Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
THE ROUND DANCES                                   95
lar on a modern program. And I believe this is only because practically none of the moderns know how to waltz. In the days of Strauss it was the favorite dance and was done beautifully. It would still be a favorite, no other dance would compare with it, if it were only danced correctly.
In the three beats of waltz time the true waltz is danced step, step, close, while the redowa (or two-step in waltz time) is danced step, close, step. The first is graceful and beautiful while the other is a little jerky and unsatisfying. Yet notice that it is all a matter of timing. In a series of waltz steps, three bars for instance, it would be step, step, close; step, step, close; step, step, close. And the two-step or redowa would be the same thing on a different timing. It is step, close, step; step, close, step; step, close, step. In each case since there are two steps connected by a close; the beginner simply cannot see the difference between them. But in the waltz the first step is accented by holding it. It bor­rows nearly a quarter of a count from the next beat, and this gives the fascinating grace which made is so over­whelmingly popular in the days of Strauss. But the step, close, step somehow destroys this subtle rhythm and has relegated the so-called waltz to a place among the antiques.
I have never tried to teach a group of beginners but that one or two superior couples would dance away independently from the instruction, blithely and proudly doing the two-step or redowa. And when I called their attention to it they indignantly insisted that they were waltzing. Only a matter of timing made them wrong and yet this timing makes all the difference in the world.
And so if you would learn the delights of the true waltz you must take time and earnestly endeavor to overcome the instinctive and incorrect redowa. It will repay you abund­antly in satisfaction.
Our grandfathers learned to waltz from a dancing mas­ter; and his commonest device in teaching them was "waltzing in a square." It will pay you to master it. Either chalk a square on the floor some twenty-two or twenty-four inches on each side, or imagine such a square. Stand with both feet together in the upper left-hand corner of the square. As you count one, step back with your left foot to