What Is Line Dancing?
Let`s cha cha! No matter which way you turn, line dancing continues to pop up in different venues around the world. You`ll find line dancing on the dance floors of birthday parties, school dances, social functions, and clubs. Anywhere you can find a gathering of people in the mood to dance, you will no doubt run across a choreographed line dance of some sort.
Line dancing is for everyone. Your age, fitness level, and dancing ability are all irrelevant. Nobody cares who you are or how well you dance. All that matters is that you have a great time learning new dances. Who knows, you might choreograph your own sensational line dance.
Not only is line dancing an entertaining activity, it gives you the opportunity to meet people in a fun and relaxed environment. No stuffy dinner parties with this crowd! Instead, look forward to meeting a unique group of people who all share a passion for this intriguing type of dance.
A line dance is choreographed dance related to country music with a repeated sequence of steps in which a group of people dance in one or more lines or rows without regard for the gender of the individuals, all facing the same direction, and executing the steps at the same time.
The exercise aspect alone is enough to encourage even the least coordinated individual to get out on the dance floor and learn some moves.
Regardless of your music taste or athletic ability, line dancing has something to offer. Line dancing is a fascinating combination of exercise, choreography, socialization, and entertaining music. Every dance is different and every dance group has their own steps.
Line dancing is not just country anymore. From classic folk moves to the latest hip-hop grooves, line dancing will have you hooked on dance for years to come.
Learn To Line Dance
Line dancing is not difficult to learn. Plus, the line dancing community around the world is friendly and almost everyone is willing to help out a beginner. There are three important parts to learning to line dance:
1. Practice. Practice. Practice.
2. Put Yourself Out There
3. Have Fun!
You can learn to line dance for free online. Many sites offer a combination of lesson types. These lessons include:
• Text classes: Each class begins with a brief description of the line dance and the music to be played. The rest of the lesson is a step by step instruction sheet for each dance. These lessons can be viewed online or printed for your reading convenience.
• Video classes: These classes are videos of an instructor or a group performing a specific line dance. The lesson might be broken down into individual steps or the whole dance might be performed at once.
The best part about free online classes is that you can repeat each class until you are comfortable with each set of steps.
Dance classes are also an excellent way to learn to line dance. Your dance instructors and classmates share your interest in this style of dance. In general, line dance classmates tend to become friends. Many who learn together will attend line dancing events together.
Adult dance classes are far less costly than child and teen dance lessons. In addition to the low cost of classes, many dance schools offer open classes. You can attend as often as you wish and you can pay for the days you attend rather than a full block of lessons.
Note: At the end of this guide, you will find a list of popular line dances. If you are having difficulty finding videos of line dances, this list will help. A simple search will provide links to typed descriptions and a myriad of videos.
Put Yourself Out There
Once you`ve mastered some of the basic steps and dances, get yourself out the door and head to a line dancing event. This is a chance to put what you learned to use. You will also learn new steps for dances not found in the classes you took.
If you took all of your classes online, now might be a great time to sign up for a dance class. Not only will you meet other dancers, your instructor will be able to point you in the direction of venues that feature line dancing.
Line dancing is great for singles and couples alike. If you are single, get on the dance floor and have fun. Most line dances do not require partners. If you do need a partner, this is a great chance for you to meet some great people.
Dancing in public also gives you the opportunity to correct your steps. If you misinterpreted a step or your choreography is off, watching other line dancers perform is a great opportunity for you to improve your line dancing skills.
Line dancing is not a chore. The steps are fun and varied. Everyone else will be enjoying themselves immensely. So, get yourself out on that dance floor and have a great time enjoying your new line dancing hobby.
Line Dancing Structure
As you begin to learn to line dance, you will discover that the structure of line dancing is simple. The basic steps are easy to learn and the rhythm is normally simple to follow. Even complex steps stem from the basic line dancing steps.
There are two key components to every line dance:
• The direction the dancers are facing during the dance.
• The basic steps used during each dance.
After that, there is little that transfers from dance to dance. Steps are modified all the time. A club or an event might have a signature move. A particular song might have its own special step. Anything is possible. If you come up with a fun new step or a variation of an old favorite, try it out. Who knows, it might catch on!
Each dance is said to consist of a number of walls. A wall is the direction in which the dancers face at any given time: the front (the direction faced at the beginning of the dance), the back or one of the sides.
• In a one-wall dance, the dancers face the same direction at the end of the sequence as at the beginning.
• In a two-wall dance, repetitions of the sequence end alternately at the back and front walls. In other words, the dancers have effectively turned through 180 degrees during one set. The samba line dance is an example of a two-wall dance. While doing the "volte" step, the dancers turn 180 degrees to face a new wall.
• In a four-wall dance, the direction faced at the end of the sequence is 90 degrees to the right or left from the direction in which they faced at the beginning. As a result, the dancers face each of the four walls in turn at the end of four consecutive repetitions of the sequence, before returning to the original wall. The hustle line dance is an example of a four-wall dance because in the final figure they turn 90 degrees to the left to face a new wall. In some dances, they turn 270 degrees, a "three-quarter turn," to face the new wall.
