STEP Engl.

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STEP is a guideline for the education of Round Dance beginners. It provides cuers with an already established basis for teaching a course in a way that is structured, coordinated between regions, makes comparing the progress between different groups of beginners easy and thus makes joint dancing events possible.

STEP was compiled by ECTA cuers and adopted by the ECTA Round Dance Council as a recommendation for the education of dancers (first version Level A 2009, current version Level A-C 2019).

STEP is based on the figures/definitions of the ROUNDALAB (RAL) manuals. It is not a replacement of the RAL phase system. The grouping of figures and dances into phases is not touched and it‘s use shall be continued. Changes of RAL will be adapted to STEP according to needs.

STEP offers a selection of figures, grouped into a series of three educational modules, called Level A, B and C. These three levels of education consist of lists containing the steps, figures and terms to be taught. The rhythms and number of figures are fixed and a teaching order is suggested although not prescribed. By this manageable learning units are defined while at the same time there is enough flexibility for individual adjustments by the teacher.

STEP Level A contains about 100 figures of the rhythms two step, waltz, cha cha cha and rumba. Level B adds about 60 figures to these rhythms and introduces jive. In Level C further figures are added and the rhythm foxtrot is introduced.

For the education beyond STEP level C the development of a recommended teaching order of dances building on each other is planned for each rhythm.

Main Goals of STEP

  • well-founded education of new dancers
  • make it possible for beginners to experience success early by providing reachable intermediate goals and by focusing on the essential
  • support cuers in planning and giving dance lessons
  • make joint dancing events of several classes possible
  • simplify and improve the co-operation of cuers in and across different regions
  • modernize the dancers‘ education by opening up to contemporary modern music and choreographies

The STEP documents for Level A, B and C can be downloaded in pdf format via the links on this page.

Further information concerning STEP can be found here:

  • Development of STEP contains considerations, concept and the history of develop STEP
  • The STEP Komitee is responsible for updating and further developing the STEP program.
  • For teaching Round Dancing after finishing STEP ECTA provides teaching lists ECTA Teachingslisten for single rhythms (are still worked upon at the moment).

Teaching Concept


Problems with the system as it were:

  • Beginner's classes are too long (1 year and longer)
  • Cuers teach different things (different rhythms and figures)
  • there is no common dance level for graduated dancers => this means disaapointment on dance events for the dancers, Problems (for cuers) concerning programming e.g. on Jamborees, Tanztreffs
  • there is no beginner's level for dancer's freshly graduated, that can be danced by those dancers => this is frustrating to the freshly graduated dancer's, may drop out of the activity, they do not keep on until they are out of the woods
  • Phase II as basis of a class s 1. too extensive and 2. too boring (only 2 rhythms: TS and WZ)
  • old and partially unmodern Musik for many dances that are usually taught in class (orientation: Repertoire dances)
  • there is not sufficient material for cuers and dancers for supporting class (dances, step descriptions and the like)

aims of the new teaching concept:

  • a common curriculum for a class, so that one can proceed from a common basis for graduated dancers (this first teaching module - the beginner's class - it is called Teaching List A)
  • it should be possible to finish a Class in about 20-25 evenings (about 1/2 year), therefore: the number of figures taught is reduced and fixed to about 25 per rhythm in 4 rhythms) )
  • early experiences of success for the dancers

Structure of the concept

  • 1. A common teaching module for a beginner's class has been defined. It is calles Teaching List A or Level A.
    • 4 Rhythms: TS, RB, CHA, WZ - the sequence of these rhyhtms in class can be varied, each rhythm is treated independently and can be taught as first rhythm. Of the Class.
    • The Teaching List A has been voted on an accepted at the Fall Round Up 2009 in Darmstadt
  • 2. The Figures of the Teachinglist are put into a suggested teaching order and for this suggested teaching order there will be written dances that build up on each other.
    • the first dance will cover around 8-10 figures
    • each following dance includes the figures, that have been new last time (more practice) and at least twice the figures that are new in this dance.
    • for each position in the teaching order there can and should be written sisterdances - dances with the same function in class covering the same figures), so that there will be a diverse and hopefully modern variety of music availabale (that can be bought legally)
    • the dances for class should have no gimmicks and should be danceable to cues
    • At the momend headcues are sufficient for these dances (since they can be danced to cues)
  • 3. There should also dances be written, that cover the whole of Teachinglist-A-Figures (and only these without extra gimmicks). Level A should be offered at dancing events as beginner's level.
  • 4. additionally written material is to be produced: figure lists and step descriptions
  • 5. Building on Modul List A there should follow other Modules of similar sizes (B, C) - until one has a well-educated dancers that can dance on normal Events (without getting frustrated) and is able to further educated themselves through workshops.


  • The Level A is not supposed to replace the Roundalab phase rating system. It is just a defined subset of Phase II and III in the most important rhythms that will be taught first. After a dancers has finished A and C? he or she may be able to dance Phase III of the most played rhythms. The whole concept is aimed only at a more didactic structuring of the material.
  • The goal is not to teach less figures, but to make the material for dancers and cuers more easier to handel (in smaller units/modules) and to make earlier in the learning phase successful dancing possible by offering these transitional levels on dancing events.

History of the Concept

(not complete yet, please fill in; Links don't work anymore)

  • Discussion in Cham 2008 (documentation) and 2009 (slides from the meeting
  • concept of Michael Schmidt (2008) Englisch
  • suggested lists as basis for discussion: Cha/Rumba, Walzer by Michael Schmidt, Twostep by Regina Kolshorn and Susanne Geiger
  • 2. draft of the List (April 2009) Lehrkonzept.xls.htm draft
  • Decision to implement the concept. (when? where?)
  • Introduction of the draft list for Twostep and discussion of the Conzept (ECTA Convention 2009)
  • Discussion of the Lists in the ECTA-Forum (there some contribution of the Meeting of Cuergroup North and the Meeting of Cuer-Group Rhein/Main)
  • Voting and decision of the consolidated lists (from suggestions in the forum) at the Fall Round Up in Darmstadt 2009

please confer also the corresponding Page of Michael Schmidts Homepage and the documents there:


Where do we go from here?

Implementation of Level A:

  • Dances need to be written and spread (please all of you: help us with this)
  • the teaching List is to be tested in the running classes
  • Level A is offered on the program for the first time on the RDF RDF 2010
  • We need additional material: step descriptions for dancers (at least in German) and some handbook for cuers.
  • In 1 years time we will change whatever is necessary in the list

Preperation of Level B:

  • first steps are being undertaken to provide a draft versionin time