Should You Learn Country Swing or Two Step?

Both are great dances for different reasons. A lot depends on your local dance scene or where you plan to dance? Read on to learn which is right for you.

Country Swing Cuddle Move

Which Should I Learn?

Country Swing or Two Step

People often mistakenly request two step lessons not knowing the difference between two step and country swing. Many people have never heard of country swing. They don’t realize many people who say they are doing two step, are actually doing country swing with two step as just a move within their country swing. The bulk of their dancing, the REALLY FUN part of their dancing, with the turns, dips and tricks, is actually country swing.

That’s what we teach most and recommend to everyone, especially those with no rhythm. In our 4-week course, we teach two-step as a move, since it’s important to learn if you plan to dance every week, it’s just a minor part and probably doesn’t need to be the first thing most people learn. 

Many people just want to learn some form of country dancing while on vacation in Nashville. I mean, it’s Music City, the home of country music, of course you want to learn country dancing while here! Our opinion is that country swing should be your choice. It is a far more functional dance and can be used the rest of your life, at more places, to any style of music.

All that being said, we teach both, compete in both and travel the country doing workshops in both, so we enjoy both. Not going to lie though, we LOVE country swing and think it is THE dance everyone should learn, especially if they just want to have fun and look good doing it with just a single lesson.

Where Can You Do The Dances?

Two step requires a large dance floor or race track style floor where you can make your way around the outside. Bars in Nashville simply don’t have that much space, and neither do most local bars.

On the other hand, country swing can be performed in a space of about 4′ x 4′ which you can find at most places. That makes it perfect to use at bars, weddings, night clubs or dance halls. You can always use country swing no matter where you are dancing.

Which is Easier and More Fun?

Country swing is more fun and easier to learn in our opinion. You can have your partner spinning and dipping in one lesson whereas for most people, it’ll take several lessons to get the basics down and learn some turns with two step.

The best part for most beginners is that neither partner needs to have rhythm with country swing in order to look great and have a good time.  In addition, country swing doesn’t require any particular style of music or particular beat. So again, you can use it anywhere.


Are They The Same Dance?

No, they are technically two different dances. However, some places use the terms two step and country swing interchangeably. The reason is because some folks do country swing as part of two step, or two step as part of country swing. At Turn Their Heads, we teach two step as just one of over 20 moves in our 4-week country swing course. For us, it’s just one of the many things you do while doing country swing. It isn’t THE the thing you do such as when doing two step as the primary dance like in ballroom dancing.

So in reality, if you saw a couple dancing to country music and the guy was spinning his partner around and they were having lots of fun, you were probably watching country swing. Sure, the lead may have thrown in two step for a few seconds, but if there were lots of turns and moves and they were essentially staying in one spot, they were most likely doing country swing.

Bar Room vs Ballroom

Another distinction to make is whether you want to dance in a ballroom and look prim and proper, or whether you want to dress however you want and have a good time, relaxing and dancing.

If a ballroom is your thing, then you’ll probably want to learn Ballroom Two Step. That is a similar yet not identical version of the two step that’s done out in the wild. At a bar or country dance club, the two step is much more loose, but it still requires some level of rhythm and competency. We teach two step based on the ballroom step, but also teach the variations you may see while out dancing at your local watering hole or at the honky tonks in Nashville. That way you can dance with anyone, anywhere, with a high level of confidence.

What If I Want to Compete?

Nowadays, you can compete in either. In the past, that wasn’t the case. Ballroom two step was the only option. Several organizations have started organizing country swing competitions and they are sure to expand rapidly over the coming months and years.

Which Should I Choose?

If you have questions about which dance is best for you, ask us and we can clarify for you. Our hands down favorite is country swing be we are happy to teach barroom two step if that’s what you want to learn.

If you are doing a private lesson, we can teach you the basic two-step step as well as the basic country-swing step if you want. We won’t likely have time for the extra spins and moves that we do in a country swing-only lesson, but you’ll leave being able to do both.

Again, we include two-step as part of our 4-week country swing course, and can include it in your private country swing lesson. We just don’t generally recommend it if you are only doing one private lesson because it takes up a significant portion of the lesson for beginners. We’d rather you learn several fun country swing moves instead so you can go out dancing tonight, have a blast dancing and look like you’ve been dancing for years.