You can’t actually travel back in time with this step, but time steps can be traced back to the vaudeville era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During that time, time steps were used as an introductory step for improvised dances. The dancers would perform a time step to communicate their tempo to the musicians performing with them. After they performed the time step, the music would begin playing at that pace, and the dancer would begin performing their improvised routine. Because different dancers had different styles, there was a lot of variance in the way dancers performed their time steps. That is why we have so many of them today.


The Basics:

YouTube / mahalodotcom

  • Shuffle Step - This is a brush followed by a spank and then a step. You will shuffle your right leg and then step on your toe. When you perform the time change, your heel should not come down. 
  • Shuffle - After your shuffle step, you will shuffle your left foot. This shuffle should be done out at diagonal because it will lead to your movement in the next part of the step.
  • Ball Change (2x) - The ball change is essentially a method of moving and switching your weight. You will step on the ball of your left foot and change your weight over to your right foot, stepping out. You will do this twice, each time stepping a little farther away from your starting position. This is the traveling part of the traveling time step. 
  • Hop - Once you have traveled with your ball changes, you will hop on your right foot. 
  • Step - After you hop, you will step with your left foot leading into the final part of the step.
  • Shuffle Step - The last part of this is a final shuffle step on your right foot. If you are continuing this step to the left again, you will then do another shuffle step with your left foot and begin the move again in the opposite direction.

(You can see a full traveling time step above. To watch the whole video, click here.) 


The most important part of any time step is mastering tempo. When you start learning the time step, make sure you know what tempo you are moving to. This way you will be better able to learn the step in a smooth sequence. When you start learning the step, you will want to do it slowly, so set a slower tempo for yourself.

Dos and Don'ts:


  • Practice the step slowly
  • Set a tempo to perform the step to
  • Practice your step ball changes separately


  • Forget to travel