A few weeks ago we posted two different country videos and polled our followers on their preference. I was shocked by the results. The public and I clearly do not see the same things. As a dancer, I watch the “Texas Two Step Swing” video and I cringe. When I watch the “D’amico Dance Country Two Step at Wild West Houston” video, I am in love! Dance is an art. People all have their own favorite styles and looks, however there are some key principles that cannot be abandoned for the sake of “fun” dancing. I have laid out the pros and cons for each video
Video Number 1:
The first video, “Texas Two Step Swing” mixes two dance styles, Two Step and Country Swing. Aside from the two dances having different beats, executing lifts while others progressively dance around the floor can be very dangerous. I am honestly surprised nobody is kicked during the video! This brings me to my next point, the leaders are constantly moving backwards. This isn’t a hard and fast no-no; you just don’t want to stay in that position the entire time. Dancing backward means you have taken your eyes off the road; it only takes a moment to crash.
None of this is enough to make me cringe more than seeing how badly the girls’ arms are being yanked. Dancing can be physical, yes, but nobody wants to end the night in a cast (or a trip to social services)! The two main reasons why this is happening are: 1) the leaders are over leading and 2) the followers don’t know their own steps. Taking a few lessons together can really help this poor situation! A quality instructor can guide a leader to be more efficient and a follower to turn on a dime with the softest lead. But if you find yourself on a social dance floor without a teacher and need to protect your body, the easiest fix is to never fully extend your arms. This ensures that each dancer controls their own weight and neither are throwing themselves nor their partner. Remember to stay safe out there!
Follow this link to watch a video of what this style of dancing should look like when danced with a little bit more awareness for the partner:
Video Number 2:
On to the second video, “D’amico Dance Country Two Step at Wild West Houston”! The dancing in this video is calm and well executed. No one is being yanked and it makes these dancers look confident. The leader’s body is always turned toward his partner and the follower stays controlled the whole dance. Think of Two Step as a diamond, clean and clear. The biggest issue others have taken with this dancing is that it lacks a country style, probably because it is so smooth and the leader isn’t throwing the follower into flips. But don’t get me wrong, I can understand that! To me, this video closer resembles West Coast Swing rather than a Country Two Step.
So I’ve found for your viewing pleasure a video that shows clean movements and clear lead with more of a country twang:
I always get beginner students who expect to learn only the social “Texas Two Step” style. At the start of my October Two Step class, I asked my students why they preferred this way over a more structured and smooth version. They responded, “This way is more fun” “This way we can actually dance it out at the bar”. I believe those statements to be true, however I wanted my students to see what they were asking for, so when I started teaching this class I taught both styles. Interestingly enough, when they started dancing the social style, they found it much harder than dancing the “competitive style”. After learning more turns and moves, the difference between the two styles has become even more clear. My class has since agreed and found themselves wanting to know more about the competitive smoother style! While we know most beginners do not necessarily want to compete, don’t you think those who dance at such a high level would know what works best? We do too!
With country dances, I believe beginners have to learn the structured way, then they can form it to how they would like. In the end, my best piece of advice is to start with the basics and learn the timing, as well as the leads or follows. Then make your way to up to tricks and fast turns. If you do this you will feel and dance it so much better plus you will be able to avoid trips to the ER for dancing mishaps!