Country and Western > Differing Versions of Nite Club 2Step Has Me Frustrated - Thanks UCWDC!

Discussion in 'Country and Western' started by Generalist, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    In my area there are two versions of Nite Club Two Step that are taught.

    Version 1: Almost all local studios teach Buddy Schwimmer's version, with the exception that most of us start on the slow instead of the q-q.

    Version 2: Competitors at UCWDC events are being required to learn a different version that replaces the rock step q-q with a crossover step.Supposedly the UCWDC renamed the dance to "Nite Club" instead of "Night Club Two Step" to differentiate their dance from the one most commonly done.

    Unfortunately these dances don't mix too well -- especially if I dance with a lady who is heavily involved in UCWDC competitions. These ladies are very head strong because they don't want to change their style, which may compromise their competitions. When I dance with these ladies most of them are not willing (or able) to correctly follow me. It feels to me like they are breaking my frame, so I try to hold them back, which makes them try to force their way out of my frame. It starts to feel more like wrestling than dancing. :vulcan:

    Our timing and rhythm never feels good because I perceive that they are rushing the q-q and they think I'm strong arming them. So, dancing with these ladies is an unpleasant experience that I try to avoid.

    I usually only have this problem when dancing with UCWDC competition dancers. Most other ladies can adjust to my style even if they learned to dance at the UCWDC. Somehow these ladies learn to hold back on the crossover so that it feels like a rock step, or perhaps these ladies were trained in both versions so they start doing a rock step to follow me (Yes -- some ladies actually follow!).

    This is not a trivial problem and goes beyond social dancing. I am reluctant to attend UCWDC workshops because I know what they want to teach and I don't want my dance corrupted by it. I have decided not to do their competitions because I have been assured by judges I have asked that I will have no chance of doing good if I use Buddy's footwork.Sure, they have other dances besides NC2S but my attitude has really soured on this organization.

    I see no reason why the UCWDC mandated this new dance when they must have known that it would be very disruptive for social dancing.

    Does anybody know the how's and why's when the UCWDC changed NC2S?
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I've had a similar experience. In fact what you've written clarifies the situation. And, the woman that didn't want to confuse herself because there was a comp coming up will never be confused by me for sure. So, I raise you one, not only not going to their events, but by not asking somoene with that attitude to dance. They are in a distinct minority where I dance, thankfully.

    Organizers who pull this stuff are serving only themselves, and doing a disservice to the larger dance commumity. Just think of the potential ego rush of having all those people do YOUR dance, and not the one everyone else does / used to do. The people who drink the koolaid, have their own rewards, I guess.

    The cowboy/honky tonk/redneck hand on the shoulder thing, I was told years ago, was something else that was not "approved" for competition, but was taught by my early teachers, nevertheless.
    Is it any wonder that "country western" competition dancers look like ballroom competition dancers?

    Sadly, it looks like West Coast Swing is headed in same direction with people collecting points. Argentine Tango seems to be one of the few "popular" dances left that hasn't been "organized" to any great extent.

    I can't answer your question, because I pay zero attention to "organized dance" and its heirarchy. But I sure enjoyed the chance to vent.

    And, BTW, I will once again mention the book "Glamour Addiction - Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry" as a good read for someone dealing with this situaiton.

    And, just wondering where you are located.
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    It's funny how things work out some times. A friend has been after me to go to a monthly dance, and I stopped by there last night. Turns out that the organizers are both involved with UCWDC, so I asked them about this. There was too much information for me to get it all. I hope to hear from them in the future, but in the meantime...
    I didn't get a date as to when they implemented their policy, but it had to do with whether the music was slow or fast, and which faction: ballroom, swing, country, was doing the dance.
    A couple of the women I talked to, who both wre familiar with UCWDC, said they could dance either version. After watching a short demo of the cross over step, in the place of the rock step, it seems to me that the otherwise "premature" sideways movement of the cross step can be compensated for by either partner with a rotation of the torso. This is something done quite commonly in Argentine Tango, and I've even used the torso rotation in place of a step in Nite Club (the one with the rock step!).

