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Dancing in Seattle
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Updated September 25, 2023

Every part of the world where they do country-western and line dancing has things that they do a little bit different.  Here are some of the ways we dance in Seattle that you may want to know about for the Emerald City Hoedown.

Couples Dancing

  • Our DJs generally “call” a song’s dance style (except for Two-Step and Waltz) — “Next is a West Coast Swing” — to ensure that dancers know how to best utilize the dance floor space we are used to.  During the hoedown weekend, we will have more room in the country couples ballroom for multiple dance styles to use the floor at once, so the called dance style may be just a guideline.
  • Two-Step: In Seattle, we dance Two-Step “slow slow quick quick”, also known as San Francisco-Style Two-Step.  (The lead action comes at the first slow, with turns and moves mostly occurring on the “slow slow” and often having a swing “rock step” feel to the “quick quick”.)  Many of our dancers can also dance “quick quick slow slow” (aka Progressive Two-Step), and we will have some Progressive Two-Step (“quick quick slow slow”) workshops during the weekend, so just ask a potential dance partner if that’s what you are used to.
  • Night Club: We teach Night Club as “slow quick quick”, the form most prevalent in the country dance scene.  You may also be familiar with Night Club Two-Step, danced “quick quick slow”, more common on the swing dance scene.   We may play songs of either style of Night Club music in the country couples ballroom; the step pattern is dictated by the music played but the lead still comes on the slow step, so dancers of either style should generally be able to adjust to the other rhythm and still dance most patterns they have learned.
  • West Coast Swing: Please be sure to leave a dance lane on the outer edge of the floor in the main ballroom.  There may be Shadow and even Two-Step or Shuffle dancers on the floor at the same time.
  • West Coast Swing: n Seattle, our dancers mostly do double-rhythm (“step-touch step-touch rock step") or single-rhythm East Coast Swing (“side side rock step"), to music 150 bpm and above.
  • Shadow: While some parts of the country dance Shadow fast, to songs in the 120 bpm range, we dance it primarily to Night Club Two-Step and slow West Coast Swing-rhythm music in the 78–100 bpm range.
  • Shuffle: Also know as Triple Two, Shuffle has largely fallen out of popularity, especially due to smaller dance floors.   Danced “triple triple walk walk”, Shuffle bridges the gap between triple-rhythm East Coast Swing and very slow Two-Step, typically in the 115–135 bpm range.
  • Polka and Cha Cha: We do not generally dance Polka or Cha Cha in Seattle.  A few Polka and Cha Cha songs in the 100–115 bpm range get used for fast Two-Step, and some Cha Chas in that range get used for West Coast Swing.  Feel free to dance genuine Polka and Cha Cha to those songs, however, and our DJs may be able to play some specific songs for these by request.

Line Dancing

  • In recent years, Seattle has trended toward the more popular newer line dances, while keeping many of the older and even classic early line dances in our repertoire, so that we have as many as 80 dances being done with some regularity.
  • In addition to a dedicated line dance room, there will be some line dancing in the main country couples ballroom, primarily the most popular dances or ones which can do double-duty with a coutry couples dance style.  If a song is played which you want to line dance to, by all means use a portion of the center of the dance floor, leaving plenty of room for the regular couples dancers.  And if you want to West Coast Swing, Two-Step, etc. to a song being used for a line dance, feel free to use the edges of the dance floor, but watch out for moving line dancers.
  • Here are some of the ways our line dances may differ from what you are used to:
    Barn Dance (Wild Wild West): At the end of the dance cycle, move to the partner to your right.
    – Cowboy Cha Cha: Our version of this dance is an 80-count couples circle dance:
    – Slap Leather: We have danced a 34-count variant of this in Seattle for decades.  We dance the general pattern in this step sheet, but dropping counts 5 6 (heel front, toe back) in the second segment.
    – Hold Your Horses: We dance the second tag three times rather than once, which makes the rest of the dance match up better with the lyrics.
    – Roll Back the Rug: We do this with facing lines which cross during the dance cycle.
    – Shake It Off: When the music slows to a stop after the rap section, we do a slow down and stop of the dance, resuming full speed when the lyrics start again.