What are the 8 competitive Country Dances?

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Here is a list of the eight competitive country dances along with my basic descriptions for each one. I’ve put them in the order they are danced in UCWDC competition for Pro-am, Pro-Pro, and Couples competition categories.

Be sure to sign in with the floor coordinator at least a half-hour before your event. It is also recommended that you attend music warm-ups before your event, so you can practice with your partner on the floor to phrased competition country songs in the order they will be danced.

Note: The Masters (professional) categories dance in a different order, in two flights…one flight for the four smooth dances and one for the four rhythm dances. Masters’ first flight of slow or andante dances includes: Waltz, Nightclub, Triple Two, and West Coast Swing. Their second flight of fast or allegro dances includes: Two Step, Cha-Cha, Polka, and East Coast Swing. 

1. Triple Two

This is the newest of all the UCWDC competition dances. Triple Two is a slow, smooth dance that uses chasses and French cross footwork. It’s a progressive dance that travels around the line of dance. (The “line of dance” is an imaginary circular path that runs counter clockwise in every ballroom.) Like Waltz, Triple Two is stylized with soft spotting, curved sway, and smooth shaping.

2. Polka

 This is a fast-paced, upbeat rhythm dance that really gets the crowd stomping and clapping. Some call it “East Coast Swing on wheels.” I view it as a combination of East Coast Swing and Two Step. Polka has a lilt and is stylized with hard spotting and high energy. Polka travels around the line of dance.

3. Nightclub Two Step

 This is a slow, smooth dance with a basic timing of: slow, quick, quick. Nightclub is more of a stationary dance that is stylized with smooth shaping, like Waltz. Strong eye connection and emotional connection to your partner are recommended for this romantic dance style. Dave Getty used to say that the audience should feel like voyeurs when watching Nightclub.

4. Cha-Cha

This stationary Latin rhythm dance is very similar to the American style Cha-Cha commonly seen at ballroom events, but done to slower tempo country music. Cuban motion on rock steps and twisting actions on chasses are ideal. Stylings should be sharp, with fast, hard spotting on spins. Turn out of the feet and toe leads are characteristic of Cha-Cha.

5. Waltz

Waltz is a progressive, slow, smooth dance with ¾ timing that travels around the line of dance. Women usually wear long, full skirts for this dance. The patterns can be similar to those of Silver or Gold level Ballroom Waltzes, and stylized like American Style Smooth, with soft spotting and going in and out of closed and open dance position. Dancers should showcase rise and fall, swing and sway, and heel, toe, toe footwork danced in a parallel foot position. Try to accent the rise and hover action on beat 2 of the music.

6. Two Step

Two Step is a fast, progressive dance with a basic timing of quick, quick, slow, slow. There should be an emphasis or slight pause at the end of every 2nd slow beat. Two step contains weaved patterns with lots of spinning and walking. This is one of the fundamental country dances!

7. East Coast Swing

This is a stationary, fast dance that uses rock steps and chasses for triple rhythm swing. Lilt and a pendulum swing of the hips are used on basic chasses. East Coast Swing is very similar to the American Rhythm Ballroom style of swing but done to slower country music. High energy and pumping action of the knees will help accent the downward compression of this dance.

8. West Coast Swing

The 8th and final dance on the list is the ever-popular West Coast Swing. Some couples have a choreographed routine, while some choose to dance improv lead and follow during this competition dance. West Coast Swing is a smooth, stationary dance with slotted patterns. Emphasis should be on the back-beat. Clean basics, including the sugar push and whip, are typical for this dance.

About the author:
Devorah Kastner is a contributing writer for CountryDancePros.com. She has been a professional dance instructor for the past 15 years. Based out of Arizona, she teaches group classes and private lessons in all styles of partner dance. She has built a successful Pro-am business and enjoys sharing her  experience and knowledge to help others get started!

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