When two people dance together, someone has to decide what steps to do and when.  So one person, usually the guy, is designated as the leader and the other partner is a follower.  The skills involved in each of the roles are different but are equally important.  Followers have to learn to grasp and follow non-verbal cues smoothly and quickly.  Leaders have to provide those cues comfortably and in the proper timing.

The conventional wisdom is that the leader chooses the moves and the follower responds by doing what is led.  And in broad brushstrokes, that is what happens.  But a deeper understanding of what goes on is more nuanced.  As in all matters that involve two people doing something together, they both have to be sensitive to the cues, comfort and needs of the other person.  A leader who attempts moves the follower cannot easily do, such as a double or triple spin, will not find the dance to work out well.  A follower who is hesitant to move at the pace or with the size steps that the leader tries to initiate will inhibit the leader from orchestrating the dance. They really both affect each other and that each has significant input on making the dance work.

Moreover, either gender can learn the leader’s or follower’s part, and advanced dancers often have fun doing both, and switching roles.  Learning to lead helps ladies understand how better to follow just as learning to follow helps leaders better understand how to lead.  But whatever role one assumes in a dance, it is important to recognize that you have a significant impact on what your partner is able to do when dancing with you, and try to be sensitive to making the partnership itself function well.

The dances covered here are all done to music with four beats to a measure.  A phrase is generally two measures, or eight beats.  If you think of a Salsa or Foxtrot song, and count eight beats, you will see that the first beat gets the greatest emphasis and the fifth beat gets the next strongest emphasis.  You can feel this musical pulse and that is the rhythm people dance to. 

Some dances like Salsa have a dance pattern that starts at the beginning and ends at the end of a musical phrase.  Some dances like Swing do not have a dance pattern that takes eight beats even though the musical phrase is eight beats.  That means you don’t start every dance pattern on beat one.  For example, many swing steps are a 6 beat pattern so if you start on beat one, the next pattern starts on beat 7 of the same phrase.  The following pattern starts on 5 and the one after that starts on 3 etc.  This may feel odd to dancers with a lot of musical training. But people get accustomed to it and generally it doesn’t cause a problem once they understand what’s happening.

In the dances covered here, steps are done by alternating which foot you step onto---from right to left, to right, etc. I mention this apparently obvious fact because I know from experience that beginning dancers sometimes make the mistake of taking two steps in a row with the same foot---without realizing it.  Hence dancers are advised to say “left” or “right” in their minds, and watch for a full weight shift with each step, to avoid this problem.

Another helpful hint is to lift your foot slightly off the ground as you step onto the other foot. What you want to avoid is putting your foot down to take a step without actually shifting your weight to that foot. The way to be sure you have shifted your weight onto one foot is to lift the other foot slightly off the ground.

It is a great help for dancers who are first learning to take very small steps. Any imperfection in your rhythm or how your weight is centered, etc. tends to be minimized when the steps are small. As you learn increasingly complex moves, there will be some exceptions to this rule. But for beginners, you can't go wrong with small steps.

With that, you can click to a description of some basic steps in the dances below.  And since Foxtrot is a commonly used as wedding dance, some simple choreographies for a “Foxtrot first dance” are described as well. These step descriptions were the collaborative effort of dance instructors Barbara Bernstein and Michele Kearney (a wonderful ballroom teacher in Northern Virginia).

Below is information on L. A. style Salsa, Cha cha, Foxtrot, Swing and tango!  Enjoy!                                                                                                                         

1. ONE ON ONE SALSA  ("L. A. Style Salsa")

The rhythm of Salsa is quick quick slow so we step on beats 1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7.

a. Basic Step

Starting position: stand straight, knees slightly bent, feet parallel and close together. When the man is stepping forward on his left, the lady is stepping back on the right since they are facing each other.  Note that the lady is the mirror image of the man. Hence the lady's movement starts with beat 5 in the chart below.  She is always "4 beats" ahead of the man in terms of which step described below she is doing.

Beat 1:  step forward with your left foot 

Beat 2:  replace your right foot where it was

Beat 3:  bring your left foot next to your right foot

Beat 4   continue moving through the step you took on beat 3, so the movement never stops

Beat 5: step back on your right foot 

Beat 6: replace your left foot where it was

Beat 7: bring your right foot next to your left foot 

Beat 8  keep moving through the step you took on beat 7, slowly so the movement is fluid and never stops


b. Outside Underarm Turn

a. The man's footwork is identical to the basic step. However, as he steps "slow" on the left foot, he raises his left arm to prepare his partner to turn. He turns her on the next quick-quick-slow sequence (when he is stepping back). 