    Botton line is if you want to be in their world...

    I'll update if I hear from them because I tried to make it clear that I couldn't retain everything I was told. I mentioned DF a couple times and it would be cool if we heard from them directly.
  4. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    Steve --- I will be very interested to see what information you come up with. I have asked people heavily involved in the country scene in the Phoenix area but they don't seem to have a clue. They are almost in a total state of denial.

    I have discussed this problem with several well known country instructors. They have never mentioned a torso adjustment. About all they can suggest is to learn both styles.

    My feelings on learning the new Nite Club is really mixed. I enjoy learning new dances but I am not too excited about spending time to learn a version of the dance that to me looks ugly. I believe it is the follow's responsibility to learn how to adjust to me as long as what I am doing is true to the form of the dance. Furthermore I feel resentful that an organization such as UCWDC makes an arbitrary decision that costs me time and money to learn their version of the dance. The only saving grace is that so far the local studios aren't teaching the UCWDC style, so the number of ladies that can't follow me are a small minority of the available dance population.

    Steve, your research is greatly appreciated!
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Hey, I love this stuff as much as the individual I talked to last night who was djing. I actually felt a bit of remorse about how I feel about it after talking to him, because he is so well informed and sincere.
    I got the feeling that those two gals I talked to would tell all the other women that it would be good to learn to dance both versions, as you say, adapting to the lead. But then, that sort of ups the skill level requirement, and heck, you won't "advance" in the competition by doing that.

    One thing I won't compromise on, though, is my old skool red neck two step with my hand on your shoulder. Now, you wanna do your citified "country western" two step? I'm not your guy.

    (which is kind of hilarious because I've been told that I don't look country when I two step, but I don't point my toes or throw my arm out or up to "create a line" etc and those people can't explain why I don't look "country")

    I'm going to take a look at "Pablo Stories," where the author was big on competitions and organizing to see if that sheds any light.
    Hey, it's my hobby, and, I'll say again, I love it! (and it's really cool when someone actually cares!)
  6. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I am not sure I follow all the concern? The amount of crossover is related to how slow the song is and how big you want to make your dance. Slow song with lots of space - a couple can use a big crossover and fill the whole dance floor. Faster song with a crowded floor - the crossover just shrinks to look like a rock step. They aren't different dances just different ways to fill the time between beats.

    I think Michael Kiehm among others has been instrumental in adapting the dance to music that emphasizes the down beat vs the swing version that continues the west coast swing emphasis on the up beat.
  7. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    If one partner is doing rock steps, and the other crossovers, it feels like two different dances. Most of the ladies I have danced with that do crossovers are very stubborn and insistent that the crossovers should be very big -- regardless of music speed. Around my area they teach these dancers to take a bigger crossover if the music is slow. So guess what -- a UCWDC dancer here is not going to dance well with somebody from your area!

    Some experienced follows shrink the crossover when they sense they are breaking frame with a guy that is rock stepping. It helps the problem but the connection never feels right - it's squishy.
  8. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I guess I have two thoughts.

    First, if your frame is solid, you should be able to define where she goes including how far the crossover moves. She should just fill in to your frame.

    Second, I have always been taught to make my dance as large as possible and then shrink it as floor space requires. So you might actually find that adding a crossover just doubles the potential of the dance.

    Either way, being willing to just smile if there is a miscommunication seems key to having fun.
  9. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    With many of these women the more solid I make my frame the more they try to wrestle out of it. They probably think I'm bullying them when in reality I'm just trying to do as you suggest. I have found that it is futile to make my frame solid if I feel the lady resisting.

    Many times I am doing nite club on crowded floors so making the dance large isn't practical. It doesn't matter however, because no matter how long I make my stride, a lady that is making a crossover can outrun me if I rock step.

    In summary I have tried both ideas you have suggested and neither one works.[/quote]
  10. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    For clarity- the hand over the shoulder- is this right? 1 Follower's right hand in the leader's left as usual. Follower's left hand on leader's right bicep (shoulder, loosely translated)- Leader's right hand under the follower's forearm but over the upper arm on the follower's shoulder?

