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– Slow Two Step

Presented B y D a n & S a n d i F i n c h

JUNE 2010

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.