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    The One-Step is said to be of American origin and is a very simple and easily dance to learn and to perform. Many of the dances of the day (1910s) such as the Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear steps were modified to fit the one step, sometimes called the Walking Step and the Collegiate Foxtrot was basically a One Step as well. The American One-Step is said to be done in Dog Trot Style (dancing on the balls of feet) and was mixed with the above dances. The One-Step eventually gave way to the ORIGINAL Quick-Step as they were originally pretty much the same dance.

    The English One-Step (a tamer version than American) was introduced to the states in 1911 and when danced to the new Ragtime music, and became a hit. The One Step has been stated and written many times as been introduced by Vernon and Irene Castle

around 1912, they state it was better known as the Castle Walk and as a Fox-trot variation. Contrary to this there is much written material on the dance that dates back to the mid to late 1800's as well as sheet music that is stated for "a one-step" that predates the Castle's claim by many years. However with the advent of the Castle Walk, the two dances eventually MERGED and became one using slow walks instead of quick walks, (music for the One Step was slower, than that of the Castle Walk.)

    Most likely, no one invented the One-Step, as it probably just happened, a folk dance if you will. Since the Waltz was becoming extremely popular, the dancers probably just started doing a Single-step inplace of a Triple-step, and started walking, later applying it to other music such as 2/4 and 4/4 time which was even MORE SO if you didn't know how to waltz at the time, you could learn the One Step in five minutes.

    Basically the dance was just a brisk walking step to each beat of music and was done just as the name implies. Usually done to march type music for best results (When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again, Stars and Stripes Forever etc.). A smooth movement was desired, trying to avoid bent knees while dancing the One Step with plenty of "pep." The dance was basically a walk on each beat of music ... Pattern length's were eight beats in length.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

USA Mid/late 1800s n/a Ballroom

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.


Sheet Music Covers



  n/a   1914 - Walla Walla Man   n/a
      1914 - You're Here & I'm There    
      1915 - The Old Grey Mare    
      1920 - American Pep March    
      1920 - American Legion March    
      ? - Oh, You La! La! (Sweatman)    
      ? - Hello Hello (Sweatman)    
      ? Jazzie Addie (Jazarimba Band)    

Various Music Titles

Video Clip not available at this time Bye Bye Blues Video Clip not available at this time Old Folks Rag Video Clip not available at this time Tickle Toes
Video Clip not available at this time Cairo Video Clip not available at this time On The Beach at Wai Kiki (1919) Video Clip not available at this time Too Much Mustard
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Dixieland One Step (Orig. Dixieland Jazz Band) Video Clip not available at this time Razzberries
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Valencia(Denza Dance Band) 1927
Video Clip not available at this time Fluffy Ruffles
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Some Smoke (1914)
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Western One Step (Robert Bennett)
Video Clip not available at this time Hop A Long Video Clip not available at this time Susie Behave Video Clip not available at this time When I get back to the U.S.A. (1919)
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I'ma Stern Old Bacheor(1927) Video Clip not available at this time Stars and Stripes Forever Video Clip not available at this time When Johnny Comes Marching Home
Video Clip not available at this time Ladder of Roses (1919) Video Clip not available at this time Sweet Cider Time (1919)    
Video Clip not available at this time Oh! Video Clip not available at this time Taxi    

Night Clubs



n/a Billy Rose Theater England

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

1928 - Our Dancing Daughters Lawrence Welk Show (Clip) n/a


            3/15/1913 - Fort Wayne Sentinel (the One Step)

Other Related Dances of the time...

Aeroplane Waltz Collegiate Foxtrot Horse Trot Peabody, the Two-Step
Apache Cubanola Glide Lame Duck Serpentine One Step Quick Step
Bunny Hug Dew Drop Lambeth Walk Skip One Step, the Waltz
Buzzard Lope English One-Step Maxixe Tango  
Canter Waltz (a 1 step to Waltz Music) Fox-Trot Maurice Walk (1912) Texas Tommy  
Castle Glide Gaby Glide Novelette, the Turkey-Trot  
Castle-Walk Grizzly Bear Paul Jones    

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Carlos Sebastian Joseph Santley n/a
Dolly Sisters Maurice and Walton   
Gaby Deslys S. Hepburn Wilson  
Henry Ford Vernon & Irene Castle  
Joan Sawyer    
...Most dancers of the time

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Dances of Today Newman, Albert 1914 Penn publishing
The Tango and Other Up-to-date Dances Hopkins, J.S. 1914 Saafield & Co.
Three Modern Dances Victor Talking Machine 1914 ??
Latest Method, Home Instruction by Mail Frank, Charles J. 1922 The Beacon Academy
Let's Dance Murray, Arthur 1937 StandardBrands Inc.
How to become a good dancer Murray, Arthur 1942 Simon and Schuster
Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Anatole 1949 A.S. Barnes



Poets / Writers

Dorsey's, the n/a n/a
John Phillip Sousa        
Joseph Manone        
Wilbur Sweatman        

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

The Ramble n/a n/a ??

Basic Step ...

There are three different styles of dancing a One-Step:
Type 1: With a stiff knee and a slight up-jerk on each step.
Type 2: Both feet on the ground the whole time, each step being a glide on the floor.
(The second type was the style usually seen in England; it is quite orthodox but rather waning in "pep").
Type 3: Foot just off the floor at each step, the steps being in the nature of a miniature leap from ball of the foot to ball of the foot. (The third was the usual American style.) The dance is simply "Four Walking Steps" with the Leader starting the dance going Backwards, starting with the left foot and the Follower going Forward with the Right Foot. On the fourth step theres is a slight "Dip" but no sway of the shoulders. This repeats again, but the couple turns around or reverses. The dance is somewhat similar to the Turkey Trot dance without the suggestivness. Some pattern names in the dance are the Shadow, The Manchester, Swing Drop, Novellette, Drop Step and the Beverley.

A mixture of all three styles is perhaps the ideal; it is really a question of what sort of "mood" they were feeling while dancing, perhaps different music would change the mood;

It has been written to avoid dipping the shoulders, rolling the body, and pump-handle action with the arms (arms similar to the Texas Two-step for some), these idiotic actions are very unseemly. Do not turn the toes outward or inward, keep them straight, and rise on the ball of the foot. Dance as a rule exactly opposite your partner; dancing at the side is out-of-date (Peabody), except for certain variety movements which should be only occasionally performed and for short periods.
The Art Of Dress 1500 to 1914
Art Of Dress 1500-1914
March 24, 2013