Country Western dancing (aka country and western dance or C&W) includes a group of dance styles (genres) danced to country western music. English country dance is a different style of dance from the United Kingdom.
Country Western Dancing History
Country western dancing evolved from all the diverse ethnic traditions of the people that immigrated and settled in the U.S. including the Irish jigs, French quadrilles, English minuets and other folk dances from the old country. As people moved West these earlier dance forms were integrated into a polka type dance that was perfect for barn dances and get togethers. Formal minuets and country reels were included at community dance events.
In the late 19th century, a dance called, “swinging” appeared with partners hands on their waists spinning around the floor. However, high society frowned upon this new dance. As dance styles moved West along with the population, they were sometimes referred to as “country dances.” Moreover, at these cowboys cooked meals, musicians played music and dancers danced. In the 1920’s through the 1950’s, forms like Western swing, two steps and waltzes became popular. Also, other dances were gaining popularity like Lindy hop, schottische and jitterbug.
Contemporary Country Dancing
In the late 1990’s, there was a huge County Western music. Also, the country western dances skyrocketed in popularity including the country two step, waltz, polka, rodeo swing, East & West Coast swing, cowboy cha cha and dozens of line dances as well.
C&W Dancing Styles:
Country two step, triple step, waltz, cowboy cha cha, polka, schottische, rodeo, East Coast & West Coast swing and nightclub two step. Also, related forms that can be done either solo or in a group include: line dancing, square dance and clogging. Moreover, the country western dances are popular in dance studios, C&W clubs and competitions, conventions and festivals. Additionally, ballroom dancers have influenced the country western dances since the early 1990’s.
Worlds UCWDC 2013 Two Step
Craig & Joan 2nd Place
UCWDC Worlds 2014 Polka
Worlds UCWDC West Coast Swing 2016
Worlds UCWDC 2016 Cha Cha
Worlds UCWDC 2012 Division 1 Nightclub Two Step
C&W Dance Popularity
County western dancing goes up and down in popularity along with country western music. Consequently, there was a huge spike in interest in it in late 1990’s and early two thousands along with the music revival. Still, there are many places that it is still popular today. Country western music continues to be popular since its resurgence in the late nineteen nineties. In addition, the country western waltz, cha cha and polka has much in common with their ballroom counterparts.
Most dance studios offer at least some of the country western dances styles. Also, social dancers love country western dancing especially the country western two-step. In addition, most dance studios that offer lessons in country western dancing offer the country western two-step. The best classes focus on the dance concepts, movements and fundamentals of the contemporary style of the dances. Also, they might include dance lessons in country western waltz and the other dance genres. Generally, learning these dance genres helps the dancer with other dance styles like swing and ballroom dancing.
Country Western Music
Mirror, Mirror (Slow C&W Two Step)
by Diamond Rio
We Tell Ourselves (Fast Two Step)
By Clint Black
I’d Love You All Over Again (C&W Waltz)
by Alan Jackson
Lost (Nightclub Two Step)
Read more about all the different types of dances here!
How to Prep for a turn in the Country Western Two Step
By Brandon Detty & Stephanie Swain (former instructors at the Pattie Wells’ DanceTime Center)