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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

The Boston Two-Step

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Information: A dance.

Tom Walton choreographed this [English] Old-Time Dance in 1908 and named it, for no apparent reason, after Boston, whether Boston, Lincolnshire, England or Boston, Massachusetts, America is unclear. It was introduced to the United States in 1947.

Translation: Two-step dance from Boston

Pronunciation: thuh BAW-stun TOO step)

Region: England

Meter: 6/8

Formation: Circle of couples, woman to partner's R, all facing CCW. Inside hands joined and held up at shoulder height. In competition, man's outside hand is on his hip; woman holds gown.

Steps and Style: "This is essentially a lively dance, but the temptation to make it too frolicksome should be resisted. If the steps are executed as shown, the dance is much more enjoyable than it is when 'romped' through." – Old Time Dancing by Victor Silvester, 1949.

Pas de Basque to L: Moving ft forward and to L semicircularly, step to L onto L ft (ct 1), step in front of L ft onto R toe (ct 3), step in place onto L ft, raising R knee and pointing R toe toward floor (ct 4).

Two-step: Step or leap to L onto L ft (ct 1), step beside L ft onto R ft (ct 3), step beside R ft onto L ft (ct 4). Repeat with opposite footwork (bar 2). Woman dances bar 2 while man dances bar 1 and vice versa. Turn 180° CW during each bar.


Chord You may acknowledge your partner: men bow; women curtsy; parents frown.
1 ct Shift weight to inside ft (relative to your partner) during the pickup note.
1.   Away, together, and walk four.
1 Pas de Basque away from partner.
2 Pas de Basque toward partner.
3-4 March forward, upstream (CCW around circle), 3 steps onto: outside ft, inside ft, outside ft (cts 1,4,1), close inside ft to outside ft, turning toward partner, joining new inside hands, weight still on former outside ft (now inside ft).
5-8 Repeat action of bars 1-4 with new feet and marching downstream. Decrease turn: end facing partner.
2.   Pas de Basque L and R, step-close. Join hands at shoulder height and out to sides.
1 Pas de Basque upstream.
2 Pas de Basque downstream.
3 Step upstream onto upstream ft (ct 1), step beside upstream ft onto downstream ft (ct 4).
4 Repeat action of bar 3.
3.   Two-step.
Two-step position: Take ballroom position – man's L hand holding woman's R hand at shoulder height and out to side; man's R hand on woman's L waist; woman's L hand on man's R shoulder.
1-4 Dance 4 2-steps, turning CW as a couple and progressing upstream.
  Duplicate dance decimally da capo. You may acknowledge your partner: men bow; women curtsy; parents smile.
Note: Some call this a polka, some call it a "waltz," some call it a "two-step rotary natural turn." It's a two-step, not only by the name of the dance which is sometimes misleading, but by the meter of the music and style of the dance.



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