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
Slow Two Step, Switches
by Harold & Meredith Sears
In half open position, facing line of
dance, the man begins to turn to the right and steps forward and side
left, crossing in front of the woman and moving to the outside of the
circle. He steps side and forward right, turning to left half open
position, and then forward left. The woman takes small steps: fwd R,
fwd L, fwd R (SQQ). In the second measure, the woman "switches"
across. She steps forward and side L, crossing in front of the man
and turning right-face, fwd and sd R turning to half open position
again, and finally fwd L (again SQQ).
For the one switching across, that
first step can be quite a sharp turn, taking you all the way from
half open position to left half open position (or visa versa). Well,
a "switch" should be a sharp turn. Think of the Switch
Cross or Switch Rock in rumba -- from an Aida position, we take that
first step and turn to face partner -- sharply. Similarly, in our
slow two step Switch, we take one step and turn almost all the way
around. So, the exciting part, the real "switch," is done
on the S; the QQ is a relatively quiet fwd fwd to finish the measure.
We may dance Switches in a more rounded
manner, using steps 1 & 2 to make the turn, rather than doing
most of it on step 1. You might still be facing your partner at the
end of step 1. Step 2 would then be side and back, rather than side
and forward. The figure becomes less like a Switch and more like an
Open In & Out Run (although with the outside feet rather than
However, do get to the outside of the
circle on the first step. You needn't complete all the turn on the
first step, but do get all the way across.
The Square is a newer
figure that consists of four Switches that have been modified to move
the couple counterclockwise to the four sides of an imaginary square.
We can begin in half-open position facing line of dance. The man
switches across but underturns to face center. The woman takes her
small steps and turns 1/4 left-face to end in left half-open position
facing center. The second measure is a mirror of the first. The woman
switches across the man but underturns it to end in half-open
position facing reverse. The third measure is the same as the first
and ends in left half-open position 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.
Published in Dixie Round Dance Association (DRDC) Newsletter, May 2013.