Many different dances are done to country-western music. The Two Step and various Western promenade or pattern couples dances are unique to country western dancing. Country dancing is informal.
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Because of cowboy boots, country western dance is more likely to feature a flat-footed glide with some heel and toe touches rather than a lot of "toe type" dancing. Pumping of the hands, bouncing, and waddling are not encouraged. Cowboy, or "country" waltz consists of gliding steps that are consistent with wearing cowboy boots, rather than "on the balls of the feet" quick steps of the classic version.
Neither foot is lifted completely from the ground. Steps should be a light footed glide rather than a flat footed shuffle. There are many versions of each dance. They may go by different names depending on the area of the U. There may be no one "correct" way to a particular dance. Several types of dancing may take place simultaneously at country western dances. Progressive dancers use the outside of the floor.
Swing and other non progressive dancers are found either in the outside corners, or in the center of the floor, along with line dancers. Traditionally the man set the pace, established the length of stride, and decided when to change step, and the woman followed. A woman having more dance skills sometimes provided a tactful guiding push or pull, as long as it wasn't obvious.
As soon as the man learns the routine, he takes the lead by combining firm, but gentle never obvious pushes and pulls. The leader should move assertively, and the follower should duplicate the countermovements, or perform her part of the dance. In frontier days men danced with each other when women were not available.
According to an early settler in Texas, "The gentle sex were few in number at the dance Two men had to dance together to make a set. From the earliest days, the dances and the music that accompanied them were brought to The United States by the people of the British Isles, continental Europe, and Africa. Quadrilles , too, including the cotillon, anglicized as cotillion, were brought to America by French dancing masters.
Their influence survives in terms used in square dancing. A couple gets up and begins to cut a jig to some Negro tune.
Others come and cut them out, and these dances always last as long as the fidler can play. In the early 19th century larger farm houses had dance rooms built in along the back of the second story. In smaller houses the kitchen was used for dancing. Town halls were also used for gatherings.
These dances would last from mid-afternoon through the next morning. Early solo dancing was composed mostly of extemporaneous jigging done by men. The term "jig" has been used to describe various forms of solo dance steps, as well as music, and has not been well defined. Jigs, clogs, shuffles, leaps, heel clicking, hornpipes , and other step dances may have come from various ethnic traditions, or nothing more than an individual improvisation.
Other early terms used to describe either solo dancing or steps done as part of a circle or square dance were buck-and-wing, flat-footing, double shuffle, hoedown, and breakdown. In the early 19th century Richmond, Virginia held an annual event at the conclusion of a week of horse racing, the Race Ball, which began with a stately minuet, immediately followed by "the reel, like a storm after a calm.
Dances on the prairie frontier included the scamperdown, double shuffle, western-swing, and double shuffle. A Texan "stag dance" held in included jigs and hornpipes accompanied by patting juba. A fiddler, often a black man, was the main source of music for dance music. The banjo, too, derived from earlier African instruments, was also important. Reels, square dances, waltzes, polkas and other couple dances were performed with a spirit of freedom and improvisation, "all so mingled that it is a dance without name".
It involved couples who danced with their hands on each other's waists or shoulders and twirled around the floor at a breakneck pace. The dance was frowned upon by etiquette experts. In West Texas dances were referred to as "country dances", or sometimes "ranch dances" because they were held at ranches, and were a significant institution in the life of many Americans.
Dances for people in very small areas lasted the evening, whereas "all night dances" involved people who could not return home the same day. While children slept, adults danced and socialized until morning. Cowboys did the cooking at these events, serving a midnight meal. Musicians usually played where several rooms in a house came together, often facing the two "main rooms". When crowds were large, dancers would take turns dancing, paying a fee each time they danced so that the musicians could be paid.
Popular tunes played by fiddlers such as The Sailor's Hornpipe , or "The Virginia Reel" were increasingly divorced from the dances that bore the same names. In the late s through the s millions of Americans in the Lower Great Plains danced to Western Swing at roadhouses, county fairs and dance halls in small towns. Casey uses a variety of sources, including interviews and previously unpublished historical materials, such as dance cards, invitations, and photographs, to give us a delightful look at the social context of dance.
The importance of dance to early Texans is documented through colorful descriptions of clothing worn to the dances, of the various locations where dances were held, ranging from a formal hall to a wagon sheet spread on the ground, and of the hardships endured to get to a dance. Clear and detailed directions for each dance, along with suggested musical selections, accompany the diagrams and photos.
Dance and physical education teachers and students will find this section invaluable, and aspiring urban cowboys can follow the easy-to-read diagrammed footsteps to a satisfying spin around the honky-tonk floor. Background of Texas Dances 1. Overview of Texas Dancing 2.
Early Texas Dancing 3. Music and Musicians 4. Homespuns and Satins, Buckskins and Boughten Suits 5. Dancing Was Lively despite Obstacles 6.
Waltz Across Texas Lyrics
Country Music Influence 7. The Honky-Tonk 8. How to Do Texas Dances 9. General Information See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book!
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