When starting C2S

suburbaknght

Well-Known Member
#1
... should one start on the runs or the walks?

I learned C2S from ballroom dancers and I was taught to start with the walks (I was told that one should always start with the slowest step of a dance, as long as it fits the music). This works great at ballroom events, but every time I begin a dance with a woman at a country dance event, or even a west coast or hustle event, I get pulled forward as they begin racing into the runs right away. This surprises me as I find country dancers to be be much better at following than ballroom dancers.

So: is it my steps or something else?
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
#2
I had always learned to start with the quicks, but then I've only done C2S in the country world. The only variation I've seen is to shift your weight on the last slow to free your left foot so that she will also become aware that something's about to happen.

I've danced the same dance in different worlds (eg, WCS or ECS in both the WCS and Lindy communities respectively as well as in the ballroom world, nightclub 2-step in both the social and country worlds, hustle in both the &123 and the 12&3 worlds). In general, I try to adjust to what the follow would expect. After all, once we get started, we can both maintain different counts in our heads and it won't matter as long as we're on the same step.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#3
once we get started, we can both maintain different counts in our heads and it won't matter as long as we're on the same step.
Bingo!

There's country western dancing in Philadelphia?
(Take that as a back handed request for you to elaborate on the scene! There's a CW place across the river fromt he Golden Triangle in Pittsburgh! Course, that's in Western Pennsylvania.)

"Two Step" is, shall we say, not standardized the way other ballroom dances are. So, you just might want to be flexible in what you expect depending on the venue.

And, just for laughs, try using the right hand over the woman's shoulder position some time. Woman from Chicago said to me, "Oh, redneck style, huh?" I should have answered, "Yes, Ma'am in my best SouthWestern Pennsyvlania accent.
 

kayak

Active Member
#4
Yea, I always start on with the QQ as well and I agree after the first four steps it really doesn't matter. A lot of guys I know actually take in place or even back steps as the couple is getting going. It kind of brings the couple in sync with each other before taking off down the floor.
 

suburbaknght

Well-Known Member
#5
Bingo!

There's country western dancing in Philadelphia?
(Take that as a back handed request for you to elaborate on the scene! There's a CW place across the river fromt he Golden Triangle in Pittsburgh! Course, that's in Western Pennsylvania.).
There's a bar called Montana West's that has country dancing up in Quakertown, plus a ballroom venue in Pottstown (Ballroom on High) that hosts a country night every other Sunday, but I haven't been to either of them. My girlfriend lives in DC and we've been to some country dances there, plus it's rather prevalent at west coast/hustle events, such as Mad Jam and Swing Fling.
 

kayak

Active Member
#6
... My girlfriend lives in DC and we've been to some country dances there, plus it's rather prevalent at west coast/hustle events, such as Mad Jam and Swing Fling.
I have been to a couple of those places in DC. The ladies seemed really comfortable following me starting with a QQ. The method of counting QQSS seems pretty dominant except for that studio in Ft. Worth Texas that is always pushing for a SSQQ count.

Dancing 2-step at the swing events seems to be almost always started with the QQ as well. That probably isn't hard to imagine since the governing bodies of swing and country western dance are kind of intermingled.
 
#7
Starting on the slows seems to be the technique taught to beginners by studios.
Starting on the quicks is general practice in Country nightclubs (provided they know what they're doing, that is....).
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#8
"Real" CW2 dancers will just never start on the 'slows'. They don't even count the dance w/ 2 slows, and will tell you emphatically that it is incorrect to do so. They; acknowledge that CW dances are based on what they call a shuffle step, and because of that (and the fact that CW2 is written this way), count 1,2,3, 5 (though they refuse to say it, this would be Q+Q S).
 

