Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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encircles her waist. The man starts with his left foot, the lady with her right. The dance for the man is as follows (the lady, as usual, always using the opposite foot) : With his weight on his right foot he touches his left heel to the floor (his toe pointed upward) on the counts one-and, then he touches his left toe to the floor close to his right foot on the count tivo-and. He then steps left on one, closes with his right on and, steps left again on Uvo, and rests on and. Then looking backward over his right shoulder he repeats it all with his right foot—heel, toe, slide, close, slide. Now looking forward again to his left he repeats with the left— heel, toe, slide, close, slide. And, looking back, he does a final heel, toe, slide, close, slide to the right. For the next eight measures they do a regular polka, rotating slowly to the right. It is simply a step, close, step, hop, first leading with the left foot and then repeated with the right lead. The polka is often done with a bouncy little light step although it looks better to execute it smoothly, with the hop merely a rise on the toe or a lifting of the heel, or a complete rest can be used if the hop or rise are not enjoyed.
We were dancing once in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when a charming little lady who, they told me, had been reared on a cattle ranch near Las Vegas, protested that our Heel and Toe Polka was all wrong. "You should do it on a dollar," she cried. "We always boasted we could do it on a dollar !" So I asked her to dance with me, and found that what she wanted was the heel and toe as described in the last para­graph but instead of a slide-close-slide, she wanted a stamp-stamp-stamp done in position. Then to the other side heel-toe-stamp-stamp-stamp. All done without moving from one spot, and repeated again in position. Then we scampered all around the room in the eight bars of a regular polka. "There/' she said, "that's the way the boys on our ranch always did it. That's the real polka."
The polka we like best is a sort of cross-over polka which we saw danced by a group from Walsenburg, Colorado. The first two parts were exactly like the regular polka, the part­ners side by side with the gentleman holding the lady's left hand in his left and reaching his right hand over her shoulder to hold her right hand shoulder high. They both