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Re: Two Step Meter
Posted by Bruce Chidester
2/8/2013  7:37:00 AM
I have come to the similar conclusion that you have pointed out, in that I need to just move to the beat and not worry where the dance pattern matches the music measures. This is a difficult process for me, but I enjoy the challenge. Dance is new and because I play the Bass Guitar I cannot avoid hearing the first beat in every measure and not wonder why my feet are doing something different from the previous measure. I would never imagine playing a different rhythm pattern on my Bass for a measure that did not support the last one, not would dancers want to dance to it.

Thanks for taking the time to explain this point as I find most dancers respond with I don't know, just feel the music, just get in touch with nature, etc.

What I wanted to avoid by asking the question is to verify that the pattern does in fact change from one measure from the next (which it does) and not learn something wrong for years and realize it quite late. Now that I know that this is the way it is, I am going for it.

This seems to be an international board so I will add just a few more things I have learned about the two-step in America (and particular to Houston Texas which is where I am from) which might be interesting. The biggest difference is using SSQQ instead of QQSS for the two-step.

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A lot of credit for the country and western craze in Houston should be given to Eddie Lopez.

Eddie Lopez owned the most popular chain of studios in the Houston area called Exclusive Dance Club which is now no longer in business. In its hey-day Exclusive boasted close to 12 different studios and may well known dancers either taught, or learned in these studios; including Joyce Clarkson (of Evenin' Star Boots), Laurie and Larry Sepulvado, Mary Hoedeman, Eddie Griffith, and many many more that I can't think of right now. My wife Carol and I took lessons from Mary H. at an Exclusive studio that was located less than a mile from the Midnight Rodeo (now called the Wild West) in 1983. The two step that is generally seen on the UCWDC circuit today is essentially the same as what was being taught at Exclusive nearly 15 years ago! (Yes, the Sepulvados did much to popularlize this wonderful style of the dance.) I recall watching very early videos of "major" C/W competitions from the late 80's and thinking no one was doing a "real" two step--I wasn't sure what they were doing, but it wasn't "genuine" from my perspective. After all, I'd learned the dance in TEXAS, in HOUSTON, from the motherland of country dancing!

There is a syllabus that has been hammered out with some cooperation between the many studios in the Houston area. This cooperation was an attempt to develop some minimal standards of instruction and content to eliminate the typical conflicts that can arise about who's teaching the real thing. It was an effort that was successful in my opinion; look at competition videos from 1987 and compare them with current performances. What started in Houston is now generally recognized as THE two step.

By the way, in ALL Houston studios, the two step starts with the slow steps (SSQQ) rather than the quick steps (QQSS). In most cases and with most music, this still makes sense and is more than just a relic from the fox-trot. [Dennis Waite]


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