kayak

Active Member
#11
"Real" CW2 dancers will just never start on the 'slows'. They don't even count the dance w/ 2 slows, and will tell you emphatically that it is incorrect to do so. They; acknowledge that CW dances are based on what they call a shuffle step, and because of that (and the fact that CW2 is written this way), count 1,2,3, 5 (though they refuse to say it, this would be Q+Q S).
I wouldn't recommend the old fashioned shuffle version when going out CW dancing in DC. There might be a few old timers left, but the QQSS version is almost universal. The speed of the dance and the fact that the whole dance is on the balls of our feet change the way a Slow is taken. So coming from a Foxtrot background, it might work to think of the dance as QQ Q hold Q hold. The music makes us get on top of the beat vs lingering over it.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#12
And here we are (again) where I ask the question if people are dancing on the the balls of their feet are they doing "country western" two step or are they doing ballroom two step modeled on CW two step.
I think I took the 1939 "Cowboy Dances" back to the library, but the author described 3 or 4 different kinds on waltz that was done in the West, and each "style" had a name.
There is still a wide range (speed wise) of songs we do two step to, and I'd wager that in places like Stoney's in Vegas, and in Texas there are still people who may not be old timers, but dance "old timey" because they didn't learn in a studio or big city.
I hardly see anyone using the over the shoulder grip I learned with. Guess that makes me either an old timer or old timey or a red neck!
 

kayak

Active Member
#13
Sounds good, I would still recommending dancing with the norm of 2009 rather than that of 1939 if I was going out CW dancing with my GF near DC.

The whys of how shuffle steps got replaced are kind of fun. My understanding is that you are right. A bunch of ballroom instructors figured out it was fun and adapted to CW. They introduced the feet always passing concept and it opens up a lot more pattern possibilities. So anything beyond the late 80s and early 90s has been QQSS. After you finish your giant history study of West Coast Swing, I would love to see what you come up with on Two Step.

I don't think dances modernizing with the times is a bad thing. I am pretty sure the creation of Foxtrot back at the first part of the 20th century also had a big impact on Two Step. The most important part is those silly block heads of the 1800s had a really messed up European folk dance where the guys danced with the guys. Thank God, we modernized enough to figure out dancing with the girls is way more fun :cool:

I don't think anybody would care if a couple came out dancing with a different style of Two Step. It just isn't what I would recommend someone learns before heading out on a date.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#14
After you finish your giant history study of West Coast Swing, I would love to see what you come up with on Two Step.
That would be the Giant History of West Coast Swing!
(Well, more the the on the record but unofficial Early history, unless I can get one of the swing organizations to buy in/sponsor it, then it might no longer be unoffical!)
Most of what is referenced in the wikipedia article on Two Step is there because I put it there, so I've sort of covered that one.
I don't disagree with you that qqS S is the most widely accepted version now. Just hoping to make sure no one thinks it's "wrong" to start on the slows, or do a different version and call it Two Step.
Ever see the book "Country: The Twisted Roots of Rock n Roll" By Nick Tosches?
Very interesting read.

http://books.google.com/books?id=rt...esult&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Then there's that Two Step from the Ragtime Era.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#15
Sounds good, I would still recommending dancing with the norm of 2009 rather than that of 1939 if I was going out CW dancing with my GF near DC.

The whys of how shuffle steps got replaced are kind of fun. My understanding is that you are right. A bunch of ballroom instructors figured out it was fun and adapted to CW. They introduced the feet always passing concept and it opens up a lot more pattern possibilities. So anything beyond the late 80s and early 90s has been QQSS.
This is the perfect example of why I refuse to teach in anything in rhythms (Qs and Ss), b/c all of this doesn't negate the fact that 1- if one looks at the sheet music of fox vs c/w, it is not the same, rather exactly opposite. The fox can be said to be written SSQQ, yet the c/w is Q+QS, and 2- just a thought, if the dance were changed by BR dancers, then is the trend a new way to do a CW dance, or simply the BR style of it?
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Hee, Hee.
To me it's the ballroom version of Two Step.
To others it's an "evolution".

Country Western is the equivalent of "street swing" vs "ballroom swing", or "venacular", or "street" Latin vs "ballroom Latin". There are the people who dance in honky tonks, bars and dance halls, and there are the people who dance in "studios" and "ballrooms".

"There may be no one "correct" way to do a particular dance", wrote the author of "The Official Guide to Country Dance Steps" in 1980 during the height of the "Western" craze that followed "Urban Cowboy".

