Two-Step with the Mariners Dance Team (and Tye)

Photo Credits: VIU Mariners Dance Team Instagram Page
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Have you ever wanted to learn how to line dance or two-step to your favourite country jams? Me neither. But, if the music and dancing doesn’t tickle your fancy, maybe supporting your fellow Mariners will. 

On Thursday, February 13, from 7 pm–9 pm, the Mariners Dance Team, partnered with the VIUSU Student Pub, will be hosting the Two-Toonie Two-Step—a 19 and up event. The hootenanny will take place at the Student Pub. In advance to the Pub’s own Country Night event, the two-hour hoedown will see the Mariners Dance Team offering lessons on line dancing and two-stepping for all skill levels.

Elissa Miranda
Photo Credit: Northfield Photography

Mariners Dance Team Co-Captain-Coach-Manager, Elissa Miranda, will be leading the lessons with her long time dance partner, Tye Woodruff. 

“Tye is helping me to teach the two-stepping because we have been dancing together since like grade six,” Miranda said. 

While Woodruff’s dance history can be traced back to his and Miranda’s early youth, he’s made a more recent impact in Nanaimo on the pitch. Before the Mariners Men’s Rugby team mysteriously vanished, Woodruff aided the growing program in securing a perfect 2017–18 season. 

“This would’ve been a good joint fundraiser, because Tye was so involved with rugby and I’m so involved with dance, and we share this background together,” Miranda said. 

Granted the evening goes over well, Miranda hopes to organize more similar events in the future. Whether they be a return to Country Two-Stepping or Latin Nights, future fundraisers would help to expand the Mariners Dance Team’s presence on campus, teach the student faculty how to really get down, and offer some zest to the Nanaimo night-life scene—one sorely lacking in Country themed events. 

Tye Woodruff
Woodruff in anticipation Photo Credit: Elijah Robinson

“I’m from a little town called Fort Saint John; up there, country music is a big thing and so is barn dancing and two-stepping,” Woodruff said. “So, I got into that early on. I thought that was sweet…I got pretty good at it, and then when I moved down here, there was like none. So this is a sweet opportunity to teach some people, and get some people on the same boat.”

Miranda has structured the night in an orderly fashion: 

“We are bouncing between two-stepping and line dancing through the night,” Miranda said. “The first 20-ish minutes we’ll teach two different line dances, and we’ll do them to two different songs.”

Following a five to 10 minute break, Miranda and Woodruff will then pair up for a walk-through of the basics of two-stepping to country music. Depending on how the introduction to two-stepping goes, the duo will consider advancing into some more advanced dips and spins. 

“What I’m going to be helping with is like being the dummy for Elissa,” Woodruff said. “She’s going to be teaching and showing the moves, and I’m going to be dancing with her to demonstrate, and of course, helping where I can.” 

After two-stepping, the duo will transition back into line dancing for another 20-or-so minute; this will also conclude with a short break leading back into the two-step.

“Me and Tye have been dancing together for so long,” Miranda said. “We know a lot, and we don’t want to overwhelm people. If a lot of people want to learn, we’ll break it down and start really basic. If people are picking things up, we’ll get more and more complex through the night.”

The second two-stepping interval will likely delve into the more complex dips and spins—so as to provide time for beginners to get the basics down first. 

“There’s like four steps in it,” Woodfruff said. “Two slow steps—and you’re always leading with your left foot—so you’d step forward with your left foot and then follow with your right foot, twice. Then two, again, but quicker; that’s the two-step! You’d have to see it to understand.”

The disk jockey will recycle the line dancing tunes and provide some appropriate country music for two-stepping. The event will end with plenty of time for everyone to show off their new moves, and even add in their own personal touches. Plus, those staying for Country Night will be the real mavericks of the dance floor. 

“We’ve also been in contact with the DJ who’s DJing the Country night at the Student Pub,” Miranda said. “He asked for some of the songs we were line dancing to, so he’s going to be playing them throughout the night if people want to showcase their newfound skills.”

Anyone interested in attending the Two-Toonie Two-Step can purchase tickets through the link on the Facebook event page or in the Mariners Dance Team’s Instagram bio. Ticket prices vary between $4 and $7; the former will grant priority entrance to the event, the latter will include a drink at the bar. 

Woodruff jokes, “It’s just like middle school prom all over again,” but Miranda is more reassuring. 

“It’s a fun thing you get to do, and you get to do it with other people,” Miranda said. “Two-Stepping, you kind of need a partner; with line dancing, you can do it by yourself; you can learn. It’s all fun.”