# How do you dance to zydeco music

## Cajun Zydeco Love - Your gateway to Cajun food, music, dancing, Zydeco, reviews, and more.

by Jeremy Rice

#### Basic Footwork

The zydeco dance is based on 8 counts. The reason the dance fits zydeco music so well (and also is a little difficult to learn) is that one must learn to take steps at two different rates. In other words, one must stay on one foot for two beats, switch the other foot for one beat, and then switch back to the first foot for the next beat. The whole process is then repeated starting on the other foot.
Schematically the whole 8 beat series could be given as:
Foot(Beat):L(1) - L(2) - R(3) - L(4) - R(5) - R(6) - L(7) - R(8) (Repeat)

Most people are more used to stepping at the same rate with each foot, so it may be hard to hold on one foot for two beats. Some zydeco dancers take a little step or just twist their foot on beat (2) and (6) to make sure they stay on the same foot for two beats (this is sometimes referred to as having to eat-a-beat, meaning to take up and extra beat before switching feet.

An alternate pattern of footwork that may be easier for some to learn involves the "brush", meaning to kick forward in such a way that the sole of your foot brushes the floor. The brush step is used to take up the extra beat described above. Schematically the whole 8 beat series could be given as:
Foot(Beat):L(1) - R(Brush)(2) - R(3) - L(4) - R(5) - L(Brush)(6) - L(7) - R(8) (Repeat) If you find this pattern easier, than it can be your basic learning step.

One should first practice the footwork without music. Persons show great variability in picking up the basic footwork. It generally takes somewhere between a few evenings to a few weeks. In other words, don't get discouraged if it feels a little awkward at first because it takes everyone a while to pick it up.

#### What to do after you think you have the basic footwork

Try dancing to some zydeco music. Pick something slow at first - Paper in My Shoe by BooZoo Chavis, for instance.

Try to find the beat and adjust your step rate so that the dance fit well with the music. To help find the basic beat, listen to the bass (listening to the bass seems to work well for lots of types of music). Try to feel the rhythm of zydeco music and get your dance to flow the music. The cadence of the dance is slow-quick-quick, slow-quick-quick [in the scheme above (1-2)(3)(4), (5-6)(7)(8)]. Generally most zydeco has this slow-quick-quick rhythmic pattern. If you can't find this in the music your listening to, then look for something else. Railroad Blues by Lynn August is another song with a slow but relatively strong beat which is good for starting dancers.

If you feel you have it, try a little bit faster music, say Dance all Night by BooZoo Chavis, or something of similar speed.

You should find this much more difficult. There is little time to make the faster steps (3 then 4, or 7 then 8). You will need to make your steps quick and light without shifting much off your weight from side to side. Initially most people tend to make large distinct steps, picking up there feet, and making lots of large body movements. This is good to start with - you may need to overemphasis your movements to get to the point that they come without thinking about them. However, as you progress you should begin to make you movements more subtle; good zydeco dancers tend to be smooth and understated, rather that exaggerated and stompy. An analogy might be that one starts dancing like they stomping through deep snow, but you should eventually be more like gliding on ice.

#### How to Dance with a Partner

Dancing with a partner involves two basic positions: dancing close and dancing apart. In either case, your partner should be on the opposite foot as you. Some people teach the leader starts on the left, and the follower starts on right. Since zydeco dance is very based on the rhythm, the first matter to handle, is to get in sync with your partner. Everyone has a slightly different style, so both leader and follower should be prepared to give some way and adapt to your partner's style. Part of the fun is to find a groove you can both enjoy. Sometimes is easier to find your partners rhythm when dancing close so I will start with that.

Dancing close is done in something similar to ballroom position. The leader faces the follower, the right arm around the partners back, and the left arm is up in typical ballroom or closed swing position. The leader's right foot is positioned between the follower's feet. The follower's left hand sits on the leaders right arm or shoulder. You may have heard of a dance term called a "frame" - there should be a little pull on the leaders arm around the back and a little pressure on raised up hands (leader's left and follower's right). This produces a solid frame for communication so that the dancers are together as a unit. In other words, it's hard to show your partner what you want if one or both or both of you are both limp noodles - there is nothing to push and pull on.

After you feel comfortable in a basic closed position, there are a number of variation you want to try. Keep in mind that there should always be some tension or pull between the partners even if you no longer have the classic frame position. For instance, the leader's left and follower's right can assume many positions: straight up, straight out, straight down (something like a 50's slow dance), or not connected at all. There is also variations in how close you dance. You can lean back and dance fairly far apart but still in the close position, or you can get as close as you want (or your partner lets you!) and bump and grind and make it a very HOT dance. When close, the leader can drop the left hand and follower drop right. Now the dancers can communicate using the rest of their bodies. Another variation, is to put the leader's left and follower's right high up, lean in somewhat, stick you tush out a little, and give the dance kind of a Latin flare.

