Ruins of the Iona Abbey c. 1890
The Iona Two-Step is a satisfying two-step sequence composed by Tom Almond in 1906.
It was awarded first prize at the British Association of Teachers of Dancing conference in June of that year.
Iona is a small Island off the western coast of Scotland, famous for the Iona Abbey, one of the oldest Christian centers in Western Europe.
Both facing LOD with inside hands joined.
Part I - Pas de Basque and Change Places (4 bars): Pas de basque outward (1-and-2) and inward (3-and-4), then take opposite hands (Follow's right in Lead's left*), and change places with two steps and a two-step (5, 6, 7-and-8), Lead turning clockwise (passing in front of the Follow relative to LOD) as the Follow turns counterclockwise. (Today, we'd call this an inside turn.)
* The original description specifies right-in-right, but that feels more like a hand-fudge than an elegant transition. This minor adaptation maintains the fundamental shape of the dance while making the transitions much more comfortable.
Part II - Pas de Basque and Change Places (4 bars): Pas de basque outward (1-and-2) and inward (3-and-4), then take original hands (Follow's left in Lead's right), and change places with two steps and a two-step (5, 6, 7-and-8), Lead turning clockwise (passing behind the Follow relative to LOD) as the Follow turns counterclockwise. (Today, we'd call this an outside turn.)
Parts III & IV - Inverse Esmeralda (8 bars): Dance a full Esmeralda with the two pieces flipped, i.e., dance a full turn of two-step (1-and-2, 3-and-4) followed by a half turn of four-slide galop (5-and-6-and-7-and-8), turning 540° in 8 counts, then repeat opposite (1-and-2, 3-and-4, 5-and-6-and-7-and-8) to complete a total of three turns in 16 counts.
Repeat from the beginning.
"Iona Two Step" by H. E. Battye is the specified tune, but it doesn't appear to have been recorded, so any square, early 20th century two-step will do.
© 2019 Nick Enge
For more, see our two books on dancing:
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge,
and Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge.
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