There's much mischief and confusion associated with the simple description of a 'hop step'. Indeed is the name wrong? Is a hop step really a step hop?
In an eCeilidh environment, a hop is seldom a lift from a standing start off the ground using one leg. Think of it this way and you are emphasising the vertical motion and also telling people that they must leave the ground. Not necessarily true...
Yes, if someone says this is a 'hop step' dance, it may be easier to think, 'My feet will be doing a step hop...'. This is particularly true if the music is doing something like UMMM di di! UMMM daa! (a hornpipe)
Take a step forward, the music will give you a downbeat; the UMMM is for the step. Now, where's that hop? Think of the 'free' leg, the one you don't have weight on, let it swing gently forward as if you are pushing a football forward. The music will give you an 'up beat' for that.... (the di! and daa!)
So what's different with thinking of a 'hop step' as a 'step hop'? You've got something in the music to connect the movement to, you've moved the concentration from the stationary leg to the moving one, you've forced a bit of movement into the 'hop' itself as when one leg is kicking forward the other ends up sliding back a little, maybe not even completely leaving the floor (in fact, there's no need)
The only thing to worry about is to make sure that the swinging legs don't swing too high behind you and the flying heels cause injuries....
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