The second main way to dance zydeco is dancing apart in an open position where the partners face each other and are two to three feet apart. In this position, the dancers have more room to improvise and do their own thing since they are mostly unconnected from their partner. I say mostly unconnected because they should be on the rhythm together - the partners periodically make contact with the leader's left hand generally grabbing the follower's right hand as both partners rock back (leader rocks back on the left foot and follower rocks back on right foot on beat 7). The footwork for the rock step is:Foot(Beat):Leader: L(1) - L(2) - R(3) - L(4) - R(5) - R(6) - Rock back L(7) - Forward on R(8) (Repeat)Follower: R(1) - R(2) - L(3) - R(4) - L(5) - L(6) - Rock back R(7) - Forward on L(8) (Repeat)

The hand grab should be reasonably solid pull since this keeps the dancers in sync. An important point is that that the grab and pull are generally done on every set of 8 beats, but not on every set of four beats. In general, you have lots of time to do your own thing before you have to sync back up with your partner. Some things you might try are spinning yourself, spinning your partner, or pulling your partner toward you while you slide past to the left your partner, so that you end up switching places.

This point can not be overmade since it is probably the biggest difference between the novice and the good dancer. The syncopation comes in on the fast step (beat 3 & 4 and beat 7 & 8) which should be faster and sharper than the longer step (1-2 and 5-6). In fact you should drag out the longer step so that the faster step don't take you off the beat.

#### Dance from the Waist Down

This is perhaps a matter of personal taste, but the sharpest dancers seem do most of there dancing from their butts down with upper body movements being fairly understated. This gives the dancer a lot of style because he or she looks smooth, and it's obvious that he or she has rhythm. The untrained dancer will probably have a hard time figuring out why this person looks good because most people think dance is about fancy turns and upper body movement. In fact, next time you're in a bar or club, note that most untrained dancers try to dance well by do lots of huge turns and rocking their arms on torsos to the music in big movements. You, nor anyone else, will be fooled into thinking these dancers have any clue what they are doing.

#### Notes for Swing Dancers

It seems a lot of zydeco dancer come from a swing background. There seems to be a good and bad side to this. On the good sides, such people know about good dance form, a good frame, keeping there upperbodies still, and in general, have a good sense of how to dance. Some of my favorite dance partner (as well as myself) come swing backgrounds. On the down side, swing dancers probably have to gear down a little bit to do zydeco. In swing, the main enjoyment is leading or following through sometimes fancy or intricates moves. Although good dancers do this with rhythm and proper footwork, the emphasis in swing still seems to be on the moves (and, of course, looking cool while you do them). In zydeco, the emphasis seems much more on rhythm and footwork, with a lot fewer fancy moves. The lack of moves seems to bore a lot of swing dancer, and they often seem to want to add a lot of swing turns and moves to zydeco dance. While I think everyone should experiment and be creative in their style, I would suggest going easy on the swing moves. One because it is particularly authentic (and a lot of zydeco dancer will look at you as a lost swing dancer). Second, and more importantly, you shouldn't miss out on what zydeco dance has to offer. I see a lot of zydeco dancers (some are also good swing dancers) dancing to zydeco, very subtle body movements but very much in groove their partners. They are laying down a perfect beat with their feet, and really being taken to different world by the rhythm of the music (and their partner). If you haven't been there yet, it's really worth the trip. 'Nuff said.

#### Watch Other Good Zydeco Dancers

This may seem like a fairly obvious point, but I think it is good idea watch the dancers you like and try to figure out what makes their dance style appealing. Then later (probably at home in private is best), try to imitate them (in front of mirror if you have one). Maybe the dancer you like leans back or forward, maybe it is a little more bounce or emphasis on some steps, or just some subtle body or foot twist. While on my last trip to New Orleans and Louisiana, I got to see many zydeco dancers of all skill levels, and got to check out many styles and new moves. There seems to be lots going on in zydeco, such as adding hip-hop moves and different hand grabs. Some of it I liked, some I didn't, but in most cases I tried to figure out how people were doing the moves and how they worked with the music. Some stuff I saw I hope to incorporate into my dances, other things I either didn't like or didn't work for me so I'll just drop. As I've said probably too many times already, zydeco dance is mainly about rhythm so you don't need to know every move; find those that are right for you, lay down a groove, have some fun, and hopefully look good doing it.