The woman does her backrock on the first 4 beats and then turns on beats 5,6,7. 

b. Note that there is another approach to doing the underarm turn.  The leader can do another back rock instead of the forward rock as he "preps" the lady for her turn.  In other words, he rocks back on beats 5, 6, and 7 as usual to complete the basic pattern. But then he rocks back again--this time on beats 1, 2, and 3.  He pushes the lady back so she does her usual back rock on the first 3 beats of the pattern.  The rest of the turn is the same as described above.

Note:  An "outside turn" just means that the lady's arm goes to the outside of her body rather than crossing the middle of her body.  And "inside turn" requires that the arm the lady is led withcrosses the center of her body.

c. "She He She” Turns

The outside turn described above can be done three times in a row, first by the lady, and then by the man, and finally by the lady again.  The man's footwork is exactly the same as the lady's when he turns.  He simply turns himself since he is the leader.  Then precisely 8 beats after the lady first turned, she turns again.  That completes the third turn in the sequence.  Note that when the ladies turn, they step forward on beat 5 and turn on beats 6 and 7.  When the men turn, they step forward on beat 1 and turn on beats 2 and 3.  

d. Cross Body Lead (with and without a turn)

a. The Cross Body Lead (without a turn) is done by the man stepping forward on beat 1 on his left foot.  On beats 2 and 3, he makes a quarter of a turn to his left. 

He then leads the lady to walk in front of him across his body (on beats 5, 6, and 7).  To do this, he steps back slightly with his right foot to "get out of her way."  Then on his next steps, (left foot on beat 6 and then right foot on beat 7), he turns toward her and follows her. She starts walking in front of him with her left foot on beat 5.  Then she steps onto her right foot on beat 6 and onto her left on beat 7.  

b. The Cross Body Lead With a Turn is exactly the same as the above cross body lead, except that the lady is turned on beats 6 and 7 to her left as she comes across the man's body to his other side.  

e. Side Rocks

This is done by stepping to the side (left for the man first and then right---right for the lady first and then left) instead of stepping forward and back.  Other than this direction change it is identical to the basic step.



The rhythm of this dance bears a close relationship to Salsa. To get from Salsa to Cha Cha, you can replace the "slow" step of Salsa with the three quick steps. So Cha Cha music is essentially like very slow Salsa music. Since it's slower tempo, there is time for all the three steps in place of one "slow" step.   

However, note that we count "One, Two, Three, Cha Cha."  This is an alternate way of counting the dance which has its own logic.  Counted this way, the one, two and three are even in time and the two cha's are shorter and also equal in time to each other.  It is a slightly different way to think of the rhythm than to consider it to be 2 steps and then 3 cha cha chas.

Cha cha is done by ballroom dancers by starting the first step on beat two and club Latin dancers often start on beat one.  Either way, it is like a slowed down version of Salsa and the same steps can be done in the cha cha--the turns and the cross body lead etc.  They are just done in this altered rhythm.

Funny Cha Cha story: I once did a show for the Mexican embassy; and Cha Cha was included as it’s a common dancethere. The minister of the embassy asked me why Americans call the dance "Cha Cha" instead of "Cha Cha Cha" (as they do in his country). It was an great question…..go figure!



Foxtrot is done in a "slow slow quick quick" rhythm.  (A "quick" step gets one beat and a "slow" step gets two beats.)  It is done progressing forward but there are other moves that can be done to change direction as you go around the room.

The box step keeps you in place but it also alters the rhythm. That step is done in a "slow quick quick" rhythm. So dancers move from the basic rhythm to this "box step rhythm." Then they move back to the basic rhythm as soon as the box step is done.

 And here is an interesting side note just for fun. If you take a look at the basic rhythm for both Single Swing and Foxtrot, you'll see that they are the same ("slow, slow, quick, quick"). This makes it possible to move from either of these dances into the other smoothly as long as the tempo of the music is appropriate. So for example, if you are dancing to a relatively fast Foxtrot, then after the promenade step, you can go directly into the basic step of Single Swing. Then you can do some other swing steps and from there go back to the Single Swing basic. This enables you to switch directly to the Foxtrot promenade step again, and resume Foxtrot. 

 This switch from one dance to another is exciting and looks very fancy, yet it is easy enough for complete beginners to do! I have taught this transition successfully in an introductory dance class.

a. Basic Step

The man's basic step for foxtrot is as follows:

Walk forward with left foot (slow)

Walk forward with right foot (slow)

Side step with left foot (quick)

Close the right foot next to the left foot (quick)

The woman does the opposite as shown below:

Walk back with right foot (slow)

Walk back with left foot (slow)

Side step with right foot (quick)

Close left foot next to right foot (quick)

b. Promenade

This step is designed to travel sideways. That is accomplished by the man turning his head slightly to the left and then walking in the direction he is turning.  As always the woman follows with a mirror image movement.

