How to Two Step
The two-step, also called the Texas two-step or the country two-step, is a fast traveling dance popular with dancers who enjoy country music. It's danced to music in 2/4 or 4/4 time with a tempo of about 170 beats per minute, and consists of steps that are not much different from an ordinary walking step. The two-step is derived from the foxtrot, and competitive dancers often borrow moves from the foxtrot to make their dances more elaborate.
Learn a bit about the two-step.Two-step is a common step in multiple types of dances. Some of these steps are highly similar, while in others they are completely different movements. You will have to determine which two-step is the right one for you. This article discusses the country two-step, often called Texas two-step.
- Developed from a hybrid of the Mexican dances and the traditional German dances brought to Texas in generations past, as well as heavy influence from the Foxtrot, the country two-step is a very basic dance frequently used in the bar and dance scene in the Southern US.
Understand the moves.Before you try the dance, it is a good idea to understand the moves themselves. Read or watch the steps involved until you are confident you know what moves to execute and when. This will help keep you from becoming confused when practicing.
- YouTube and other internet video sites are great places to look for instructional videos as well as variations and tips on the dances.
Practice.Before attempting the dance with a partner or in a more serious context, you will want to practice. There are a variety of options, should you want to practice on your own or with help.
- Practicing on your own can be a more comfortable method, if you are not confident or shy in front of others. It can also be a good way to learn at your own pace, in your own time.
- Practicing with others. You can also take a class or learn in the dance environment itself. There are many classes available, either through your local community center or through nearby dance-schools and clubs. It is also possible to learn from participating with others in dance halls and bars. Learning from others will give you a more authentic experience and will probably be much more fun than learning by yourself.
Creating Your Dance Frame
Set up your frame.The dance frame refers to the shape maintained by couples during the dance. The basic two-step in its most common position will have a traditional, closed frame. Framing is very important as it allows the lead to guide the follower by placing pressure at key points, reducing the likelihood of hurting your partner.
- The lead will place their right hand on the followers left shoulder blade. It should not be cupping the bottom of the shoulder blade but rather placed across the middle section of the shoulder blade. The lead’s left hand will hold the follower’s right out at their side. This should be loose and bent slightly.
- The follower will place their left hand at the top of the lead’s right arm. The follower’s fingertips should be roughly at the shoulder seam of the lead’s shirt. The follower will place their right hand in the lead’s left, again at their side and bent slightly.
Maintain the correct distance.The distance between the couples will depend on the dance position chosen but the most basic position should leave the couple with a few inches between them. It should be such that you can easily spin your partner and guide them without placing too much pressure.
Get into position.There are a number of different positions from which the two-step can be executed. Beginners may want to use the most basic position in order to learn the dance. Other positions can be chosen based on personal preference or based on the positions chosen by surrounding couples if dancing in a hall or bar. Here are three position variations to try:
- Standard position variation: One way to stay in the standard position but change it slightly is to stand closer together. It is possible to dance with chests touching but the feet will need to be moved. To dance in this position, place the feet so that they are more side-by-side, with the follower’s foot placed between the lead’s.
- Cuddle position: In this position the dancers will be side-by-side. The follower’s left arm will cross their body to hold the lead’s right hand. The follower’s right arm will cross their left and holds the lead’s left hand near the follower’s left elbow.
- Shadow: In this position the follower stands in front of the lead. The lead places their right hand over the follower’s stomach with the follower’s right hand placed over the lead’s. The lead and follower will hold their left hands together, out at the side and bent slightly as in the standard position.
Dancing the Dance
Have the lead step forward with their left while the follower steps backwards with their right.This is the first step and should be danced quickly on the first beat. The basic dance is composed of four steps, two quick and then two slow. The slow steps will be held twice as long as the quick ones. These are counted in beats, similar to other dances and music.
Next, have the lead step forward with their right as the follower steps backwards with their left.This step should be danced quickly on the second beat.
On the third and fourth beat, have the lead step forward again with their left while the follower steps backwards with their right.This step, however, should be a slow step instead of the quick step done in Step 1.
On the fifth and sixth beat, have the lead step forward again with their right while the follower steps backwards with their left.Again, this step should be slow instead of quick.
Follow the line of dance.The steps above will follow what is called the line of dance. This is an imaginary line around the outside of a dance floor. The faster you intend to dance, the further towards the outside you should be. Line of dance moves counterclockwise.
- It is important, when dancing with other couples, to maintain the line of dance. This keeps you from bumping into others and hurting yourself or them.
Adding Variations and Flourishes
Learn some variations.The steps of the dance can be as varied as the positions. This can be achieved by changing the order of the steps or by changing the direction of movement. You will have to decide what is best, based on your skill level and the movements of the other dancers.
- For example, it is possible to take only one slow step, instead of two.
Add flourishes.Make your dance more complex, beautiful, and fun by adding flourishes such as turns. You can also use these moves to switch into different two-step positions.
- You can do a basic turn very easily. After completing the first set of steps (quick, quick, slow, slow), the lead will release the follower. Keeping left hands joined, the follower will spin and then settle back into the starting position. The turn should take another set of four steps to execute, so that when the follower settles it is time to start the next set of four steps.
- If you want something more complex, you can switch into a side-by-side position from the standard position. This begins after the first slow step, as the follower moves their right arm down to their lower back. The lead moves their right hand down to take the follower’s, opening the position and allowing the follower to spin. The follower will then settle so that the lead and follower have right hands joined at the followers right shoulder and left hands joined out at the side and bent slightly.
QuestionHow do I do the line by myself?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust pretend that some people are with you and do the line like you would with them.Thanks!
- Avoid the common mistakes made by beginners: not stepping confidently. Move with confidence and purpose so you look amazing!
Sources and Citations
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Video: Beginner Two Step / Basic Country 2-Step
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