Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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a successful party. So it will be well before describing more squares to treat the commonest of the old-time round dances at this point, starting with the easiest. If the group gets so good that they later want a larger selection, you can turn to such a book as Henry Ford's Good Morning where these dances are completely described. But wTe shall limit ourĀ­selves now to those dances that are common in the West.
The Rye Waltz
This is the easiest of all of the round dances to teach and to execute. The couples take the regular dance position; that is, the man holding the lady's right hand in his extended left and his right arm around her waist while her left hand rests on his shoulder. The music is the old familiar Scotch tune "Comin' Thru The Rye." The first four bars are played rather fast in their regular 4/4 time. The last four bars are changed and slowed down so that each beat is modified to the 3/4 time of waltz rhythm, except the fourth or last bar which is left unchanged in its original 4/4 time; that is, the last four bars where the words begin "Ilka lassie has her laddie" become 12 bars of 3/4 time and one final and fast bar of 4/4 time. Then it is all repeated as many times as desired.
We shall describe the dance for the man, the woman, of course, using always the opposite foot in the opposite direcĀ­tion. Incidentally this Western arrangement is somewhat different from the Rye Waltz as danced in the East.
On the first bar of the music, the man keeping his weight on his right foot extends his left foot out to the side and lightly touches the floor with his left toe. On the second beat he closes his left foot back to his right. On the third beat he extends and points his left foot again to the side and on the fourth closes it again to his right. Then he sashays to the left for the four beats of the second bar. That is, he steps left and closes his right to his left, again he steps left and closes his right to his left, and then steps left and shifts his weight to the left, with a step-close-step-close-step rhythm. Then during the next two bars of the music, the whole thing is repeated to the right; that is, with his weight shifted on to his left foot he points right, closes his right to his left, points right again, closes again and then sashays to the right with a step-close-step-close-step.