The Nightclub Two-Step is a standard dance for contemporary music. The dance is mostly performed to mid-tempo ballads in 4/4 time with a quick-quick-slow beat. The Nightclub Two-Step is naturally suited for partner dancing, and it’s performed often in ballrooms, weddings and night clubs. This dance is the perfect accompaniment to the beats of medium-slow popular music, and creates a relaxing atmosphere among dancers and spectators. Most importantly, it is calm and gentle.

Nightclub Two-Step is one of our specialty dances at Arthur Murray Dance Studios. The dance is actually easy and playful, and we dance it to many pop songs. Its patterns resemble those of Salsa, except that its style is much smoother and slower. Wedding couples make a big portion of our students for this dance, partly because of its good tempo for slower romantic ballads. The Nightclub Two-Step is one of many dances that have kept us in the spotlight as leading ballroom dance trainers, and we continue to have spaces available for new students.

Understanding Nightclub Two-Step

The Nightclub Two-Step is a dance performed to slow tempo music, and consists of whole beat steps and ball flats. It incorporates long sweeping movements, and a slight lilt that moves the dancer laterally. Some variants use progressive patterns that enable a dancer to move around the floor, which differs from the spot nature of the dance. It finds its way into the playlists of other dance venues more often than any other dance genre, including: Swing venues, ballroom venues and Country Western competitions and venues. At Arthur Murray Dance Studios, we offer dance lessons in Nightclub Two-Step as part of our Night Club Dance Program and include it at most of our dance parties.

Our Nightclub Two-Step instructors feature a smooth, flowing form and incorporate all the latest movements into the Dance Time brand of the dance. Our instructors in different dance styles continuously share ideas on how to improve each individual dance. This calls for a lot of collaboration, and featuring of the Nightclub Two-Step in other events like West Coast Swing dance parties and Ballroom & Latin dance parties, and vice versa. This helps our students learn to network with other dance studios and instructors, which in turn helps their craft.

Just How Did Nightclub Two-Step Come About?

The Nightclub Two-Step is a contemporary form of the “Two-Step” which was developed in 1965 by a 15-year-old teen, Buddy Schwimmer from Whitaker, Illinois. Buddy was doing a line dance called “Surfer Stomp” which was based on two steps and a stomp. This worked well with fast music, except for the footwork which was too slow for medium and slow tempo songs. Dance instructors changed the timing, and changed the “Surfer Stomp” from a line dance to a partner dance. This gave birth to the dance called “Two Step”. It was Buddy who opened the first studio to teach Nightclub Two-Step later in 1978.

Like all dances, the Nightclub Two-Step has several renditions resulting from the many changes and interpretations to the parent genre – in this case, the “Two Step”. It inherited the original “Two Step” footwork: “Rock, In place, Side” (quick-quick-slow). Country Western dancers have also adopted the dance and included it in their competitions. Out of this adoption, the dance has been “ballroomized” into a dance called “Ballroom Two-Step” whose basic footwork is “Side, Cross Behind, In place” (slow-quick-quick). This is a complete reversal of the Nightclub Two-Step footwork. At Arthur Murray Dance Studios, we emphasize originality of the style, but also update our curriculum to incorporate relevant developments.

What Is The Nightclub Two-Step?


The Nightclub Two-Step basic step is counted as one & two – three & four and the dance’s position has a more relaxed hold. The moves begin with the lead rocking back on his left foot, and the follow on her right for one beat. Dancers maintain a gentle but noticeable resistance during the “rock step”. On the second part of the first beat, both dancers replace their weight. On the second beat, the lead takes a step to the left, and the follow to the right. Then both dancers repeat the steps, but on opposite feet.

Remember to match the quick rock with the quick drum beats in the music. The “slow” drum beat and slow step can occur on either the second and fourth, or the first and third beats of a measure. Some renditions will adapt slightly different rhythm interpretations, including breaks, but the basic footwork is the norm with original Nightclub Two-Step.

A slightly different pattern usually followed is the side-cross-side move. In this pattern, the lead starts the move by stepping to the side with his left foot and then crosses in front with his right foot. Then another step to the side with the left foot follows. The rhythm here is quick-quick-slow. The follow does the same thing, but starts with their right foot, both partners crossing in front.

Welcome To Arthur Murray Studios

Our Arthur Murray Dance Studios are the ideal place to learn the Nightclub Two-Step dance in Southern California. This is one of the specialized dances that we teach, and training in our studios tends to be individualized. If you are looking ahead to a forthcoming wedding, don’t panic! We have been doing this for years. Leave everything to our able instructors, and they will get you dancing in no time. We tailor your coaching program according to the skill of your bride and/or bridegroom and his/her personality, setting you up for a jig-saw fit with each other.

Pay us a visit, and see why our studios have such a rich history in the area of dance instruction. Call us to schedule your first lesson.


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