The Truth About True Country Dancing

Man and woman country dancing in ArizonaI’m going to be really blunt for a second…

True Country is not a social dance.

Okay, I said it. Now, before you get angry and stop reading, I will clarify: True Country is fun, acrobatic, and is done to music. It takes skill to perform the lifts and dips, there are plenty of spins, and it looks like dance. I love to see it in performance, when it has been practiced and perfected between two skilled partners… But that does not make it a social partner dance.

I bring this up because True Country has become a huge trend throughout the Country Dance world, especially in Arizona. We at Dance FX Studios have had countless numbers of new students come in asking to learn True Country, but to be completely honest, it scares me. I’ve seen many girls dropped, hit, and injured because guys tried “cool moves” they learned on Youtube. There are plenty of moves out there, but they aren’t always successful when attempting True Country because:

There is no set structure or rhythm.

Can you tell me the basic of True Country? What is the standard rhythm that one follows? There is no answer. Country Swing is slow-slow-quick-quick and Arizona Two Step is quick-quick-slow-tap-slow-tap. Why does that matter, you ask? Without some kind of standardized structure or rhythm, there is no way for partners to properly communicate. If there is no set rhythm for dancers to follow together, they have no way of knowing who is on what foot and when.

True Country doesn’t follow the beat of the music.

The other reason rhythm is so important in partner dance? It keeps you with the music, of course! Music gives you your timing and helps keep partners together with an audible beat to follow. Because there isn’t a set rhythm, dancers tend to ignore the music completely. Dance at its core is the physical embodiment of musical interpretation. If you ignore the music, you’re just moving.

There is no lead or follow.

If you can’t tell what beat or what foot your partner is on, how can you know when the most comfortable time to turn your girl is? You can’t. The majority of social True Country dancers aren’t guiding their partners, but rather they are throwing them. Without training, True Country doesn’t ask for an equal partnership where the man leads and the woman interprets and follows. Instead, women are simply flung from place to place.

What it all boils down to is this: True Country is a performance. Like any acrobatic routine, it is exactly that – a routine. True Country can be really cool to look at when the couple has already planned each and every move. If not, it’s sloppy at its best and dangerous at its worst. Your best bet is to learn what we at Dance FX Studios are now calling “Real Country.” Learn Two Step or Country Swing the right way, so you can lead or follow without having to throw or be thrown. I promise, it’s a lot more fun (and safe) to do turns and twists to the music and with some technique under your belt. If you’re in the greater Pheonix area, come check out our studio in Mesa. Located just off the 60 and the 101, we’re minutes away from Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Gilbert. Join us for our group classes starting up in September or try an introductory private dance lesson. We can get you dancing comfortably and safely while looking cool on the floor in no time!

Not in Arizona? We’ve gotcha covered. We’ll be uploading instructional Real Country videos to our Youtube page soon, so you can get your dance on wherever you are!

Contact us to begin your dancing journey…


Private dance lessons are available by appointment Monday-Friday from 12-8 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am-3 pm. For more information, call us today at 480.968.6177.