What is the origin of Two Step?

#1
What is the origin of Two Step?

Where was Country Western Two Step started, when and by whom?
I heard recently it was invented for the Urban Cowboy movie and did not exist prior to that. I had never heard that before. Thanks
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#2
2 step

The first 2 step music was introduced in the 19th century. Not anything you would recognise today, but out of that, probably , came the one step and the Military 2 step , and with the advent of country music , as is evidenced by the current collection of dances, they make transitions to the country genre .Most of these pre date any movie versions . Origins, in some cases , are sometimes hard to establish due to the fact that many of the original " Designers " , have passed on . Also the term " country " is so generic and could apply to many sources . Good research problem if you are really interested .
 

Vince A

Active Member
#3
Hm-m-m-m-m, I heard it a little differently.

You see, once upon a time, down in Texas, cows were allowed to roam free. And when the cowboys came in to town, they hitched their horses and walked over to the dance hall/saloon.

Now we know, some people count the 2 Step as 1, 2, 3,- 5 (Q, Q, S, S) . . . right? Well, to avoid all the cowpies, that is how those cowboys walked. They would take two or three steps, pause and then step over the cowpies, then keep on walking.

This became such a habit in their walking, that it carried over to the dance hall. When they asked the girls to dance, their dancing mimicked their walking. Thus they danced . . . quick, quick, . . . "oops there is a cowpie" - slow down, "ok, I'm over it" slow, repeat.

Thus, the 2 Step was born.

OK Texans . . . you can jump all over me now!
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#4
origin

Cowboy story- so apochryphal- I was quoting from a very well known and world renknowned author on partner dance origins.I paraphrased and extrapolated his views and research , but based it upon the core content of his piece .That is not to say your quote does not have merit but would prefer and defer to an expert in the field .
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#5
Well, you see, it all started like this. First there was the One Step. This had the advantage of being pretty basic, but eventually dance instructors got tired of calling out "left.. left...left" all of the time, and eventually people started asking awkward questions about what they were supposed to do with their other leg. So some enterprising instructor decided to add a second step for the other leg, and Two Step was born.

Now, they have since tried inventing Three Step and Four Step, but these have not gained popularity. The reason is thought to be that the number of limbs required does not agree well with bipeds. Five Step is, of course, Right. Out.

:cool:
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
#7
Hm-m-m-m-m, I heard it a little differently.

You see, once upon a time, down in Texas, cows were allowed to roam free. And when the cowboys came in to town, they hitched their horses and walked over to the dance hall/saloon.

Now we know, some people count the 2 Step as 1, 2, 3,- 5 (Q, Q, S, S) . . . right? Well, to avoid all the cowpies, that is how those cowboys walked. They would take two or three steps, pause and then step over the cowpies, then keep on walking.

This became such a habit in their walking, that it carried over to the dance hall. When they asked the girls to dance, their dancing mimicked their walking. Thus they danced . . . quick, quick, . . . "oops there is a cowpie" - slow down, "ok, I'm over it" slow, repeat.

Thus, the 2 Step was born.

OK Texans . . . you can jump all over me now!
At a barn dance many years ago (like about 16 years, a full decade before I started learning to dance), they taught our group what I think was supposed to be "Cotton Eye Joe". According to my extremely faulty memory of that lesson, after a couple steps forward, there was something like a couple kicks back. The instructor told us, "You just stepped in a cowpie, so now shake it off your shoe."

I'm sure that instruction must be in the syllabus. Along with the note that it's a dance that's intended to be danced by drunken cowboys. Cheapskate cowboys, who use the trick of spinning the girls a lot in order to get them dizzy so it won't take as many beers to get them drunk.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
#8
Well, you see, it all started like this. First there was the One Step. This had the advantage of being pretty basic, but eventually dance instructors got tired of calling out "left.. left...left" all of the time, and eventually people started asking awkward questions about what they were supposed to do with their other leg. So some enterprising instructor decided to add a second step for the other leg, and Two Step was born.

Now, they have since tried inventing Three Step and Four Step, but these have not gained popularity. The reason is thought to be that the number of limbs required does not agree well with bipeds. Five Step is, of course, Right. Out.

:cool:
Speak for yourself. Some of us guys could handle the Three Step, though not without a certain degree of trepidation. Certainly the Four Step would be very awkward to try as a partner dance, though I think that one girl on "So You Think You Can Dance" did it briefly last night.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#9
It's amusing to peruse what was written, and that a lone individual . . . no name mentioned, tangotime . . . is quite staid about rejoining this issue . . . however, I consider my response to be extremely authentic, right on the point, and it definitely expanded the original thought to embrace the historical perspective of said issue!
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Progressive Two-Step - The Two-Step originated in the 1800's by people who arrived here from Europe. It was an offspring of the minuet and they danced it as QQSS. In the old Western days when women were not allowed to dance with men, men danced together and that is the reason for the hand on the shoulder holding a can of beer and the other hand to the side. The only women who eventually danced with these men were Indian Squaws and that is where all the turns came about, because Indian women loved to spin. Two-step is a Western dance whose popularity has spread all over the United States. http://www.arthurmurraylasvegas.com/dancesweteach.cfm#ProgressiveTwoStep
You mean, this isn't true?
 

VRRDA

New Member
#14
Gee, I thought it was because the One Step as described earlier, while easy to learn, became boring real quick. :)

Seriously though, I am sure I have seen Two Step type dances in the real old cowboy movies. I imagine it evolved from the rural Anglo-Celtic/Tex-Mex popular dances along with the music.
 

kayak

Active Member
#15
Interesting collection of ideas on the origin.

http://www.eijkhout.net/rad/dance_specific/twostep.html

I do find it interesting that depending upon where and when the leader learned, there are some definite differences. For instance, I learned the basic as QQSS where each foot passes. I see a number of dancers, usually a fair amount older than me, that have the QQ not pass but go to something like third position and they also seem to close the SS with feet parallel instead of passing the feet. Not a huge difference, but probably important from a historical perspective.
 

kayak

Active Member
#17
Beats me? The 2-step I know is fast up to 200 bpm, lots of turns and weave patterns and young ladies love it.

That said, the guy gets a wide opportunity to mix the Qs and Ss. So it would certainly be OK to switch from a 6 count QQSS to an 8 count that was QQSQQS. It just isn't the normal basic. There are a whole series of zippy In-Out turns that use QQSQQS.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#18
Beats me? The 2-step I know is fast up to 200 bpm . . .
Yeow . . . you like 'em fast. I have about 10 compilation CDs with most of the songs used in competitions, and the fastest one is 189 bpm, but 200? I'm sure they're out there . . . I'd hate to catch one that fast in a J&J!
 

kayak

Active Member
#19
The fast end of 2 -step looks a bit like your avatar :) Actually, some great cw dancers were talking about 208 as the limit of 2-step at dinner a while back. Personally, I keep putting my brain in for a processor upgrade. My slow processor only seems to be able to handle fun turns at modest paced music or just going straight and fast. I have to leave going fast and doing cool stuff for you zen masters.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#20
Since this thread from long ago veered into bpm territory...

It spite of all the young uns, and Christmas tree! (Bad Idea) crowding the CW place last night, our dj played this one. (Good one, Grant, in case you read this.)


Well, the dance floor was pretty empty, and my partner remarked that this one was pretty slow.
I enjoy these languid songs as an alternative to practically running around the floor.

What do you think? Too slow?
 

Dance Ads