    I ask, because I've seen OLD-Old-schoolers do this, and I thought at first they were scared of their front parts touching my front parts because cooties, not that it was actually a thing. I've been curious for ages. About the hand position, not cooties.
    SciGuy likes this.
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    First want to point out that we aren't talking nite club two step.


    "They can assume basic closed-dance position or a modification called a Texas-style hold...the man places his R hand on her L shoulder."
    Social Dance 1985 Schild

    One variation is for the woman to hook her thumb into one of the man's belt loops. This works really well if you want to stay in closed position all the time.

    Most of the books that were written around the time of "Urban Cowboy," when discos across the country turned into coutnry western dance places, include this in their description of "two step." Texas style got the most attention, and was the most taught version because "Urban Cowboy" was filmed in Texas.
    One 1979 book called it "country style." In 1983 one author called it "Closed Texas."
    A gal from Chicago exclaimed, "Oh, you do red neck style!" when I danced with her a few years ago.

    Just like swing, though, there were several to many ways to dance "two step," until it became a national competition item, and therefore, standardized.

    One of my favorite things is apilado style Argentine Tango, so no problems with a subset of front parts touching. If you do that at a CW place, people will think you and your partner are a couple.

    Think I wrote this already, but I just think it's sad that the "next generation" of instructors (and even one book I could name) don't acknowledge some of this stuff.

    Mark Twain - "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."

    BTW I may be qualified as an OLD-Old-schooler, but am probably more of just an Old-schooler! But then, Fake ID is now my favorite line dance, if I can do the phrased version.
  12. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Regarding the NC 2 Step hand positions. I think the critical piece is the man's right hand on the lady's shoulder blade. So much of the lead in this dance comes from a solid frame with the right arm.

    The left arm isn't critical if it is held low like a swing dance hold or high like a 2 step hold. Both work and I pick the one that matches how the music feels. After the first basic, I move it to lead the turns and it really doesn't matter.
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Had a long talk with a couple of UCWDC dancers last night, and what I came away with was that the two different versions involve slow vs fast, "glide" vs rock step. They used the terms "smooth" and rhythm(ic?) to differentiate between the two versions.

    According to them, you won't hear a fast song for nite club at a UCWDC comp.

    Anyone care to find an example of their (UCWDC) music or a performance?

    PS They seemed to agree that there aren't a whole lot of "country" people at those events.
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    And since UCWDC is the topic here, can someone explain this one?

    In the Swing & Country Ballroom, we’ll begin at 9:00 pm and play a mix of country music and swing music (real swing…not “country swing”).
  15. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Unless one can train one's body and mind to switch modes and do "one" NC2S with two timing variations, one should just look at this as two entirely different dances, Smooth NC2S and Rhythm NC2S. Not much different from Salsa-on-1/Salsa-on-2/Mambo, International-Rumba/American-Rumba(SQQ or QQS versions)/Bolero, or plenty of other similar-but-different "dances." Just as followers may "learn" to adapt to different modes/timings used by leaders, good leaders can learn to adapt to different modes/timings of the dance flavors. The key to all this is learning how to count religiously and understand what the "basic" movements of the dance entails. Oftentimes, the "optimal" timing vs. movement of a dance is really not what is "advertised" by strict counting.

    If you are doing a competition, of course you are there to please the judges and agree to abide by the rules and criteria of the comp. Otherwise, don't bother entering.
    Bradamant likes this.
  16. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Try these:
    Lady Antebellum - Heart of the World -

    UCWDC Music List - UCWDC Competition Music Year End 2013.pdf
    Each puts emphasis on the down beat. So the slow matches the emphasized beat. That means SQQ probably fits better. The slow 50-60 bpm tempo means there is a lot of time to fill. The crossover step helps fill the time.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  17. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    For some reason the board would only allow one Youtube in a post. So here is a second example.

