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How to learn Western dance

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If you want to learn how to Western dance, here is a great place to start!

Western dance is a form of social dance. Western dance goes by a few other names such as country-western dance, country and western dance, cowboy, or country. Texans call it ďkicker dancing.Ē 

Western dance is typically danced to country-western music, and it is stylistically associated with American country and/or western traditions. 

Western dance is all about keeping time with the music while being smooth. It is neither feminine nor masculine. The dancing is very informal, relaxed, and simple, yet not sloppy. 

Dancing in this style means a lot of scooting and gliding across the dance floor. There are no hip movements, bouncing, or jumping. 

Western dance includes various partner and group dances. The most popular partner dance is the country two-step, and the most common group dance is square dance.

The most popular partner dance, country two-step, goes by a few other names: country-western two-step, two-step, and Texas two-step. There are tons of variations of the dance, but Texas two-step is widely known as the most common. 

This coupled dance traditionally leads with a man and follows with a woman. Partners begin the two-step in a closed position. The leader stands with his feet together facing his partner. He puts his right hand on his partnerís waist. Then, he puts his left hand out by his side with his arm slightly bent, gently grasping his partnerís right hand. 

When the music starts, on the first beat, the leader steps forward quickly with his left foot. On the second beat, he quickly steps forward with his right foot, and on the third beat he steps his left foot forward slowly. He pauses on the fourth beat. 

During the fifth beat, he steps forward slowly with his right foot, and then he pauses on the sixth beat. Shortly after, he pulls his left foot even with his right foot. Repeat. 

The follower puts her left hand on her partnerís right shoulder. With her right elbow bent, she puts her right hand into her partnerís left hand. Then, she follows the directions of the leader in reverse; for example, she steps back with her left foot when he steps forward with his right foot. 
Now you know how this kind of dance gets its name; two-step is danced with two quick steps and two slow steps. 

Square dancing is the most well-known western group dance. Various square dance movements are based on traditional steps and figures from different folk dances from many countries. Square dancing is a cued sequence of steps by a caller to the beat of the music. The caller leads but typically does not participate in the dance. Square dancing begins in a square formation.

The square consists of four couples. One couple is stationed on each of the four sides of the square. Everyone faces the center of the square. Men typically stand to the left. Each member of a couple is the other memberís partner. 

The female on a manís left is his corner, and conversely, the man on the womanís right is her corner. As the dance progresses, new formations occur. Your partner is always the person standing alongside you. 

When couples enter the square, the women from couples who are standing directly across from each other, step forward. They link hands and circle around clockwise in the middle of the square. 
Men left standing without their partners go forward and take the hand of the woman who stood opposite him across the square. The women return to original spot and take the male from the couple opposite her. Everyone turns to face the center of the square. 

Repeat the steps, but starting with the man stepping forward and linking hands with the man who stood opposite him. The woman left without a partner steps forward and takes the hand of the man standing opposite her across the square. Follow the man as he returns to his side, and turn with him to face the original partner across the square. Advancing forward, meet the couple standing across from you. 

The men move to the right so that the woman from the opposite couple passes by his right. The women grasp the left hand of the women from the opposite couple. If youíre the man, take the right hands of your partners and stand facing the center of the circle.

Do not stand directly in front of your partner. Advance forward with your partner to meet the couple standing directly across from you. The men move to the right to allow the woman in the opposite couple to pass on the right. 

The opposite couple will do the exact same thing and will end up on the side from which you originally started. 

Now that youíve had a basic introduction to two-step and square-dancing, youíve already begun to learn how to western dance! 

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