The man's footwork is:

Turn head and upper body to left and walk with  left foot in that direction (slow)

Take a second step in the same direction with the right foot passing the left (slow)

Step side with left foot while turning back to face partner (quick)

Close right foot next to left foot while still facing partner (quick)

The woman's footwork is:

Turn head and upper body to right and walk with right foot in that direction (slow)

Take a second step in the same direction with the left foot passing the right (slow)

Step side with right foot while turning back to face partner (quick)

Close left foot next to right foot while still facing partner (quick)

c. Left Turn (also called "Ad Lib")

This step enables you to change direction while dancing.

The man's footwork is as follows:

Walk forward with left foot (slow)

Step back with right foot (slow)

Step side with left foot and rotate 1/4 of a  turn to the left (1/8 of a turn is also ok) (quick)

Close right foot next to the left foot (quick)

The woman's footwork is:

Walk back with right foot (slow)

Step forward with left foot (slow)

Step side on right foot and rotate as led by partner (quick)

Close left foot next to the right foot (quick)

d. Box Step

Most dances have some steps that involve a change in the underlying dance rhythm. Here we have included only the foxtrot's box rhythm as a variation on the basic rhythm pattern. In foxtrot, so many steps are done in the box rhythm (Slow-Quick-Quick) and the box pattern is so fundamental, that we felt it should be included.

The man's footwork for the box step, which is done in the box rhythm, takes him forward on his left, then to the right side with his right foot. Next he bring the left to the right.  Then he steps back with his right, bring his left foot back and to the left side, and finally closes his right foot next to the left.  Ladies do the exact opposite in terms of direction and which foot they are on since the two partners are mirroring each other.  This relationship is understandably referred to as doing the "natural opposite."

Man's Box

Step 1: Walk forward with left foot    (Slow)

Step 2: Step with right foot diagonally forward and to the right (Quick)

Step 3: Close the left foot next to the right foot        (Quick)

Step 4: Walk back with right foot   (Slow)

Step 5:  Step with left foot diagonally back and to the left (Quick)

Step 6: Close right foot to left foot  (Quick)

Repeat (if another box is desired)

Woman's Box
This is the mirror image of the man's:

Step 1: Walk back with right foot  (Slow)

Step 2: Step with left foot diagonally back and to the left                 (Quick)

Step 3: Close right foot next to the left foot            (Quick)

Step 4:  Walk forward with left foot(Slow)

Step 5: Step with right foot diagonally forward and to the right  (Quick)

Step 6: Close left foot to the right foot  (Quick)

e. The Park Avenue Step

Another very nice step is called the "Park Avenue."  In this step, the man turns his body at a 45 degree angle to his left and steps forward in that direction with his left and then with his right. The right foot passes the left so it is like walk.  This is on the two slow steps. For the two quicks, he steps sideways to his left with his left foot and then the right foot meets the left foot. This is referred to as "side together" since you are stepping to the left side and then bringing your feet together.  The two slow steps are easiest done by stepping outside of his partner.  She is led to move in the natural opposite as always, so she is stepping back and at an angle to her right starting with her right foot and then continues walking backwards in the same direction with a step on her left.

These two slow steps can be done with the man stepping into his partner as well. But I highly recommend stepping "outside partner" as it looks and feels cleanest that way.  Note that for the "side together" steps on the two quicks, the partners are facing each other as he moves left and she moves right.

Then the next slow slow quick quick completes the Park Avenue pattern.  The man turns 45 degrees to his right and steps back with his left and then with his right foot. (The right foot passes the left just as it does when he is walking backwards.)  Again the side together is done by turning back (to the left) 45 degrees so the partners face each other again for the man's step to his left with his left foot and then the right foot comes next to his left.  He is moving "outside partner" again on the two slows and she is doing the "natural opposite" of his moves as always.

