Shadow Position

Type    Position, Progressive
Level     Level 5 Intermediate
Other Names   Cape Position, Varsouvienne
Comes From    Cross-Handed Open PositionOpen PositionInside Turn (Right-to-right), LassoDouble LassoBelt LoopBack LeanSide Lean, Tunnel 
Leads To    Cross-Handed Open PositionLassoDouble LassoBack Lean (lead in front), Side Lean, Shoulder Lean, Shoulder Dip,
The Guitar, Basic Step, Tunnel, Can Opener


In Shadow Position, partners are right-to-right, left-to-left with one person beside and slightly behind the other.

This position comes from the traditional two-step and progressive two-step syllabus. Traditionally, in this position, the lead is next to and slightly behind the follow facing the same direction. The hands are connected right-to-right and left-to-left. It can also be done with the lead in front and the follow behind, which you will find more common in Country Swing. Common ways to get into the move are listed below.


From Cross-Handed Open Position, assuming the right hand is on top:

  1. Rotate your arms clockwise to uncross them.
  2. As you do this, step to the follow’s right side. The follow will do a half-turn.

From Butterfly Position:

  1. On the first step of your basic step, bring your follow’s left hand to your left hand. Continue bringing that hand across.
  2. The follow will follow through with a half-turn. Catch their right in your right hand as they finish the turn.

From the Belt Loop, ending with the lead in front:

  1. As you do your turn, instead of placing your right hand on your heart, do a hand off so you’re right-to-right (taking the follow’s right hand in your right).
  2. Hold the follow’s right hand firmly at your hip. Hold your left hand out to the side, ready for the follow to catch it as she turns behind you.
  3. Finish with an Inside Turn.

A second way with the Belt Loop:

  1. Do a Belt Loop, but when your left hand makes contact with your side, hold your partner’s hand there, bring your right hand to it, and then let go with the left hand only to switch hands.
  2. Hold your left hand out to the side, ready for the follow to catch it as she turns behind you.


  • Lead, you want to be slightly behind the follow, rather than directly in line with them.
  • Lead, rest your right hand on the follow’s shoulder. This will make the connection stronger, and allow you to do other exits from Shadow Position such as a turn created by pulling on the follow’s shoulder.
  • Maintain the basic step rhythm throughout the move.


There are so many variations to this position. Different variations will help set up different kinds of moves.

  • This move can be done in the reverse from cross-handed open position with left on top, and rotating counter-clockwise.
  • This move can be initiated from an Inside Turn with cross-handed grip.
  • Low Shadow: With both arms low instead of over the shoulder
  • Arms across both partners’ shoulders
  • Angled Shadow: With the shoulder-side arm high and the follow’s side arm low. This can be useful for building momentum.
  • In traditional two-step the lead is behind the follow. However, many country swing moves require the lead to be in front.
  • Belt Loop Shadow: Arms low and connected at the hip to prepare for moves such as the Can Opener and Side Lean.
  • Switching sides, this move is known as the Shadow Sweetheart.

10 thoughts on “Shadow Position

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