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On2 basic step

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Joined: 26 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: On2 basic step Reply with quote

Some of the On1 dancers who start learning On2 feel tempted to simplify the On2 basic step so it looks and feels like the On1 basic.
I have to admit that I did the same "On2-as-On1" simplification when I took my first On2 lesson, but before the second lesson I've realized that would become a bad habit.

Let's see what's that simplification and why it is wrong:
- skip the 1 beat (don't count it, don't step on it) and then start on the 2 beat, (men: Right foot backward , women: Left foot forward), and also break (i.e. change direction) on the same 2 beat.
- step with the other foot on 3.
- on the 4 beat the feet get back together as in the initial position before start.
So, the whole basic step feels like the On1 basic, only shifted a few beats.

However, the problems with that are quite major:
A. the simplification makes actually the basic step be done on the 2-3-4 and 6-7-8 beats.

That's wrong, because all the On2 instructors and dancers count and step on 1-2-3 and 5-6-7 !
Yes, they really count and step on the 1 and 5 beats.
The name "On2" refers to the break step = the step on which the direction is changed, not to the first step.

Here is the actual On2 basic for leaders:

And the actual On2 basic for followers:

B. Notice that in the real On2 basic, after the break on 2, the weight is transfered on 3 and then on 5, so on 3-4 (the slow part of quick-quick-slow) the whole body moves slightly.
Keeping that in mind, here is another problem of the "On2-as-On1" simplification: it uses the On1 hold (the feet are together on the slow part) on 4-5 and 8-1, hence it doesn't reproduce the real weight transfer of the On2 style.

In conclusion, using that simplification while dancing with a real On2 dancer will certainly make both of you feel like you lose the connection and synchronization twice in every 4 beats measure. That's awkward and uncomfortable, and definitely not On2.

The images above are part of an interesting article from; you can also see there a short video that shows clearly the 1-2-3 and 5-6-7 of the On2 basic:

By "On2" in this message I was referring only to the On2 New York style (popularized by Eddie Torres), as it seems to be the main On2 style danced in Toronto.
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