The Park Avenue is a very pretty step and if you think of the basic step moving the man forward or "north," then the Park Avenue step moves the couple to the "west" or sideways with angular steps so its creates a lovely pattern. As always, at the end of the 8 steps in this move, the man is facing his partner and ready to step on his left foot so he can do any of the step patterns above as they all begin with the man's stepping on his left foot.  I think it segues well into the "ad lib" step personally!

f.  Embellishments To Above Steps:

i.  On the Promenade step, the man can turn the lady to her right on the two quick steps. She has to turn rather quickly to be stabilized for the next slow step, so it may take some practice. What the lady must remember is that she turns a full 360 degrees, so she faces her partner after the two quicks.

ii.  On the Box Step which has the rhythm change (to slow-quick-quick), the man can lead an optional turn in this step as well.  He turns the lady to her right beginning on step 5 in the box pattern above. He continues the box pattern and she turns all the way around, meeting him (i.e. facing him again) by step 3 of the box pattern.  So the leader continues stepping back on his right for step 4 and finishes the box.  It is also common to do the turn where the man moves (turns) part way to meet the woman. In this case, he is facing her by step 2 in the second box pattern.  Again, they finish out the box pattern before going into another move.

iii. On the basic step, instead of doing the side together for the two quick steps, the leader can keep moving forward so it is like a steady walk forward in slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm.  (In fact, if someone is doing a wedding dance, this might be a sweet way to enter from the edge of the room and move to the middle of the floor or stage area.)

iv.  Similarly, on the promenade step, the leader can keep moving in the same direction on the two quick steps rather than coming back to face the lady for the "side together" steps.  However, to end the promenade step and move into another step pattern, you need to do the "side together" facing each other.  So for example, a couple can do one or two promenade steps in the manner, moving progressively in the same direction on all steps and then the final promenade step in a series would need to be the standard way so that the dancers can segue into another step such as the "ad lib" or basic.

v.  On the box step, each time the man takes his "slow" step, he rotates a little to his left.  This "turns" the box so it looks much more interesting and advanced, and that rotation feels good to the dancers as well.

vi.  With either the SSQQ or SQQ rhythms, Foxtrot could be done in a "progressive" step, going forward for the leader in a straight line, but stepping in that rhythm.


Foxtrot Routines & “Dirty Dancing” Routine  

Many people take dance lessons in a traditional dance such as Foxtrot to prepare for the "First Dance" at their wedding reception.  However, increasingly, couples are opting to do a dance of their choice at weddings---often a livelier dance like Salsa.  

DanceInTime has been called upon many times to prepare couples for wedding dances.  When the preparation is in Salsa, it's just a matter of teaching steps the couple can do comfortably. 

But in the case of Foxtrot or Waltz, even if you know the steps well, these dances can be tricky because they "sweep the floor" (unlike Salsa).  So leading either of them at a wedding reception requires not only knowing the moves but some "navigational skills."  In other words, the movement of many steps is progressive, meaning that you don't stay in one spot.  You move across the floor broadly if you keep on doing basic steps.  When you get near a wall (or a "wall of people") and you have to (artfully) change direction. 

To illustrate wedding preparation, below are some Foxtrot First Dance choreographies using the above steps.  These all keep the wedding couple more or less in a central area since these choreographies keep turning the couple around after a short time of moving in one direction.  In addition, these choreographies cause the couple to rotate so if they are ringed by friends and family, they'll face everyone at some point in the routine.  The choreographies also prevent the couple from getting too far from the center of the room.


a. Basic Foxtrot Wedding Choreography                 

Here is a set of moves for beginning dancers who want the simplest possible routine:

Two Basic steps

One Ad Lib step

To Basic steps

One Ad Lib step

Two Basic steps

One Ad Lib step

Two Basic Steps

One Ad lib step


Note that if the "ad lib" step rotates 1/4 of a turn then you can think of the first two basics moving you "north," the next two moving you "west," the next two moving you "south," and the next two moving you "east."  Then the final ad lib gets the couple moving north again.  So you are making a square more or less in the center of the dance floor and you won't bump into any walls.  This involves only two simple steps and would be easy to execute but look nice.


b. "Advanced Basic" Foxtrot Wedding Choreography                    

The sequence below is still relatively basic, but it has a little more sophistication.

Two Basics

Two Promenades (note you can throw in an optional turn for ladies on the two quick steps)

Two Ad libs

Two Basics

Two box steps (note you can throw in an optional turn for the lady as described in the embellishments)

Then keep doing the box step with the rotation until you are facing the direction in which you began the dance, and then repeat this sequence again.

Note that box steps are always done in the altered rhythm of slow-quick-quick (rather than the basic foxtrot rhythm of slow-slow-quick-quick.

Also, if you want to dance onto the floor, you can do the basic step as described in embellishment #3 above.  That would dress up the wedding dance significantly and be exciting for the "audience!”


c.  Intermediate Foxtrot Wedding Choreography             

The routine below is the more sophisticated and it would look beautiful. Remember that you can dance onto the stage as suggested in embellishment #3 above and that would look super sharp!

