Step dance
Step dance is the generic term for dance styles where the footwork is the most important part of the dance. Body and arm movements and styling are either restricted or considered irrelevant.

Step dance is one end of a spectrum of dance styles. The opposite extreme is Formation dance
Formation dance
Formation dance is a style of ballroom dancing. It is pattern or shadow team dancing by couples in a formation team. The choreography may be based on a particular dance or a medley of dances...

s (e.g., Square dance
Square dance
Square dance is a folk dance with four couples arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, beginning with Couple 1 facing away from the music and going counter-clockwise until getting to Couple 4. Couples 1 and 3 are known as the head couples, while Couples 2 and 4 are the side couples...

), where the movement patterns around the dance floor and armwork are the most important factors, and the footwork is very simple. Most social dances fall between these two extremes.

There are very few pure step dances, as most include at least some upper body or arm styling. Often step dances performed in shows add elements of show styling, which can bring them into conflict with the traditionalists.

The Irish dance
Irish dance
Irish dancing or Irish dance is a group of traditional dance forms originating in Ireland which can broadly be divided into social dance and performance dances. Irish social dances can be divided further into céilí and set dancing...

 tradition includes Irish stepdance
Irish stepdance
Irish stepdance is a type of performance dance originated in Ireland from traditional Irish dance, characterised by solo dancers who dance with hands by their sides and upper body stiff, making quick, intricate movements of the feet, often with a troupe. Irish stepdancing was popularized by the...

, possibly the best known form of step dance, often marked by rigidly held upper body. Irish stepdance has two main forms: hardshoe, a percussive dance form, and softshoe, a form which is primarily about the movement, not the sound.

Other step dances include tap
Tap dance
Tap dance is a form of dance characterized by using the sound of one's tap shoes hitting the floor as a percussive instrument. As such, it is also commonly considered to be a form of music. Two major variations on tap dance exist: rhythm tap and Broadway tap. Broadway tap focuses more on the...

, clogging
Clogging is a type of folk dance with roots in traditional European dancing, early African-American dance, and traditional Cherokee dance in which the dancer's footwear is used musically by striking the heel, the toe, or both in unison against a floor or each other to create audible percussive...

, Canadian step dance, Cape Breton
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

 step dance, some forms of Scots and English folk dance and Malambo
Malambo is a municipality and town in the Colombian department of Atlántico.-External links:...

 from Argentina!

Another form of step dancing, Stepping
Stepping (African-American)
Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps...

, has been popularized by National Pan-Hellenic Council
National Pan-Hellenic Council
The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine"...

. This step dance has Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n roots and is an African American tradition as well as part of Black History. The members of the fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

 join in steps — elaborate synchronized group routines that are performed in competitions between the fraternities and sororities called "step shows." Step shows incorporate cheerleading
Cheerleading is a physical activity, sometimes a competitive sport, based on organized routines, usually ranging from one to three minutes, which contain the components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to direct spectators of events to cheer on sports teams at games or to participate...

, military, and drill-team
Drill team
A drill team can be one of four different entities:# A Military Drill Team is marching unit that performs routines based on military drill. Military drill teams perform either armed or unarmed....

 moves, especially the call-and-response element inherent in those forms. These aspects are not only important to the energy of stepping for entertainment use but also for bonding and pride within their organizations.

Step dancing is also used with Drum and Bass
Drum and bass
Drum and bass is a type of electronic music which emerged in the late 1980s. The genre is characterized by fast breakbeats , with heavy bass and sub-bass lines...


See also

  • Dance Dance Revolution
    Dance Dance Revolution
    Dance Dance Revolution, abbreviated DDR, and previously known as Dancing Stage in Europe and Australasia, is a music video game series produced by Konami. Introduced in Japan in 1998 as part of the Bemani series, and released in North America and Europe in 1999, Dance Dance Revolution is the...

  • Stepping (African-American)
    Stepping (African-American)
    Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps...

  • Showtime Steppers
    Showtime Steppers
    The Showtime Steppers are a nationally recognized step team, and the first professional step team of its kind. The group, which originated from a Fort Worth, Texas high school, was professionally founded by Jenerian "El Hadjo" Young, and is currently being led by Shane "Mr. Showtime" Wilson...

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