Who hijacked the Two Step?

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#81
It sort of drove me crazy to read and hear all of the conflicting stuff about "Two Step", so I looked at a bunch of books, etc, and this is what I found - in part.

As with other country/western dances, there are different versions of two step. Even the same dance may go by different names depending on the area of the U.S., and even in the particular dance hall. There may be no one "correct" way to do a particular dance.[1]
The Two Step can be danced over a fairly wide range of tempos, such as 130 bpm to over 200 bpm. Accomplished dancers can dance to tempos above 185 bpm.[2]
The United Country Western Dance Counsel (UCWDC) rules list the Two-step at 182-198 BPM for competition music, while the Country Western Dance International (CWDI) rules lists the Two-step at 160-192 BPM for competition music.[3]
The Texas Two Step includes three steps: a quick step, a quick step, and then a slow step.[4] The lead steps forward on his left foot, lifting his right heel for the first step, which is the first quick step. It can be danced to music with either a 2/4 or 4/4 time signature. The best effect is created when dancers achieve a smooth gliding motion in time to the music.[5] Although three steps are taken the dancer only progresses two steps.[6]
Many sites, however, define the dance as having four steps, quick quick slow, slow.[3] And the pattern of the steps are often referred to as "Step-together, walk, walk."
Another "two step" done almost exclusively in Arizona is also known as Rhythm Two-step, and is almost stationary. The rhythm is Step forward, Touch, Step backward, Touch, Walk Walk. Its music is in tempo between Triple Two-step and Texas Two-step.[4]

Double two-step is also referred to as "shuffle". Fort Worth shuffle has the same pattern as double two-step, except that the first triple-step begins with the right foot.[5]

A form of Two Step unrelated to the current Two Step created a radical change in dance style at the end of the nineteenth century. It was often performed to the American music of John Philip Sousa's "The Washington Post" march.[11] [12


(If you know where this came from, take a look at the history page.)
 

kayak

Active Member
#82
Hi JingleBoots,

Glad you can join us. I am not in the California area, but always have fun dancing. I guess my view from traveling around is the technique is pretty standardized right now. Just like with other dances, times change and 2-step has changed as well. So I can kind of pick out the time frame dancers first learned by their basic technique.
 
#83
Kayak put me onto this old thread, and it is an interesting read as we are currently taking two step lessons. I suspect the OP is right and the two step has been hijacked some where along the way. Our instructor claims to teach the "new way", but he also claims to have been teaching it for 30 years. So when the hijack occurred is debatable.

His new way is a Q, Q, S, S, with all passing steps. More accurately in music beats a 1, 2, 3, 5 count. His reasoning is that the two quicks are better suited to the first two beats in a bar. But obviously you need 6 beats to complete the basic, and you are starting the second basic in the middle of the next bar, so... I challenged him on it, and he says it works out when you consider a complete verse of music. I guess he is correct if verses work out to have total beats divisible by both 4 and 6. 24, 36, 48 total beats would work. I don't know enough about country music to say that is the case. On passing the feet, he recommends 12" steps on the quicks and 24" on the slows.

On the passing steps, he says a two step should have smooth steps with no bouncing or dipping, and using closing steps makes the dance jerky. He teaches a standard ballroom hold rather than an over the shoulder hold, saying it gives the leader more control.

In short he calls the old way the Uncle Jed style (Jed Clampett??). I suspect the Jed style is still being taught in some areas. I did find one video on You Tube that showed a Slow, Slow, Quick, Close basic step, but he was using the ballroom hold, so not a pure Uncle Jed. Google the following if you want to see it.

You Tube Country/Western 2-Step Dance Lesson Mans Basic Steps

In a related video with the same instructor there is a video on dance position showing the ballroom hold. He also advocates the slightly offset position rather than toe to toe. Again offset is considered "Uncle Jed" by our instructor, and he calls it a doggy walk. On this one I have to agree with Uncle Jed. Offset lets you dance closer together, which makes the turns easier, and also the leader can see over the shoulder and avoid collisions. While I end up in the penalty box if I offset during lessons, I think I will switch to it after the lessons are over. It makes more sense to me.

In total I make that about 3 marks for the new way to 1 for Uncle Jed.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#84
If you are interested, start listening to the percussion in CW songs.
Here's a brand new song that I think would be good to two step to.
http://www.cmt.com/videos/justin-moore/700160/bait-a-hook.jhtml

Mostly the drummer is playing a simple 1 2, but I hear an emphasis on every other beat.
one TWO one TWO

It would be really easy to dance
quickquickSLOW quickquickSLOW.

Sure, you could do quickquick Slow Slow, but I think quickquick SLOW fits the music more closely.

You'll often hear a night club two step type rhythm in some songs.
Hey, everyone learns qq s s now a days. Why mess with it?

If some gal answered my "red neck hold" with her thumb through my belt loop, I'd think, Cool !
When you've been doing this as long as I have, and, and are a bit of a non conformist, you look for ways to entertain yourself, or you look for other things to do.

Yeah, 30 years would be early 80s, just about the time the people who learned after "Urban Cowboy" from teachers who just learned "country western" began to outnumber the kickers out there.


PS I like the song and the video. Seems like lots of the newer country stuff has more of a hip hop attitude than a country attitude, unlike this one.
 

kayak

Active Member
#85
Most CW is 32 beat phrasing. I would just suggest that actually taking a 24 inch step is pretty big if you start thinking in about dancing to 160+ bpm music.

You might check with lrn2dnc and ican2step for questions about 2-step.
 
#86
Another "two step" done almost exclusively in Arizona is also known as Rhythm Two-step, and is almost stationary. The rhythm is Step forward, Touch, Step backward, Touch, Walk Walk. Its music is in tempo between Triple Two-step and Texas Two-step.[4]
This is not correct. In Arizona we do what we call "Arizona 2-step". It can be progressive or stationary. It's a six count dance. The footwork is Step Forward, Step Forward click the feet, Step Backward, click the feet. By making the backward step smaller than the two steps forward the dance becomes progressive.