Two Basics

One Ad lib

One Park Avenue

One Ad lib

Two Promenade steps (Note the second one can include an optional turn for the lady)

Two box steps (Note at the lead's option, these can rotate as in embellishment "v.")

Additional box steps can be done if needed with the leftward rotation for the man (see embellishment "v." above) until the couple is facing the direction they started.  Then repeat this sequence.


d.  Sophisticated Foxtrot Wedding Choreography

Two Basics

One Ad lib

One Half of the Park Avenue Step (just the part where the guy goes forward and side step)

One Promenade Step

One Ad lib

Two Promenade steps (Note the second one can include an optional turn for the lady)

Two box steps (Note at the lead's option, these can rotate as in embellishment "v.")

Additional box steps can be done if needed with the leftward rotation for the man (see embellishment "v." above) until the couple is facing the direction they started.  Then repeat this sequence.

Note that all we did to change from the intermediate to the sophisticated routine is change the full Park Avenue Step to a half of the Park Avenue followed by a Promenade step. This is a beautiful sequence and will look very sophisticated!

Final Comment on wedding dances:

There was a time when wedding dances were only traditional Foxtrots and Waltzes.  Interestingly, the SQQ Foxtrot rhythm that is done in the box formation can easily be translated to Waltz rhythm.  The only difference is that in the Waltz, all three steps have the same time value while in Foxtrot the first step (the slow) lasts for two beats while the other steps last one beat each.  Because of this 3 step pattern that applies to both dances, the moves can easily be adjusted from one dance to the other.  So you can create a waltz choreography from some of the above material as well.

e. Dirty Dancing Routine
I have had a number of requests to teach a wedding couple this dance routine which is a favorite movie dance scene for many people. Below is a written list of steps from that dance which make a nice first dance presentation. This starts from the partnership dance sequence and includes some footwork/shines that just the guy does. The footwork piece is optional of course.
Note that when this was first constructed, there was also an eight beat phrase with a body roll—-something they do a few times in the movie. That was left out of the list below but could be added in. This routine with the guy’s footwork pattern after the couple dances runs roughly 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

Roll out and in 8 beats

Basic step

Right turn 8 beats


She comes in turning L for a copa on 1 2 3. Then she turns R. She steps on beat 8 so she is on the same foot as the guy.

They change the direction they are facing—she faces 90 degrees the the right of her original position and he is 90 degress to the L of his original position. They link arms and do basic and then 16 beats of diagonal forward rocks alternating sides.




Basic but on beat 7 start swiveling. Turn her to her R on 6. Guy turns himself L on 6.


Frisbee move— 16 beats This is not strictly from the movie and could be optional


Diagonals facing each other. 4 beats to each side; then doubles (twice to each side before switching to other side). This totals 24 beats.


Adios into the “kid move” 16 beats. Nice to keep up the hands not holding your partner.

CBL with inside turn


Cha cha with R turn at the end. 16 beats total, and the R turn is the last 4 of those beats.

Basic, then get close doing a modified basic or whatever!! Be close for 8 or 16 beats

Basic (move away from each other to normal distance)

Open break with a handshake hold then turn her R. Bring her around the guy.

Switch hands and CBL with inside turn

Kiss her hand.

Guy runs and jumps as if jumping off a stage. He turns back to face her as she works her skirt.

His shine:

Step R, then L heel on floor with toes pointed up. Do this alternating feet for 8 beats in place.

Do the above but walk forward.

Do the above for 4 beats. Then: Tap R, kick R, "and flair," step L. Total: 8 beats.

Right crosses over L on 1 and step diagonally forward and L on 3. on both 5 and 7, bend knees and swivel hips with feet pointed at a diagonal but body more facing forward..

(Can do this again if want to fill time)

Then starting on R, tap R foot on 1 and 3, then suzie Q. Do same on L.

Tap tap on 1 and 3 again and then flair on 5 6 7.

Then begin stepping on L on beat 1 for a Salsa basic.

Do one basic.

Then suzie Q plus (3, 5, 1, 3) add a R turn at the end.

Can end by coming together for a dip, a horizontal lift, raising her up vertically, an embrace, she hops on his back when he is on all 4s,—etc.

Note: All basics are 8 beats. A CBL is also 8 beats, with or without a turn.

R means right. L means left.



There are many different forms of swing dancing (West Coast Swing, East Coast, Lindy Hop, Blues, etc).   East Coast swing is the easiest to learn.  Single and Triple Swing are both types of East Coast Swing and some basic steps for those dances are described below.  
Note that as always, in the description below, a "quick" step gets one beat and a "slow" step gets two beats. 

