Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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center) ; and count three, the left foot is closed to the right and you are standing again at the upper left-hand corner as in the beginning, having made a complete revolution by facing out, in, out, and in again.
The little mechanical device of the square makes it rather delightful and surprising. Go around inside the square several times to music, and then reverse your turn by start­ing in the upper right-hand corner with both heels touching the top line. Then, of course, step forward with your left to the upper right side, then with your right to the lower right side and bring your left to your right in this lower corner. Then backward with your right to the nearest lower corner, and so on around the square revolving in an opposite direc­tion from your first right lead.
Now you are ready for free waltzing anywhere on the floor. And if ever you get in trouble go back to the good old square again and master the difficulty. Constantly strive for the rhythm, for the first held beat, and for the subtle balance that makes the waltz a thing of joy.
You are apt to find rhythm your chief difficulty in get­ting started on the true waltz. Once started, the waltz takes care of itself. But it is important to start right. In an old dance book I once found the description of a waltz start that is so helpful and so graceful that most of our dancers always use it. And strangely enough it is very similar to the popular hesitation step of today, in spite of its age. On the first beat of the music the man steps back on his left foot so emphatically as to raise his right foot in the air in front of him. The lady steps forward on her right and lets her left rise parallel to his right. Balanced back in this position with their free feet raised from the floor and point­ing from them they both rise on the toe of the foot on which they are standing on the second beat, and lower their sup­porting heels to the floor on the third. Their free feet still poised in the air, they are now ready to step out on them on the first beat of the second measure and to go into a regular waltz. That is, the man lowers his raised right foot and steps on this right on the first beat, then on his left, and closes his right to his left in a regular waltz. Meanwhile, the lady lowers and steps on her raised left foot and continues in the regular waltz.
It was an old rule that a waltz should always start with the man stepping back on his left foot and the lady forward