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One Figure 

A Step is a movement of the foot from here to there. A Figure is a specific sequence of steps forming a set that is complete, is often standardized, and is widely accepted and used as one component of a dance routine.

Slow Two Step The Square 

This figure consists of four Switches that have been modified to move the couple counterclockwise to the four sides of an imaginary square. We might begin in half-open position facing line of dance. The man begins to turn in front of the woman, steps side L, and turns sharply right-face to left half open position facing center (W steps small fwd R and turns left-face), and then both step fwd, fwd toward center (sqq). Note that as a couple, we have turned 1/4 left-face. To accomplish this, the woman has turned 1/4 left-face (if we focus on the direction the feet are pointing), but  the man has turned 3/4 right-face. The modification referred to above lies in the amount of turn and in the ending facing direction. A standard Switch would involve a full turn for the man, no turn for the woman, and an ending position of left half open facing line of dance. 

The second measure of The Square is a mirror of the first. The woman begins to turn in front of the man, she steps side L, and she turns sharply to half open position facing reverse (M steps small fwd R and turns left-face), and then both step fwd, fwd toward reverse. The third measure is the same as the first and ends in left half-open facing wall. The fourth measure is the same as the second and ends facing line again, in the starting position. This figure has also been called a Switch Box. 

Just for fun, let's look at two more "Squares" that a friend recently told us about. A few years ago, Bob & Jackie Scott wrote a polka, Pas the Bananas, containing The Square. In half open position, we take four forward steps down line and turn sharply left to face center (woman turns right to face wall). In this back-to-back position, we walk four steps apart and turn again to face reverse. We walk four steps and turn to face partner, and we finish with four steps together to butterfly position wall. 

In Come On A My House, a cha by Lamberty and Halbert, we are in open position facing reverse, the man on the outside of the circle. We do a hitch 4 with arms (I won't try to describe these!); fwd/lk fwd twice; we turn to wall (woman center) and repeat;; turn to line and repeat;; We finish the sequence by turning to face partner. We jump together, close, and pose. Lamberty does not call this The Square, but we have heard it cued that way, and certainly the overall shape of the sequence (if not the steps) is the same as in Scott's polka version. 

The Square is in no way a standardized figure. At this point, about all we can say is that it is some combination of steps that turn us to the four sides of an imaginary square and bring us back where we started. 

More Slow Two Step figures here, or go to index.

this article was published in the
Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, May, 2010

If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.

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Past DRDC Educational Articles by
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Chris & Terri Cantrell, 2001-2005
Harold & Meredith Sears, 2005-present

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