And here is an interesting side note just for fun. If you take a look at the basic rhythm for both Single Swing and Foxtrot, you'll see that they are the same ("slow, slow, quick, quick"). This makes it possible to move from either of these dances into the other smoothly as long as the tempo of the music is appropriate. So for example, if you are dancing to a slow Single Swing, then after a basic step, you can move into the Foxtrot promenade step. Then you can do some other Foxtrot steps and finally do the promenade step again. After that you can go directly back into the Single Swing basic. 


a. Basic Step

The man puts his right arm around his partner's middle back and holds her right hand with his left hand. They create a 45 degree angle with their bodies.

The man's footwork is as follows: 

Step forward with left foot  (Slow)

Step in place with right foot  (Slow)

Step back with left foot (behind right foot) (Quick)

Step in place with right foot (Quick)

The woman's footwork is: 

Step forward with right foot (Slow)

Step in place with left foot  (Slow)

Step back with right foot (behind left foot) (Quick)

Step in place with left foot (Quick)

b. The Underarm Release

Note that in all Single Swing steps, the man starts on his left foot with the first "slow." The second "slow" is on the right. Then the first "quick" is on the left foot and the second "quick" is on the right foot.

The woman's feet alternate in the same manner but she begins on her right for all single swing steps.

The man's footwork for this step is exactly the same as the basic step. However, he raises his left arm on the first "slow" and uses his right arm to lead the woman out (under that arm) on the second "slow".

The woman's footwork involves the same rhythm pattern and begins with the right foot just as in the basic. But she steps in a different direction, doing an underarm turn to the right during the two "slow" steps.

Both the man and the woman finish the pattern with their two "quicks" facing each other.

c. Woman's Inside Turn

This step follows the underarm release step. It is begun from an open, face to face position.

The man starts with his left foot and changes place with the woman by turning 180 degrees to his right on the two "slow" steps. With his left hand he leads her to his right side and goes over her head to complete the turn. The two "quicks" are in place, facing his partner.

The woman starts with her right foot and rotates around 180 degrees to her left, switching places with her partner. She turns as led on the two "slows". Her subsequent two "quicks" are in place, facing him again.


Most of the general comments above for Single Swing apply to Triple Swing as well.  However, Triple Swing doesn't lend itself to the transition to Foxtrot.

Moreover, Triple Swing is essentially the same as Single Swing, except that each of the "slows" in Single Swing is replaced with three steps in Triple Swing. The steps are done in the "trip-le-time" rhythm. These three steps are not even in the amount of time they take. The first step is twice as long as the second step. And the last of the three steps is three times a long as the second step. (The second step is the shortest in length.)  All the same patterns for Single Swing can be done in Triple Swing with this simple step and timing adjustment. 

 Here is a helpful hint for doing Triple Swing. In executing the footwork, try to keep your body weight forward on the balls of your feet and relax your knees (i.e. keep them slightly bent). 

This dance is the same as single swing except that each of the "slows" in single swing is replaced with 3 steps in the "tri-ple-time" rhythm. All the same patterns can be done with this simple adjustment. Even dance position is the same as in single swing.

a. Basic Step

The man's footwork is to step in place with the left foot, then right, then left foot. This is the first "triple time." The second "triple time" is the same but uses the opposite feet. So it begins with the right foot, then the left foot, then the right foot - all stepping in place again. The two "quicks" are exactly the same as single swing: the man steps back on the left foot and then steps with his right foot in place. The woman's basic step is the mirror image of the man's. She steps right, left, right - all in place for the first "triple time". Then she steps left, right, left for the second "triple time". Her two "quicks" are the same as single swing. That is, she steps back on the right foot and steps with the left foot in place for the two "quicks".

b. Under-Arm Release

All leads and degrees of turn and body positioning for this step are the same as previously described in the single swing for both men and women. However, the footwork uses the "tri-ple-time" rhythm as the base rhythm.

c. Woman's Inside Turn

Again, all leads and degrees of turn and body positioning for this step are the same as in single swing. However, the footwork uses the "tri-ple-time" rhythm as the base rhythm.



First:  a few words about Tango dancing.  There are several styles of Tango (“Argentine,” “American,” “International,” etc.) as is the case in many dances.  These style differences could be compared to different dialects of the same language. That is, they are much more alike than different. They all have similar moves, hold, feeling, “drama,” and music, etc.

Most basic moves in American style Tango comprise 8 beats which means that each dance move starts on beat 1 of an 8 beat musical phrase.  This makes keeping the beat easier and gives the dance a more structured feeling both rhythmically and conceptually.

