A FEW NOTES ON SLOW TWO STEP
Presented B y D a n & S a n d i F i n c h
Slow Two Step is a way to dance to those wonderful love ballads that
don’t quite feel like any other rhythm, the alternative to the slow
dance you did as teenagers with arms around each other,
clutching and swaying back and forth without moving from
the spot. It originated in 1965 with Buddy Schwimmer,
then a 15-year-old from Whitaker, IL, who didn’t like
the teenager’s clutch version of slow dance. Coming from a family
of competitive dancers, Buddy and his sister decided to find a way to
“dance” to that listening music, and they created the dance form
that has become our slow two step. Buddy grew up and opened a dance
studio in Costa Mesa, CA, and began successfully competing and
coaching all over the world, teaching his dance form as he went.
The rhythm has evolved into two versions: Buddy’s version is called
Night Club Two Step, and is danced as cross behind, recover, then side
with quick, quick, slow,-; timing. Round dancing adopted the second
version, more like bolero, starting with a side step on a slow count,
then cross behind, recover as quick, quick. (Slow Two Step, unlike
bolero, is danced flat, without rise and fall.) Bill and Carol Goss
introduced slow two step (ST) into round dancing at the 1991
Roundarama Institute with the advanced dance, Evergreen. They had
seen the rhythm at the studio where they practiced and “thought it was
time to introduce a new rhythm to round dancing,” Bill has explained.
Evergreen was written by Michael Kiehm, a San Diego, CA,
ballroom instructor. The Gosses followed that up in February 1992
with their own choreography, Even Now, a phase IV slow two step, and
they brought out another Kiehm advanced dance, Are You Still Mine,
for URDC in the summer of 1992. Rachel’s Song, written soon after by Bill
and Helen Stairwalt, became a RAL classic. Adeline revived interest in
advanced ST when released by Kenji and Nobuko Shibata in 2000.
In 2007, the Gosses gave us a taste of night club two step and its faster
tempo with You’re Beautiful. ST is one of our newer rhythms in round
dancing, coming into the RAL Manual of Round Dance Standards
in 1993 with several experimental figures. Figures begin in phase III.
The manual currently has only one advanced figure, the triple traveler
in phase V. Advanced choreography consists of many unphased figures and
figures borrowed from other rhythms.