The step can also go sideways instead of forward.

A lot of the arm moves are borrowed from Texas 2-step. In Arizona most people call T2S "Progressive 2-Step". I have yet to find a solid reason why it's called that but the most plausible reason is that Arizona dancers prefer to differentiate themselves from anything from Texas.

Go to this youtube for an excellent tutorial on the basic footwork for AZ 2-step.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T8YIqrmh_I
 
#87
Most CW is 32 beat phrasing. I would just suggest that actually taking a 24 inch step is pretty big if you start thinking in about dancing to 160+ bpm music.

You might check with lrn2dnc and ican2step for questions about 2-step.
At 32 beats to a phrase then only the odd numbered phrases would start with the quick quick. Seems to me that being in sync with the music is not a valid reason for starting with quicks or slows. It ends up being 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

I think our instructor is a bit distance challenged, but to be fair I think the distances were just to get us started at 130 beats or so. I think a common beginning mistake especially for the follower is to take steps that are too short. He does advocate taking shorter steps for the leader to give room for turns, and both for faster music.

Do you have links for lrn2dnc and ican2step? I didn't come up with much using Google.
 

kayak

Active Member
#88
Those two are Dance Forum members that are accomplished at 2-step.

I wouldn't stress over starting with slows or quicks. I would do as your instructor teaches or as your local community dances. As with many dances, the six count is just the basic. Before long you get to mix in 8, 10 or more count patterns.

The same goes with Steve's cowboy hold. He learned that style and it works for him. It might have been popular way back. However, you might as well learn how it is being danced now. We just watched "Pure Country" and a majority of the dance fillers in the movie are already using the ballroom hold with only a couple cowboy holds all the way back in 1992. Yea, everything will probably change again in years to come. Then, we get the choice of continuing with how we first learned or modernizing.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#89
Go to this youtube for an excellent tutorial on the basic footwork for AZ 2-step.
A Hungarian dancer would summarize the basic foot pattern as "one double csardas left, one single csardas right".

I wonder if there's any connection?



In Hungarian dance, the step is done two ways: with both partners moving the same direction (i.e., the woman starts with her right foot) or moving around a common center (i.e., the woman also starts with her left foot).
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#90
From a 2007 post

The fourth style is not progressive and is probably a 2-Step in name only, it is called Arizona 2-step. Its foot work is Q-Q-S-tap-S-tap, the result is you follow every beat of the music.

The video has 1 2 3 touch 5 touch.

rb sez
Step Forward, Step Forward click the feet, Step Backward, click the feet.
referenced material is
Step forward, Touch, Step backward, Touch, Walk Walk.
which equals
Walk Walk. Step forward, Touch, Step backward, Touch
which equals 1 2 3 touch, 5 touch

Looks to me like all of these are prety much the same.

Doing all steps and touchs as "quicks" or "slows" makes would take 6 "counts", usually 1/4 notes.
 
#91
Just 2 quick notes on what I have observed here in Texas.

1. The so called "cowboy" hold tends to be used by folks who seem to be self-taught. Also I see it more when the when the man is taller than the follower. I call a red-neck hold. Also probably 90 percent of the dancers you meet socially at a country club, will pick up starting on the quick quick, vs many of the girls are unprepared to start on a slow unless they have had some ballroom training.

2. Regarding the offset partner positioning vs, being directly in front of your partner, for me this comes down to practicality. The offset partner position makes more sense because you can actually see around your partner to where you are going. I am of average height or just below , and most girls are about my height or only slightly shorter, if they stand in front of me directly I cannot see down line of dance. Now if you your head taller then you follower this is probably not a problem for you, but that offset positioning also has other advantages.



Those two are Dance Forum members that are accomplished at 2-step.

I wouldn't stress over starting with slows or quicks. I would do as your instructor teaches or as your local community dances. As with many dances, the six count is just the basic. Before long you get to mix in 8, 10 or more count patterns.

The same goes with Steve's cowboy hold. He learned that style and it works for him. It might have been popular way back. However, you might as well learn how it is being danced now. We just watched "Pure Country" and a majority of the dance fillers in the movie are already using the ballroom hold with only a couple cowboy holds all the way back in 1992. Yea, everything will probably change again in years to come. Then, we get the choice of continuing with how we first learned or modernizing.
 
#92
In reading a lot of post on this forum I often think that we are describing the same thing in many different ways.

I'm relatively new to CW dancing having started in the mid nineties, about the time UCWDC began strongly influencing the dance. I learned QQSS (1-2-3-5 count), ballroom frame, passing feet, etc. Just recently UCWDC changed Triple 2S from shuffle triples to passing triples, all to smooth out the dance and I suspect to make it smoother like P2S.

I learned in the PNW but here in Phoenix AZ AZ 2S is alive and well, but so is P2S with many UCWDC World Champions providing instructions. Intermediate P2S also has various rythym patterns such as QQSQQS or QQQQQQ for multiple spins.

AZ 2S is nice on a small crowded dance floor to slow music but IMO it doesn't have the energy level of P2S at 160-200bpm.
 
#93
We also have the Halftime, a shortened footwork that is stationary. It uses all the same spins and cues as the A2S. but is used for the fast to extremely fast songs. There's a video on youtube demonstrating it, but they are a bit hokey. I can't post links yet, but the video is titled:
Country Western Half Time Dance Lesson - Leon Raper

ok, i just finished watching the whole video. thats not exactly what is done, but its close enough to get the gist of it.

lol, awesome!

*watches intently* so stealing a couple moves from that video
 

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