In Argentine Tango, the number of beats in a dance move can vary, and the leader might choose to wait 3, 4, or 5 beats etc. at any time, before starting the next dance step.  Leaders can also pause in the middle of one dance step.  So the timing of Argentine Tango can be quite variable.  In addition, Argentine Tango does not really have a basic step, although most dance teachers create a simple 8 beat pattern to start instruction with.  

For all these reasons, American style Tango is well suited for beginning Tango students. Some basic American Tango patterns are outlined on the next page.  The man usually starts each move going forward on his left foot.  The lady starts usually going back on her right foot.  This is referred to as partners doing “the natural opposite” which results from their facing each other and moving together.  

Note that any reference to the direction of movement in the step description refers to the man's footwork unless otherwise noted. Quicks are always one beat and slows are 2 beats.  So the dance steps described here are 8 or 16 beats each.  (Check it out; do the math!!)    :)  

In Tango, the foot moves first, ahead of the body.  And when walking forward, the heel hits the ground first but when walking back the toe or ball of the foot makes contact with the floor first.    
Description of Beginning Tango Moves

Man starts left; lady starts right.  “Quick” steps last for one beat; “Slows” last two beats. 

Basic   SS QQS or  The final QQS is also called "Tan go close.”
Curved Basic   SS QQS  (It can curve left about 1/8 to 1/4 of a circle)
Walks:  SS SS  4 slows.
Basic Outside Partner   SS QQS (second slow is outside her feet)      
Promenade   SS QQS   (Move at angle 4 beats; then face partner last 4.)
Rocks Going Forward:   QQS QQS Forward, replace, replace-2 times. 
        (This curves L then R.  It can be in place or moving slightly forward.) 
Basic With Rocks:  SS, Rocks Forward for 8 beats, “Tan go close.”  This is
        8 beats of “Rocks” going forward embedded between the first & last
        halves of the basic. So it’s 16 beats total.
Rocks Going Back   QQS QQS same idea.
Stand Still for 4 beats (the first or second halves of the basic), then do the
        other portion of the basic in normal rhythm.

Got it??  (Sure you do!)  Then for fun, try out this routine on the floor..
(It’s 14 sets of 8 beats.)

Basic   SS QQS
Curved Basic  SS QQS  Basic with a curve to left for both leads/follows

Basic Outside Partner  SS QQS  (man steps outside partner on beat 3,

          then returns)

Walks  SS SS (forward 4 slow steps)

Rocks Going Forward   QQS QQS  (forward on 1&5) 

Basic  SS QQS
Basic With Rocks   “S S Rock rock rock, Rock rock rock, Tan go close.” 

          (SS QQS QQS QQS; beats 1,3,5, 6,7,1,2,3,5,6 7)
Basic  SS QQS

Promenade  SS QQS
Basic SS QQS

Rocks Going Back QQS QQS
Still--4 beats; then “Tan go close” which is 4 beats.
Promenade   SS QQS                  


a.  Cupid Shuffle   In this video a hip hop dancer explains how to do the Cupid Shuffle.

To do the cupid shuffle, you do four steps to the right which are done “right, left, right left, right left, right tap. That totals 8 beats.  On the final beat, you don’t put your weight on the left foot so you can start on the left going the opposite direction on the next “beat one.”  
Then you do the same thing but starting on your left and moving to the left (i.e. left right,….etc_.  That also takes 8 beats.  Again you tap on the 8th beat so you can step on your right foot on the next beat one.
Then do four heel steps starting with the right heel.  This means you put your right heel in front on the floor and bring the right foot back under you on the next beat.  Do the same thing on the left, and then repeat on the right then the left.  This takes 8 beats.
Then for 8 beats you turn to your left over the next 8 beats so you are facing the wall that was to your left originally.  You can turn any way you wish… Some people do the “twist” for 8 beats while turning but there is a lot of latitude on how you do this.
Then you repeat facing the new direction and keep doing the dance so you will turn facing all of the walls multiple times in the course of the dance.

b.  Wobble   This is a video done by a guy who I know and who’s a great country dance teacher, Rob Royston.  He explains the Wobble in this video.

