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FIRST STEPS

 
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If you can count to four, you can learn to dance! For dancing purposes, we’re going to assume that all types of music are built in multiples of two beats except for the Waltz which is built in multiples of three.

Essentially, all dances revolve around two rhythms. Once you learn these, and can put them in combination, you can perform just about any dance there is. The two rhythms are slows and quicks.

 

Slow

The first rhythm is known as a slow. A slow is equivalent to two beats. A slow is danced by stepping on the first beat and killing time for the second beat. When you are dancing, count it as "slow, slow", or "one-two, one-two".

Let’s practice a slow. Stand with your feet together. First, we’re going to step side to side. Starting to your left, it’s "side - touch" "side - touch". On the "touch," you merely bring your free leg alongside of your supporting leg. A touch is done without transferring weight. You should be able to fluidly go from left to right like this: "left - touch - right - touch - left - touch - right - touch."

 

Quick

The second rhythm is called a quick. A quick is equivalent to one beat. A quick is danced as one step for each beat. When you are dancing, count it as “quick, quick, quick, quick,” or “walk, two, three, four.” Quicks are generally done in sets of two.

Let’s practice quicks. Beginning with a simple march in place, it’s “march, 2, march, 2” or “quick, quick, quick, quick.” That’s not too hard, is it? Do you notice a relationship between slows and quicks? There are two quicks for every slow.

 

Combine slows and quicks


The four basic elements

Once you can master the slow and quick rhythms, you now only need to learn to put these in combination. To help learn these, we learn four basic elements.

1. the triple step

The triple step is a three step sequence taken on two beats of music. If the first step of the triple step is taken on count 1, the second step is taken on the half beat between counts 1&2, and the third step is taken on count 2. The step timing is often called out as 1&2. Usually the triple step is two quick steps and one slow, called out as "quick-quick-slow", or, using numbers, as "one-and-two.”

2. the rock step

The rock step is simply two weight changes with the feet apart, taken in any direction.

3. the four count box step

Click HERE for details of the 4/4 box.

4. the three count box step

Click HERE for details of the 3/4 box.


How To Prevent Getting Stepped On

Now let's look at the feet. Never dance toe-to-toe or you'll end up stepping on each others' feet. This very important principle is called Aim. Aiming can be achieved by positioning your body so that it is offset by 1/2 body distance to your own left, with your right foot pointed in between your partner's feet. By doing this, you will prevent any unnecessary injuries on the dance floor.

 

| Developed 2006 | Peter Hastie |