How to Do Country Dances

Country Western dancing is a laid-back genre of dance performed with a partner or group to country music. It combines smooth basic steps and gliding movements with a focus on accurate footwork. Because country western has fairly simple steps, almost anyone can pick it up and have fun grooving along. Learn how to do country dances with free video tutorials from Howcast!

History of Country Western Dancing

Country western dancing has an interesting history that is about as American as it gets. It has roots in several European dances, including English Minuets, Irish Jigs, and French Quadrilles. While these dances required accurate footwork and precise moves, American cowboys weren’t the greatest at this and instead added their own flair to the mix.

As a result, country western dancing became a cowboy’s take on traditional European dances. This impact can be seen to this day by modern footwork entailing a wide stance and many shuffling movements. Eventually, this style meshed with the swing dancing craze of the early 1900s to create the dances known today as country western.

How to Dance Country Western

While there are many forms of country western dance, you can’t start without learning the two step. This is the basis of most country western dances and will give you a solid foundation to start from. All you need to do is learn the timing and basic footwork and you’ll be well on your way to two-stepping the night away!

Body Position

You and your partner should be fairly close together, with a little bit of space between the two of you. The man’s left hand should extend out at the shoulder level to meet with a woman’s right hand. A man’s right hand should be on a woman’s upper back, while the woman’s right arm should rest atop this arm with the hand placed on the man’s right shoulder.

Counting

Counting the two-step is not difficult, but timing your steps to the count can be tricky. There are four steps performed to three beats of music, starting with two quick steps and two slow steps (Quick x2, Slow x2). Quick steps will last for ½ a beat each, while the slow steps will take a full beat each. Slow steps will almost look like a stride, while short steps will look more like a shuffle.

How to Do the Country Western Two Step

There are many different styles of country western dance, but the two-step is the most common and simplest to learn. Once you understand how to count country western, it becomes much easier to perform the footwork. Here’s how to do the Country Western two step:

  • Leader starts by stepping forward with the left foot, follower mirrors by stepping back with the right foot.
  • Leader then quickly steps forward with the right foot going past their left foot, follower does the same by stepping back past their right foot with their left foot.
  • Leader takes a slower step forward with their left foot, follower mirrors by taking a slow step back with their right foot. 
  • Leader then steps forward with their right foot, follower will step backward with their left foot. 
  • Remember that the first two steps should be quick, while the last two steps will be a little slower. This dance will now repeat in a circle around the dance floor, or you can also do it in reverse to return to your original position.

Start Country Western Dancing!

This guide should give you a clear idea of how to start country western dancing! To learn even more moves and techniques, explore the full video series below.