The Grizzly Bear is another one of those Ragtime Animal Dances.

The Grizzly Bear is at it's heart a One Step, but with variations in hold, style and step, some folks call it an entirely separate dance.

The is a lot of room for improvisation and role playing as you and your partner lumber about the floor in the way that idealized Grizzly Bears do, and real Grizzly Bears don't.

First, the posture. Bend you knees, hunch your shoulders forward, hold your arms out as if about to give someone a bear hug and curl your fingers into claws.

To hold your partner in this posture, you should both place your claws on the other's shoulders or deltoids. Another option is the same, but farther away, claw-in-claw. If you can make some variation on ballroom position seem bear like, go for it (I can't).

The basic step of the Grizzly Bear is a very slow step-hop-step-hop in four even beats, starting on your first foot as usual. In this position you can then go forward or backward or around in a circle or anything else that comes to mind. Low grunting noises are optional, but always in good taste.

Another good choice for footwork if a side-close-side-pause, also called step-together-step-hop; Again, done at a slow tempo, half the speed at which you might polka to the same music.

Then there is the chase. In the normal grizzly bear posture, one of you chases the other about the floor (a very plodding sort of chase). Usually, but not always, the leader chases the follower. Occasionally, the chaser might make a lunge for his partner, as if to catch her in a bear hug. He should aim high, because her move is (often) to duck at the last moment and leave him hugging air.

For a final variation, start face to face with your partner, then turn until you are back to back. Take a moment to scratch your back against you partner (like a bear against a tree) before finishing the turn and continuing on your ursine way.

The Teddy Bears' Picnic is always a good choice of music, as is Waltzing with Bears if you're willing to dance it in 3/4 time.

If you concentrate on role-playing the bear, and keep time with the music, it's quite hard to do anything wrong.

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