- Claude Conyers
A broad category of social dances that are typically done to country-western music, a fusion of southeastern and southwestern styles of Country music. Country-western dance is to be distinguished from Country dance, or contradanse, a lively group dance of seventeenth-century English origin that has been revived in rustic form and become widely popular, especially in eastern states. In contrast, country-western dance is stylistically associated with the traditional cowboy culture of the southwestern states. There are two basic kinds: couple dances and group dances.
Among the most popular lead-and-follow dances for couples are the two-step, the waltz, the polka, and the ten-step, also known as the ten-step polka. East coast swing and west coast swing dances are also sometimes done to country-western music. Among the western promenade dances, or pattern dances for couples, are the horseshoe shuffle, the cowboy or traveling cha cha, the sweetheart stroll, and the schottische. Country-western dancing is informal, relaxed, and subdued in style, without affectation or exhibitionism. Smoothness of movement, keeping time with the music, and mannerliness are admired. Because many dancers wear cowboy boots, country-western dances usually feature a flat-footed glide rather than steps executed on the balls of the feet. In the cowboy waltz, for example, neither foot is lifted completely from the floor; steps should be a light-footed glide rather than a flat-footed shuffle. There are, however, many versions of each dance, which may be known by different names in different cities or even in different dance halls in the same town. There is thus no one “correct” way to execute a particular dance. Execution is at the pleasure and within the skill set of each dancing couple....