Descriptions of some dance steps in their typical form are below. They are subject to variations in particular dances, where a stomp or a point may occur instead of a touch, for example, in the grapevine.
Some songs will indicate the moves required for the dance. For example, the song might instruct you to “Hop 3 Times” or “Slide to the Left.” Follow the instructions, paying special attention to the number of steps indicated.
Line dancing steps involve primarily leg and feet movements. However, some dances do involve clapping or other arm movements.
• Chasse: One foot moves to the side, the other foot is placed next to it, and the first foot moves again to the side.
• Grapevine: One foot moves to the side, the other moves behind it, the first foot moves again to the side, and the second touches next to the first. There are variations: the final step can consist of a hitch, a scuff, placement of weight on the second foot, and so forth. The name of the step is sometimes abbreviated to vine.
• Weave: To the left or the right. This is a grapevine with a cross in front as well as a cross behind. Creates a slight zig zag pattern on the floor.
• Hitch: Raise your knee straight up so that your upper leg is parallel to the floor. Your lower leg will be bent at a 90 degree angle.
• Criss Cross: Begin with your feet apart. Jump up and land with your legs crossed. Jump up and land with your legs uncrossed. Bring your feet together.
• Cha Cha: Bring your right foot in front of your left foot. Move your left foot back. Move your right foot to the right. Bring your left foot forward.
• Triple step: This is 3 steps being taken in only 2 beats of music. Can move forward, backward, left, right or on the spot.
• Shuffle step: A triple step to the front or the back, left or right side, starting on either foot. The feet slide rather than being given the staccato (short and sharp) movement of the cha-cha. There is a slight difference in the interpretation of the timing to give the element its distinctive look. It is counted as 1 & 2, 3 & 4, etc. However, the actual amount of time devoted to each of the 3 steps in the shuffle is 3/4 of a beat, 1/4 of a beat, then one full beat of music.
• Lock step: A triple step backwards or forwards, starting on either foot, with the second foot slid up to and tightly locked in front of or behind the first foot before the first foot is moved a second time in the same direction as for the first step.
Other steps include applejack, botafogo, butterfly, coaster step, heel grind, jazz box, kick ball change, kick ball step, lunge, mambo step, military turn, Monterey turn, paddle, pivot turn, rock step, sailor step, scissor step, scuff, spiral turn, stamp, stomp, sugarfoot, swivel and vaudeville.
The count is not necessarily the rhythm of the music. It is the movement of each line of dancers. Many line dances limit steps to one per beat. Others are more complex and use faster steps to take advantage of half, quarter, and eighth counts.
Clothing & Shoes
People buy ridiculous workout outfits every day. Department stores have whole departments dedicated to neon colored spandex. Those days are over. In fact, the line dancing wardrobe is simply and highly affordable. Your line dancing wardrobe should be, in one word, COMFORTABLE.
You will be moving constantly so plan to get warm. Layers are a good choice when getting dressed to line dance.
As you won`t be tumbling or flying through the air during your line dancing adventures, you can wear almost anything you choose. Skirts and dresses are popular. Both shorts and pants are also appropriate. As a general rule, lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton are perfect for any line dancing activity.
Unless you are attending a costume or theme party, dress tastefully. Clothing that does not fit or reveals too much is distracting to other dancers.
Shoes are far more important to line dancing than clothing.
When you look for a pair of shoes, keep these features in mind:
• Adjustable straps or laces – feet swell during physical activity.
• Stable heels – wide bases or thick heels offer more support and stability than stilettos.
• Support – arch and ankle support if you need either.
Great shoes for line dancing include:
• Tennis shoes & sneakers
• Cowboy boots
• Sandals with straps.
Line Dancing Etiquette & Safety
Start your line dancing hobby off on the right foot. These line dancing etiquette tips will help you earn points on the dance floor. As you gain experience and move beyond the beginner stage, don`t forget to follow the same rules.
The Dance Floor Is For Dancing
• If you have to talk, leave the floor. Stay out of the way of people who are dancing.
• Do not bring anything on the dance floor. Drinks, food, and bags are never okay on the dance floor.
• If you need to get to the other side of the room, walk around the dance floor.
• The outside lane of the dance floor is for couples. They have the right of way on the dance floor.
• Dance the right dance. Do not change the dance mid song.
• Adjust your step size to the size of the crowd.
• If you bump into someone, apologize regardless of who was at fault.
Help Out The Rookies
• Be nice to beginners. Gently nudge them in the right direction as necessary.
• Be helpful but do not hold up the dance floor to teach someone a step.
Line dancing is a pretty accident free activity.
• If you plan to dance for hours on end, some simple stretching prior to dancing will help prevent injuries.
• Stay hydrated while dancing.
If you travel to line dancing classes or events alone, take all necessary precautions.
• Do not accept rides from strangers after class or an event.
• If you feel uncomfortable at any point, do not hesitate to ask for assistance.
• Always let someone know the location of the event, how long the event will last, and when you expect to return home.