As with many great things in history, it’s hard to say exactly when the Two Step was originally created. But, it didn’t just come moseying on in one day. Instead, it was basically a mixture of the Foxtrot and the One Step, two other dances that were quite popular in the past. This was all going on in the early part of the 1800s, and these styles had their roots in the waltzes that were popular throughout Europe at the time. The ﬁrst common name coined for this dance was the “valse a deux temps,” however, a French name didn’t quite match with the feeling of the dance, so it was eventually named simply the Two Step.
The Two Step has gone through many changes over the years, but the early days of the dance became popular thanks to some music created by the famous composer John Philip Sousa. He wrote a song called the Washington Post March in 1889, and the pattern of the song pushed people to drop the more traditional gliding dances in favor of the style of the Two Step.
As an interesting little side note, the song was in fact named for the famous paper in our nation’s capital. The paper was hosting an awards ceremony for an essay contest, and he wanted to have some patriotic music playing. So, the leader of the United States Marine band wrote the song, and you can thank the newspaper business for helping to inspire one of your favorite pastimes!
The dance is often called the Texas Two Step or the Country Two Step, and those names came from the period when it started to separate from the Foxtrot. It was popular in the south, as is quite common with country music, so plenty of people in Texas were dancing along to it.
There were many different changes made to the dance over the years, but there was one particular instance that really spread it around. The movie Urban Cowboy came out n 1980, and of course people were impressed by John Travolta’s dance moves. The fact that it takes place primarily in a bar called Gilley’s in the Lone Star State is another reason this dance often has Texas stamped at the front.
But, the Two Step has gone through quite a few changes even since people agreed on a name. The early days saw dancers kicking back and forth down the ﬂoor in a straight line, but it slowly changed into the circular pattern that we know and love today.
June 25, 2019