#### Go Out and Dance Often (If Possible) with Lots of Partners

Again, this may seem like a fairly obvious point, but some of the best zydeco moves just hit you like there was some kind of divine intervention. In reality, you just find moves and your style evolves (sometimes in jumps) as you dance a lot and become more comfortable. Another way to pick up new things is by dancing with other good dancers. Many good zydeco dancers have fairly subtle movements (pulls, pushes, & twists) that may hard to see, but should obvious when you dance with them.

#### OK-OK, You Want a Few Advanced Moves

Here are few moves I've seen around in LA that you might want to try. Remember I made up the names, so don't expect anyone else to know them.

Shake and Toss Hand Grab - This seems to have become a fairly standard move in the clubs. These basic idea is move your hans to match your feet. However, like all open position handwork. you only are attached to your partner for about 4 beats. Therefore, the move becomes a grab, quick back-and-forth following your feet, then a toss. From open position, the partners grab hands (generally about chest level), hands go side-to-side about 4 inches each way, often ends with a toss of hand. The feet are going
slow-quick-quick-slow-quick-quick-slow.....
while hands go:
throw(partners hand)-quick-quick-grab(partners hand)-quick-quick-throw(partners hand). ....

The leader grabs on the right side slow and throws on the left side slow. The follower does the opposite, grabs on the left side slow and throws on the right side slow.

Lift Step - Lift knee slightly, foot comes off floor but does not kick forward. Also lean back slightly. This lift goes in place of the brush step (on the second beat of the slow). The lifts can be added in to embellish dance.

Crossover Step - Warning - there are lots of versions of the crossover step that start on any of the beats - the best way to learn is by following someone who knows the footwork. Here are a couple I have broken down:
Single cross front step
Leader: Slow(L)-quick(R)-quick(L)-slow(R)-quick(L crosses in front of R)-quick(R while L crosses back)- (Repeat)
Follower: Slow(R)-quick(L)-quick(R)-slow(L.)-quick(R. cross in front of L)-quick(L while R crosses back)- (Repeat)
Cross front, cross back step
Slow-quick-quick-slow-quick(front cross)-quick-slow-quick(back cross)-quick. .(Repeat)

Shelton Broussard Step - Named for a famous dancer who has played guitar with zydeco bands too numerous to mention here. On 1 - left foot points left (about 45 degrees), on 2 - right goes next to and parallel to left foot, on 3 - twist on heels so both feet point right (again about 45 degrees off center), on 4 - feet return to pointing left. After this sequence, return to normal footwork. This footwork works best in the open position. You can also do the mirror image step. Variations include position feet pointing forward on 1 and 2 then opening toes (or heels) on 3 and closing toes (or heels) on 4.

One final suggestion

You may want to order an instructional dance video. The video information on my page Instructional Dance Video Reviews.

## Making Moves: Beginners Guide to Cajun Dance

Previous

Let’s face it, Cajun music is dance music! A good “fais do-do,” or Cajun dance party, is essential to Louisiana music and culture, and rare is the celebration, festival, backyard music jam, or social gathering that doesn’t include dancing. The music takes the slow drawl of southern life— the sultry bayou nights, the scent of magnolia blossoms and crawfish dinners– and infuses it with an abundance of swing and spice in an uptempo “joie de vivre”. If you have even an ounce of rhythm, you’ll find it impossible to sit still once you hear those joyful fiddle and accordion notes. Although you don’t really have to “know the steps” to have fun on the dance floor as long as you can keep a beat, your enjoyment will increase exponentially if you learn a few basic moves. And then, improvise to your heart’s —or feet’s—content!

Cajun dancing is partner dancing. You dance in either “closed” position, with both arms holding your partner, or “open” position with the lead’s left hand holding the follower’s right hand. The three dances that build the foundation for Cajun dancing are Two-Step, Cajun Jitterbug, and Waltz. While more intricate moves exist, think of this trio as the backbone of all dance variations. Once you master these basic moves you will be moving and grooving in no time and can graduate to variations like Mamou Two-Step, Whiskey River Two-Step, Whiskey River Jitterbug and Cajun Jig. So grab a partner and let’s get started!

The Two-Step – Step, Step, Step, Tap.

The Cajun two-step is an 8-count essentially two steps on each foot. You’ll be moving in the same direction and then switching once you repeat the movement. The directions below are for the leads, the followers use the reverse foot. It can be done in either the open or closed position, and often is done in a closed position with dancers “traveling” in a counter-clockwise flow around the dance floor.

1. Step with your left foot.
4. Replace the final step on your right foot with a tap while keeping the weight on your left foot. So it moves to the left this way: left, right, left, tap, and then to the right in reverse. This video shows you what it looks like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF7OpI7TtwM
The Waltz-Bigger Step, Small Step, Small Step.