    Vince Gill - Go Rest High On That Mountain -
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    First, I'm say that one thing that marks the better dancers is when they can fully use that long time period between "beats" and weight changes, moving smoothly throughout. I run into this mostly in AT.

    Take a look at the sheet music for this song

    I hear the first "emphsized beat" when the lyrics start happening on the word "cans." Also in the 4th bar, on the syllable "caught."

    Kayak, thanks for the examples.
  19. Bradamant

    Bradamant Member

    Perhaps I can help shed some light on this (as I was myself very much in need of enlightenment when I moved from the West Coast to a country music/dance saturated area.)

    The first time I heard a smooth nightclub song at a ballroom dance party, my eyebrows beetled in consternation. A less-experienced dance friend asked what dance would be done to the music just starting, and I said, "It sounds like a really, reaaaaaally slow NC2-step." Then I saw people dancing both the version I was long familiar with and something I'd never seen before. The ones dancing the familiar version, frankly, looked ridiculous. They looked awkward, like they were dancing in slow motion, their feet sunk in 8 inches of molasses. The ones dance the "weird" version looked much better, but at the time I wasn't curious enough to follow up on it. Honestly, country music makes me wince at the best of times, so I just ignored it all while I waited for the funky WCS up next.

    Fast forward a little bit to me realizing I needed to bow to geographical pressure and finally learn some country dances. I enrolled in a teacher training course that would specifically cover the eight competition dances for the country comp circuit. My teacher was a fabulous teacher - extensively trained and accomplished in International standard and Latin, she moved on to country and became so proficient she is also now a judge. I was quite fortunate that she had the background she did, because I needed her to "translate" a lot into "International" for me. It was a fantastic experience and I came away much the richer for it. (I still find country music nauseating, but I can deal now. Ha!) So, the following is what I picked up. It may not be totally correct. Any errors are not the fault of my teacher, one of the best I've ever had, but entirely mine as I was struggling in the beginning stages of being "bilingual."

    The competition country dances are roughly divided into the smooth and rhythm categories just as American style is, e.g. Two Step (not Nightclub) is rhythm while Triple Two is smooth. This (at times arguable and less than absolute division - like, is Paso truly a Latin dance? sort of ambiguity) is down to technique: use of the feet, initiating movement from the upper vs. lower center, etc., etc.

    Just as Buddy Schwimmer wanted a dance for partner dancers that would fit the love ballads of the time, the country dancers wanted a dance to fit their love ballads. While a song like Lady in Red is about 78 bpm (I believe), the usual country love ballads are about 55-65 bpm. Obviously, that's a huge difference, and they are very different kinds of music best suited to different movements.

    Schwimmer's is definitely a rhythm-descended dance. Country nightclub, on the other hand, is a smooth dance. Smooth nightclub is replete with heel leads, sway, promenade/counter-promenade, and initiating movement from the lower center.

    I feel strongly (as did my coach) that they are truly two different dances, not just two versions of the same dance. (Thinking that way lies madness - as I can attest to personally. Madness!) Once I wrapped my head around that, life became much easier. And of course, there is that accent on the downbeat vs. upbeat mentioned above. Though I have to admit, I've run into plenty of 80bpm songs that cause me to move the "slow" over in order that I feel I'm interpreting the music in the best way possible, so, really, in the end, the most important thing to me is the tempo.

    The only thing that annoys/amuses me is that the country dancers have taken to calling the rhythm Nightclub two-step "California Two-Step" and the smooth Nightclub just Nightclub. I refer to them as "The Real Nightclub Two Step" vs. "Country Nightclub" to razz 'em right back.

    If I were too stubborn to do a (smooth) Nightclub when the music is 55bpm, or too stubborn to do a (rhythm) Nightclub Two-step when the music is 75-80bpm, then I'd have to call myself narrow and not, perhaps, the best dancer I could and should and want to be.
    chuck4788 likes this.
  20. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Thank you for this explanation!

    (I can almost guarantee that one or more people will disagree with one or more aspects of what you have said, just because that is the nature of a large forum, but as a ballroom dancer trying to learn country, it is a very helpful perspective.)

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