Slow Two Step
© by Susie & Gert-Jan
The rhythm Slow Two Step has nothing to do with the Two Step, as
we know it from our phase I, II, or III classes. One of the main
characteristics of the Slow Two Step, in which it is similar to the
Bolero, is that a number of the basic steps will start with a
sidewards movement. The timing, versus that of the familiar Two Step,
is "slow, quick, quick". It is a slower, more romantic
dance. It also has some similar characteristics to the West Coast
Swing in that it is basically a "slot-type" dance, where
the man moves out of the way of the lady, as she moves up and down
the line of dance of progression. It is a dance where you don't have
to be so exact in your footwork, and you have a chance to use more
body expression if you would like. Below we have listed some of the
basic figures as described by ROUNDALAB.
The differences in the rhythms of Slow Two Step and Bolero
Slow Two Step, there is more accent on the second step (third beat in
4/4 time), which gives your body the "up" feeling. But like
Two Step, Slow Two Step is basically a flat dance; there is no foot
rise, while there is some body rise.
Like Rumba, Bolero has a
more Latin flavor than Slow Two Step. The first step
is slow (so the second beat of music has no accent). The first quick
has the extra accent, but this does come a little late, giving you
time to rise and draw out the slow. Since the quicks are quicker you
don't come up any further than you do at the end of the first slow.
PHASE III figures - the "basics"
NOTE: The timing of all figures will be "S,Q,Q,"
and will start with the lead foot, unless otherwise stated, and
therefore we will not write in "L-,R,L," etc.
The basic figure in
the STS (slow two step) begins with a side step, then cross behind,
recover. This is done in both directions for a full basic. The basic
action for most figures is to start low on the side step, then like
on a waltz balance (without the foot rise), continue with a cross
behind (this is more of a step back like in the rumba than a real
cross behind like a waltz balance), so that the action is more or
less between that of a waltz balance and a back rumba basic; the
third step is a recover. The action is not made with a really
soft-knee, as in bolero, nor with a completely locked knee, as in
rumba, but somewhere in between. On the side step you will really
reach, as in a side step in the waltz. Both partners cross in
In the STS, if you do a half basic, starting with the
lead foot it is called a SIDE BASIC; if you do a half basic
starting with the trail foot, it is called a BASIC ENDING.
To compare this
to what we know from a two-step figure, it would be a little like a
"breakaway". To compare it to rumba, you could consider it
a little like a hand to hand. Your first step is side to a
left-half-open position or to a half-open position (with the trail
foot), "catching" your partner with your arm, cross
behind, and recover to face. If this is danced "both ways"
or twice, it needs to be cued so. A complete open basic is only in
one direction. To captivate the "romantic setting" of this
rhythm, while you are in the half-open position you may look
romantically at your partner.
This figure is usually
danced in butterfly position. You will step side with a slight
lunging action, recover then both cross in front. The
handhold is maintained during the complete figure. Like the open
basic, while it can be danced in both directions, a complete lunge
basic is only danced in one direction, so to be danced twice it
would have to be cued twice. It can best be compared to a fence line
UNDERARM TURN / REVERSE UNDERARM TURN
this figure, the man will dance a side basic, but as he steps side
he will raise his lead hand, placing it palm-to-palm with the lady
to lead her to turn right-face under those hands. The lady will step
side right, turning right-face, step through with left as she
continues to turn right-face, then recover left to face her partner.
It can best be compared to an underarm turn in rumba. For the
REVERSE UNDERARM TURN, the man will cross in front on his
second step. This can best be compared to a reverse underarm turn in
This figure is
done with a double handhold, and also from a pickup position.
Therefore the figure before would probably be cued "to a
pickup," or "to traveling cross chasses." It is a
two-measure figure, though it is often cued as "2 traveling
chasses" for two measures.
If you are traveling line of
dance, the man will step forward, turning slightly left to diagonal
line and center bringing both hands down to hip level and having a
right shoulder lead, his next step will be side and forward diagonal
line and wall, and then he will make a closing step. For the second
half of the figure, the man will step forward to line and center,
then with a left shoulder lead, side diagonal line and center, and
then make a closing step.
The lady will travel backwards down
line of progression. She will step back diagonal line and center,
then with a left shoulder lead bringing both hands low, side
diagonal line an wall, and she will also close on the third step. On
the second half of the figure she will step back, with a right
shoulder lead step back towards diagonal line and center, and again
on the third step of this half she will close.