To do this dance you jump on beat one going forward and “wiggle” for 3 beats.
Then you jump back on back on beat 5 and wiggle for 3 beats.  So the two together total 8 beats.
Then face to the left and groove with your arms up and moving for 4 beats.  Then do the same thing facing to your right for 4 beats.  So the two together total 8 beats.
Then step forward on the right, back on the left and then step “cha cha cha.”  Then do the same thing starting with the left foot.  This totals 8 beats.
Then you turn 90 degrees to your left.  You can do this any way you want, spread over 8 beats.  Generally, you start on your right and either step on each beat or step on “and one, and two and three and four and five and six and seven and eight.” The latter is done by tapping on the right and then stepping on the right, and tapping on the left and stepping on the left, etc.  A tap is when your foot touches the ground but you aren’t putting your weight on that foot.
After turning 90 degrees, you repeat the whole pattern facing the new wall and keep doing this and turning till the end of the song.

c.  Electric Slide This has people doing electric slide to unusual country music but the instruction at the start of the video is well explained.
You go to the right for 4 beats, then go left for 4 beats.
Then go back for 4 beats.
Then lean in and tap, lean back and tap—totaling 4 beats.
Then you take just 2 beats to turn to your left.  This may feel rhythmically odd since everything else is done in sets of 4 beats.  I think it is slightly confusing to experienced dancers as it puts you starting your next pattern in the middle of a musical measure.  But that is how the dance is done.
You repeat the pattern facing the new wall and keep doing this, turning to the next wall until the music ends.

d.  Cha cha slide   

clap hands up high
go left      4 beats
step back     4 beats
music says hop, but most people jump (hop is on one foot; jump is on two feet)      4 beats
stomp right foot     4 beats
stomp left foot     4 beats
right left cha cha cha      4 beats
left right cha cha cha      4 beats
turn left and move left in 4 beats and then you are repeating the pattern but altering what you do based on the singer’s instructions.

You just follow what the song tells you to do. The pattern alters as you go through the song unlike the other line dances.
Note that criss cross means you cross one foot in front of the other.  
For hands on your knees you lean over and do that with the knees moving in and out!
When he says do Charlie Brown, you just step forward and back, leaning forward and back respectively.
When he says to reverse, you turn around.
With these ingredients, you can do the dance following the music’s directions!        

8. Folk Dances

a. Horah
Step to the left on your left foot and kick the right foot.
Step to the right on your right foot and kick the left foot.
Step to the left with left foot and bring right foot behind the left.
It’s that easy. But the music often gets faster and faster so as you keep repeating this sequence, the steps get to be more like jumps or hops. This is a celebratory Israeli dance—done routinely at Jewish weddings and bar or bat mitzvahs.

b. Erev Ba      This video explains the steps This video shows what the dance looks like done by a group
This dance is a line dance with a sequence that repeats until the music is over. It’s a soft, beautiful Israeli dance and this one does not speed up.

It’s not easy to describe in words so the video of the dancing is perhaps the easiest way to learn this dance.  Nonetheless, below is a written description of the dance.

Each pattern is 8 beats.  On every beat you either take a step putting full weight onto the appropriate foot, or you simply stay where you are for a “pause.”

In quotes and italics at the end of each pattern, I have put the words that I chant when teaching this dance.  That won’t make sense to anyone unless they have learned the dance from me!  So don’t spend time puzzling that out if you haven’t danced Erev Ba with me….  But for those who have, those words will hopefully be helpful in recalling the step sequence!


Pattern 1:  Start on R (right) foot moving to the right.  Go forward on L, then replace the right where it was, and step to the left with the left foot.  Then face left and step forward with the right foot, bring the left to the right, and step forward again with the right.  Hold on beat 8 (i.e. no step on beat 8).
"Right forward back side step together step hold"

Pattern 2:  Grapevine to the right starting on your left foot.  So it’s left foot behind the right foot, right foot steps to the side, left foot steps in front of right foot, right foot steps to the side, left foot behind the right foot, right steps to the side, left foot crosses in front of right foot.  That is 7 steps occuring on each of 7 beats.  Then on beat 8 you again “pause” (don’t step).
“back side front side back side front hold”

Repeat Pattern 1

Repeat Pattern 2

Pattern 3:  Turn in 3 steps (R, L, R) and then step forward on left moving in to your right. Step back on the right. Step on left to face the middle of the circle. Step on the right moving to the left and step back on the right.
“Turn a round, forward back side forward back”

Repeat Pattern 3

Pattern 4:  Face so your right shoulder is toward the center and move into the center….Starting on the right, take 6 steps and then two final steps.
"Up down up down up down step step"

Pattern 5: Take 4 steps to the side to move away from the center of the circle.  The final 4 beats are stepped R, L, R, L and you start facing to the left and go forward then back, and turn on beats 7 and 8.
“Down up down up forward back turn turn"

This is the entire dance sequence and then you keep repeating the dance until the music ends.