Dance in the Line

Line Dance Culture

Line Dance Now July 20, 2013

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 11:00 AM

Hello Line Dancers!

I started a new blog called Line Dance Now.
I am also posting dance videos teaching line dances on YouTube.

If you enjoyed Dance in the Line, please consider following the new blog.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Do line dancers need to use their arms? September 26, 2012

Filed under: The Dancer's Body — linedancenow @ 2:22 PM
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When we start attending dance classes it can be frustrating realizing how little control we have over our bodies. We use out bodies to perform actions all day, why can’t we do the steps the instructor is calling?

When we start walking as toddlers we had to learn how to use the different parts of our body together to master walking. It was also the same with driving. After years of driving we don’t have to think about which pedal to press to stop or go anymore.

As we dance more we gain awareness of how to move our bodies to music. As line dancers we tend to focus on our lower body, but the really great dancers use their entire body, either for movement or for control.

When I started line dancing two years ago, a friend teased me that my arms hung beside me like a Riverdancer. Even though this was true I had enough trouble controlling my feet and figuring out which direction to turn, I didn’t have time to think about my arms.

However, if we observe other dancers we’ll notice that most of the graceful dancers, at the very least keep their arms bent at their waist. This helps because our upper body isn’t being pulled down, we are holding ourselves up. It also helps with steering and makes our turns graceful.

And in the cases of the real Riverdancers, they use their upper bodies for stability as they move their lower bodies. Just like how we may firm up if we are carrying a baby or a fragile package.

Once our feet know what they’re doing, we can take our dancing to the next level by concentrating on another body part. This can also make line dance class more interesting when the instructor is teaching a dance we already know.

Have you gained greater awareness of your body since you have been dancing? Has anyone pointed out a change since you’ve been dancing?


Milestones in Dancing September 24, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 12:11 AM
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Do you remember playing video games? In a video game you have to conquer challenges on the course to move up a level. Didn’t it feel great when you finally beat the course and moved up?

It’s like that with dancing, there are different levels. The obvious is in line dancing you have beginner, intermediate, and advanced line dances. Beginner dances are short (32 counts or less) and generally have simple turns in one direction. For example you face the front wall for part of the dance and then you turn left for the rest of the dance and then you start again. As dances become more advanced they get longer, have more turns, and have tags and restarts. As you continue to dance, your ability to keep up with these challenges improves.

There are other milestones to celebrate growth as a dancer. The first one for me was when I learned most of the regular dances we dance at Round Up. It took me about a year to do this. It wasn’t easy. I practiced a lot on my own and with a friend and I learned to read the dance step sheets.  If you think it’s hard trying to figure out how to move your body in class with an instructor telling you what to do, try making sense of an intermediate line dance on your own. (There is also YouTube to help.) At first it’s hard figuring out which way to turn and where you need to end up. It’s like trying to find a new place using Mapquest directions. Just like everything else, with practice it becomes easier.

But there were other little victories along the way:

  • Not getting distracted by other dancers, particularly people dancing near me who didn’t know the dance.
  • Not getting distracted by crazy night club lights flashing in my eyes.
  • Receiving compliments about my progress, especially from the more experienced dancers I admired.
  • Growing tired of easy dances. (I have a friend who calls this graduating.)
  • Liking the easy dances again because I learned the value of taking small steps and could shift my weight better.

Another cool thing is realizing someone is following you. In the real world stalking is frowned upon. But in dancing it is the ultimate compliment, because out of a giant group of dancers, you sparkled and someone thinks or knows they can rely on you to help them enjoy this dance. Ultimately that is why we’re all out in the dance floor. It’s fun, it makes us happy!

After a year of dancing, I asked someone I admired who had been dancing for six years when you stop feeling like a beginner and she said you never do because there are always new things to learn. So I’m not quite sure yet how many levels there are and what other challenges there are to conquer but I think that is part of the allure.

You can view step sheets at

You can view dance videos at iLinedance YouTube Channel.

What are some of your milestones?


