. If I had done that, I would have saved myself a lot of time and made better progress. So, I'm taking private lessons and working on some basic patterns. So far this has worked immensely (especially since I have a lot of time these days). Once I feel more confident in my dance skills, I'll head back out to the local honky tonk bar and dance the night away. Originally, my dance instructor (she's only 22) invited me with her and some friends to dance and I've gone twice, but I still just can't seem to get the confidence to lead. I know it's a matter of practice, but it's a bit hard for me to learn on the dance floor and worrying about bumping into people, etc.

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