I think it's interesting, and worth noting that we find the following text in "Dances of Early California Days" by Lucile K. Czarnoski. 1950

"After 1848 many old ballroom variatns of schottische were danced in California. The old "Five-Stpe Schottishe" and a Highland Schottische with moidfications were included on lists of ballroom dances of the period. Four of the variants had quite striking similarities with the second half of each dance described as turning with two-step. This is similar to the old "Glide Polka" (step-close-step, with no hop) or the galop (glide,change,glide)."
Note the the "church" did not allow "couple dances" prior to 1848.

Now a days, with everyone being less geographically isolated, the scottische has become more standardized; just like Two Step.
Someone gave me a "book" written by one of our Portland area dance instructors, and the qq S S version was being taught here in the 80s, and being called Texas Two Step.
Then there's the whole deal about "how you step", posture, etc, that separates "ballroom" from "honky tonk".
 

kayak

Active Member
#17
This is the perfect example of why I refuse to teach in anything in rhythms (Qs and Ss), b/c all of this doesn't negate the fact that 1- if one looks at the sheet music of fox vs c/w, it is not the same, rather exactly opposite. The fox can be said to be written SSQQ, yet the c/w is Q+QS, and
I am not following you. If you don't teach with quicks and slows, how does a student know when to take a step? Still, we could talk about the dance as walk walk walk hold walk hold vs triple step walk and our discussion is the same right? We could also talk about four steps with all feet passing vs skip and step as well. The same reason for modernizing shows up.

The main reason I can see for the change is the triple walk, triple walk is unbalanced. So hip angles are all one sided and that limits the cool stuff dancers can do. I guess we could argue that old time cowboys weren't sharp enough to lead the cool stuff anyway, but all the turns sure are a lot more fun.

If I was dancing to a rhythm that felt like a triple step, I would choose polka, triple-triple (flat polka) or triple 2-step. If the music has even beats, I can dance 2-step to it and you could do Foxtrot and both be happy. We just look different on the floor. If I felt like a Q+QS step fit better, I think the triple step dances also fit better.

2- just a thought, if the dance were changed by BR dancers, then is the trend a new way to do a CW dance, or simply the BR style of it?
I would say it is a new way to do the dance. Of course, people have been doing the "new" way since I was in school. So that is quite a while ago :) I have even danced in Steve's middle of nowhere Texas truck stop example and QQSS is the norm. The one place I have watched the skip step skip step version being danced is during breaks at some square dance groups.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#18
"There may be no one "correct" way to do a particular dance", wrote the author of "The Official Guide to Country Dance Steps" ....
This is something that I have been trying to preach for decades about ALL dancing, and, as far as I am concerned, the end to this subject.

I am not following you. If you don't teach with quicks and slows, how does a student know when to take a step?
Qs and Ss have nothing to do with teaching or knowing when to step. These are rhythms; rhythms are aribitrary... we change them as we go along. Example: some steps in Fox are said to be SSQQ, and others are said to be SQQSQQ. Everyone would agree that both are correct, thus making them arbitrary and irrelevant to the music or dance. One chooses, and does what one wants. They are both technicaly incorrect, anyway. Perhaps, Though it has been posted before [TC!?? :) ], this deserves a thread of its own.
 

kayak

Active Member
#19
This is something that I have been trying to preach for decades about ALL dancing, and, as far as I am concerned, the end to this subject.
Sounds fine to me. I see a number of styles and footwork variations. They just aren't what I would personally recommend for a date near DC.

Qs and Ss have nothing to do with teaching or knowing when to step. These are rhythms; rhythms are aribitrary... we change them as we go along.
I will be excited to see this thread. I enjoy being able to string any combination of Qs and Ss together. Conceptually, I can understand that rhythms match beats and Qs get one beat while Ss get two beats. I think it will be interesting to see how you expand my understanding? While, I can appreciate that there are different ways of doing Qs and Ss in different dances, I am fascinated by you describing Qs and Ss as technically incorrect?
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#20
I guess we could argue that old time cowboys weren't sharp enough to lead the cool stuff anyway
No argument here! Who would want to let go of a woman when you had her in your arms anyway?
I've got one partner whom I showed the "grab the man's belt loop and don't let go embrace". I think she did it to calm me down. I don't think she knew that I've done milonga in "close embrace" and had lots of varitions to throw at her even without letting go of her.
 

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