PHASE IV figures
LEFT TURN - INSIDE ROLL
turn includes an inside roll for the lady which is a left-face
underarm turn done by the lady. To comfortably be able to execute
this figure you need to be in closed position, facing line of
progression. Therefore, the preceding figure will often be cued "to
a pickup". It is also a one-measure figure.
The man will
step forward, then starting a left-face turn he will step side, then
cross in front. If started from facing line of dance, at the end of
this figure, the man will be facing partner and center of hall.
lady will take a step backwards (It is very important that the lady
remembers to step straight back first, and then to start her turn.
If she steps side & back she will end up too far away from her
partner.) then starting a left-face turn under joined lead hands,
she will step side, then step side again, completing the turn to end
facing her partner.
RIGHT TURN - OUTSIDE ROLL
right turn includes an outside roll for the lady, which is a
right-face underarm turn done by the lady. To comfortably be able to
execute this figure, you need to be in closed position, facing
reverse line of progression. Therefore, the preceding figure will
often be cued "to a maneuver."
The man will step
back, then starting a right-face turn step side and back almost
crossing in back, then cross in front. If started from facing
reverse line of dance, at the end of this figure the man will be
facing partner and center of hall.
T he lady will step
forward, then starting a right-face turn under joined hands she will
step side, then step side again completing the turn to face her
partner. If the figure is started in closed position, reverse line
of dance, the lady will end facing the wall.
is shown in the ROUNDALAB manual as a two measure figure, though it
is often cued as "2 switches" for a two-measure figure.
The figure starts in half open, so the preceding figure will often
be cued,"basic (or whatever) to 2 switches" in order to
get the dancer in the right position. This is also necessary, as on
the first step one partner will across in front of the other.
the full two measures, the man will cross in front of the lady (to a
left half open pos.), forward, forward. Next he will make 3 forward
The lady will first make 3 forward steps, then cross
in front of the man (to a half open pos.), forward, forward.
figure you could best compare this to would be a "man across,
lady across" in waltz. Again, you can easily bring some
"romance" into the dance here, if you like. Since the
definition ends with forward steps, if you want the dancers to face,
you should cue "to face".
This figure is
done in wrapped position, both using the same footwork. You both
make 3 forward steps.
TRAVELING CROSS CHASSES
figure is done with a double handhold and also from a pickup
position. Therefore, the figure before would probably be cued "to
a pickup," or "to traveling cross chasses." It is a
two-measure figure, though it is often cued as "2 traveling
cross chasses" for two measures. It is important to remember
that you both cross in front on the third step of each chasse
If you are traveling line of dance, the man will
step forward slightly across his body turning slightly left to
diagonal line and center bringing both hands down to hip level and
having a right shoulder lead, his next step will be side and forward
diagonal line and wall, and then he will make a step crossing in
front to diagonal line of dance and wall. For the second half of the
chasse, the man will step forward slightly across his body to line
and center, then with a left shoulder lead step side diagonal line
and center, and then step crossing again in front.
will travel backwards down line of progression. She will step
backwards backing diagonal line and center with a left shoulder lead
bringing both hands low, then side diagonal line an wall, and she
will also cross in front on the third step. On the second half of
the figure she will step back also slightly across her body with a
right shoulder lead towards diagonal line and center, she back and
side to diagonal center and line, and again on the third step of
this half she will cross in front.
PHASE V figure
traveler is a three-measure figure, and made up of three distinct
parts, which you have already learned in phase III or IV. Like a
left turn - inside roll, it
starts from pickup position, so the figure before needs to be cued
"to a pickup."
The first measure is like a
left turn - inside roll, except that you will end in left
open position facing direction of travel, with leads hands (inside
hands) joined and raised. Now the man will step forward R and spiral
left-face (under joined lead hands), step forward L, step forward R.
For the third measure the man needs to lead in bringing the joined
hands down and around so that the lady can do a right turn (the same
type of turn as she makes in a right
turn - outside roll), while the man goes forward, side, cross
in front to end facing partner. The figure following a triple
traveler is often a basic ending,
or an open basic.
the lady, the first measure is like a left
turn - inside roll, except that she will turn a little
further to end in left open position facing the direction of travel
with lead hands (inside hands) joined and held high. The second
measure for the women is three forward steps while the man spirals.
The important thing for the lady to remember to continue to hold her
hand up so that the man can spiral under these joined hands. Then
the hands are brought down. On the third measure, bringing the hands
down and then around, the lady will make a right-face outside turn,
as in right turn - outside roll.
2008 & reprinted in
the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, November 2011. For
a round world, Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid.