X Dance co-founders Anthony and Rose Lewis started 10 years ago as dance partners at the Nashville mainstay Wildhorse Saloon.
The couple will teach country music lovers their moves during the 2022 Two Step Tour that makes stops in 25 cities across the country including in Phoenix on Saturday, August 27, and in Tucson Sunday, August 28. The venues are being scheduled. Visit xdance.com for up-to-date information.
“When it comes to country dance, two-step has always been and always will be king,” Anthony says. “It’s bringing two-step into the limelight, because it is the center of country dance across the country.”
In 2018, they launched their YouTube channel X Dance as a way for their students to study at home. The channel has amassed more than 67,000 subscribers on that platform alone. The X Dance Facebook page has nearly 200,000 followers.
That “most wonderful accident” has helped them grow their brand across the country and contributed to a reinvigoration into country dancing.
In 2019, their Two Step Tour burst on the scene with approximately 40 events planned across the country. But the following year, the pandemic put everything on hold and forced the dancing duo to rethink their strategy.
Their instruction welcomes even the most novice of dancers to the floor and gives them the foundation and motivation to build upon and continue their dance journey.
“We cannot make people into good dancers. No dance teacher can make someone into a great dancer. They have to make themselves into a good dancer,” Anthony says. “What we can do is inspire them and give them things that they can then work on to make themselves and get answers.”
The couple started dancing together in 2012 and opened two dance studios in the Houston area.
The couple has been married for seven years and moved to Houston when Rose was pregnant with their daughter. A medical condition kept her bedridden for nearly five months.
As fate would have it, the couple says that move introduced them to the plethora of dance halls with up to 30 on any given night for someone to attend.
Rose has been dancing since she was 4 years old and did solo dancing as well as learning in the jazz and hip-hop stylings.
She initially attended beauty school in Southern California where she grew up and wanted to become a makeup artist for movies, but she still had a passion for dance.
This eventually took her to Nashville, where she had a “lightbulb moment” in 2011 when she stumbled across one of Anthony’s former studios to try her hand (or feet) at ballroom dancing.
“I feel like a lot of people get into it for a bunch of different reasons whether to meet people, but for me, it was all about performing and the love of dance,” Rose said.
Anthony grew up in Louisville. He started learning about country swing in the mid-’90s when he was 21 years old and seeing people his own age having fun and taking part in this fun laidback dance style.
He began teaching as a full-time profession in 1996 and competing professionally in 1998 in multiple styles including American-style ballroom, Latin, swing, salsa and country-western dance.
“I just enjoy country as a whole because of the atmosphere, the people, the music and it’s laidback and it’s just fun, and it’s just a good time rather than being so serious,” he says.
He says country swing seemed to take off and started sweeping the nation in the late ’90s but receded in the mid-2000s.
It now looks poised to make a comeback in a major way as it has continued to grow and evolve across the country. They say they are excited to sit at the center of this new craze sweeping the nation.
“We feel like we’re at the beginning of this really taking over, and it’s really exciting,” Rose says.
Anthony says country swing hasn’t received the credibility it deserves because of the barroom, rough-and-tumble moves young 20-somethings who have no formal dance training take part in.
He equates to driving a car down the road, looking next to you and seeing another car driving erratically.
“You wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, those Fords are terrible cars,’ you would say that driver is just a bad driver,” he says.
These two traditionally trained dancers say they want to bring the rhythm, structure, partnership and technique to a dance style that’s lacked true professional dancers.
“We just wanted to help actually get involved with it to some degree to help give it the structure and the ability to actually be respected that it really has been lacking,” he says.