The basic waltz is always done in a closed position, and is essentially one big step and two smaller steps taken with fluidity. This is often the easiest of the trio to master. Like waltzing in any other dance genre, it is a ONE, two, three, ONE, two, three movement with couples moving in a counter-clockwise flow around the dance floor. Here’s a video from a past Gator by the Bay to illustrate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xZImtkrSUI.

Cajun Jitter Bug– Step, Tap, Step, Tap, Rock, Step.

The Cajun JitterBug is similar to swing dance but with tapping after each step. Grab your partner’s hands and gently push against each other to propel your movement. Complete the step, tap, step, tap, rock and step variation while dancing around the room. Here’s a video combining the 2-step and jitterbug (with a few fancy moves thrown in for good measure!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYW8JdNC4kg .

Now that you mastered the basics you’re already a step ahead! Are you eager to get on the dance floor to move those feet to authentic Louisiana tunes? Check out Gator By The Bay’s free Cajun dance lessons at our festival celebrating authentic Louisiana culture led by industry experts covering beginner to advanced Cajun, zydeco, east coast swing, line dancing and more!

## When I see you dancing Baby, you excite me When you look so seriously Baby, I love you When you timidly kiss me Baby, you excite me But.

.. — Mumiy Troll

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## Cupid Shuffle - Cupid - lyrics and lyrics, listen online for free

The song Cupid Shuffle by Cupid from the album Cupid Shuffle was recorded in 2009Atlantic label, the language of the song is English, below you will find its translation in Russian, the song is performed in the r&b genre, you can listen to it, study the words or download the lyrics for free, comment on both the song itself and the meaning that it carries.

(We got a brand new dance)

(New style, yeah)

They say I'm a rapper and I say no, come on all of my people can stay on the floor

They got a brand new dance, you gotta move your muscle

Brand new dance, it's called the Cupid shuffle

It don't matter if you're young or you're old, here we go

We gone show you how it go

To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right

To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left

Now kick, now kick, now kick, now kick

Now walk it by yourself, now walk it by yourself

(Let me see you do)

(A let me see ya do the Cupid)

(Let me see, let me see ya do the Cupid)

(Do the shuffle baby yeah)

To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right

To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left kick, now kick, now kick, now kick

Now walk it by yourself, now walk it by yourself

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To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left

Now kick, now kick, now kick, now kick

Now walk it by yourself, now walk it by yourself

Now you see what I'm talking about, oh

I represent for the dirty south

Where we're known for swinging out

I'm gone show you what I'm talking about

(A let me see ya do the Cupid, shuffle the Cupid Cupid shuffle)

(The Cupid shuffle, the Cupid Cupid shuffle)

(Here we go)

To the right, the right, the right, the right, the right

The left, the left, the left, the left, the left

Now kick, now kick, now come on baby kick

Now walk it by yourself, walk it by yourself

(Now walk wit it)

To the right, to the right, to the right, the right, the right

The left, to the left , to the left, the left, the left

Now kick, now kick, now kick, now kick

9

And do the Cupid shuffle

(Now let me see you do the)

Cupid shuffle

(Now let me see you do the)

It's ya boy Cupid C U P the I the D

Fat on the track, got another hittin' beat

(Come on, come on)

(Let me see you)

(New style)

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we have a new dance)

down, down, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance.

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They say I'm a rapper and I say no, come on!

They say what you're doing, you're trying to do something Zydeco,

I just let the music come from my soul,

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They have a new dance, You have to move your muscles. nine0003

Brand new dance, it's called Cupid's shuffle

, young or old, here we are.

We're going, show you how it goes

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(Let me see you do it)

Down, down Dance, dance

Dance, dance, dance, dance (

let me see you dance Cupid)

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(Let me see, let me see you dance Cupid)

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dance, baby, yeah)

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Right, right, right, right,

Left, left, left, left, left. nine0003

Now stump, now stump, now stump, now stump,

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Now you understand what I'm talking about.

I represent the dirty south,

Where we're known to rock,

I'm off, show you what I'm talking about.

Down, down, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance

Dance (

show me how you dance Cupid, dance Cupid)

Down, down, dance, dance,

Dance, dance, dance,

dance down (Cupid, Cupid, Cupid) Down , Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance,

Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance,

Dance, dance, dance (

here we are)

Right, right, right,

Left , left, left, left, left.

Now blow, now blow, come on, baby, blow! nine0003

Now walk on it alone, walk on it alone (

now walk on it)

Right, right, right, right, left,

Left, left, left, left, left.