The country/western two-step, often called the "Texas
two-step" or simply the "two-step," is a country/western dance usually danced to
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
The two-step is a partner dance, consisting of a "leader" and a "follower". The leader determines the movements and patterns of the pair as they move around the dance floor. It is a progressive dance that proceeds counterclockwise around the floor.
The partners generally begin in closed position with the leader facing the line of dance. The follower stands facing the leader. In a traditional "frame" the leader places his right hand over his partner's left shoulder. In the more contemporary styling, closed position is formed by placing the right hand under the follower's left arm, and on her back. In either case the leader holds the follower's right hand in his left hand at about shoulder height.
Other dance positions include:
Sweetheart: side by side, the lead's right hand on the follower's right shoulder, and the left hands together near the left shoulder.
Shadow: side by side, the follower's right hand on the back of her right hip, Lead's right hand placed in hers, Lead's left hand at approximately hip level on his left side, she reaches her left hand across to place in his.
Wrap side by side, follow's left arm crossing her body and holding lead's right hand. Her right arm crosses over her left and he places his left in it.
Skater: side by side
Promenade: both facing line of dance
Reverse Promenade: both backing line of dance
Traditionally, Two-Step includes three steps: a quick step, a quick step, and then a slow step. In modern times, this is also known as Texas Polka. It can be danced to music with either a 2/4 or 4/4 time signature.
Older dance manuals specified the best effect is achieved when dancers have a smooth gliding motion in time to the music. For example, the 1939 book "Cowboy Dances" states that, "The real two-step should be smooth and beautiful to watch. But in a Western dance it is quite in kind to make it joyous and bouncy. Modern styles however continued with the smooth style and added a slight "lilt."
This same step pattern, step, close, step, with a timing of quick quick slow was given as the definition of Country-Western Two-Step in 1983.
This Two-Step is a dance with roots in European and Mexican dance history and appeared in Germany and Hungary in the 1800s. Similar steps danced at Mexican fandangos were also an influence.
Dance positions include: an open position with the lead's right hand on the follower's left shoulder, a closed position with no space between the partners, and a closed overhand position in which the lead wraps their left forearm over the follower's right forearm and clasps their hand with the palm against the back of the follower's hand. A "side by side", "shoulder hold", "cape"
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