What Makes Line Dancing Different from Social Dancing? September 1, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 3:39 PM
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If you dance at a night club you will likely find both styles and the difference can be like the battle between Coke and Pepsi people. Some prefer one over the other and others think it’s all good.

According to the folks at Wikipedia line dancing is a choreographed dance 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. Line dancers are not in physical contact with each other.

Couples dancing also known as social dance is a major category or classification of dance styles, where sociability and socializing are the primary focuses of the dancing. Social dances can be danced with a variety of partners and still be led and followed in a relaxed, easy atmosphere.

With social dancing you have a partner and someone is the leader and someone is the follower. But this occurs with line dancing also. Think about it.

  • How many dances can we perform from start to finish without making a mistake?
  • How many dances do we remember how to begin or when to begin?
  • How many times do we mix up steps from another dance or end a turn facing the wrong direction?

Line dancers rely on each other on the dance floor. And if we know a dance well, we may help those who don’t know it by dancing next to them or calling the steps.  We watch others to learn a dance, refresh our memory, or pick up their impressive styling. There is a lot of leading and following going on in line dancing.

So what are the differences between line dancing and social dancing? I think it comes down to the following three things:

  • Memorization
  • Physical contact
  • Control

Social dancers learn patterns that can be performed to any song with that style (two-step, east coast swing, west coast swing, and cha-cha). Social dancers share their personal space with their partner and learn how to read each others movements. They find the physical contact energizing and like either being in charge or being led and not having to concentrate as much on the steps.

Line dancers have to learn steps to each dance and are energized by the challenge of learning “ALL” the dances. They find it relaxing to dance on their own, and concentrating on steps frees their minds of daily clutter.

Dancing requires an awareness of your body and an ability to move it to the rhythm of the music. With line dancing you can get away with focusing on your lower body, although the really admirable dancers use their whole body and you know who these people are. They capture your attention on the dance floor.  Social dancing requires fluidity of your whole body to be in sync with your dance partner. To make the connection you use your arms, torso, neck and head in addition to your feet as.

I prefer line dancing for many of the reasons listed above, but I have learned some social dancing and can participate in couples dances. It is a personal goal of mine to be able to dance with an awareness of my entire body. Maybe once I’ve achieved that I’ll take on the challenge of letting someone lead me.


The Looking Glass August 4, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 3:19 PM
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Observing yourself is helpful for improving your dancing.

I discovered this by accident. I was out-of-town with co-workers for a conference and they didn’t want to go out after dinner and I didn’t want to walk around by myself at night. I went back to my hotel room and did what I would have been doing if I was at home. (Although, I would have been out dancing at a club with friends and not alone in my room at home.)

I left the curtains open to enjoy the city lights and danced to the line dance songs on my iPhone (75% of the music on my iPhone is probably line dance songs see Are You Addicted to Line Dancing? for more clues that you are addicted to line dancing). As I danced, I noticed my reflection in the sliding glass doors. It was a little scary seeing myself dance at first, but it was worth it.

I broke down the dances and practiced them in small pieces over and over. (This is also helpful to do if you get home after line dance class and can’t remember the whole dance.) I had no idea the impact this was going to have but the next time I went dancing I received many compliments on how much I improved. After that I took advantage of window reflections, picture frames, and mirrors in my house and even at work.

I do, however, make the disclaimer that I don’t think looking at yourself in the mirror ALL the time is beneficial because when you are observing yourself eyes are fixed on one spot. For example, if you turn you are still looking at yourself and not the new wall you are facing.

To really get an accurate picture it is helpful to record a video of yourself. Nowadays with digital cameras and cell phones this is easy to do. You can prop your camera up on something, use a tripod, or ask a friend to record you. If you can get someone whose dancing you admire to dance in the video with you, you can compare and contrast their movements with yours. You can also keep track of your progression.

Above all dancing is just meant to be fun, so don’t think you have to do these things in order to dance. These are just some things that my friends and I have found beneficial for improving our dancing.

Do you have tips to share on how to improve your dancing?


The Dance Family July 3, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 12:21 AM
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The interesting thing about being a regular at a dance club is that there are other regulars. And whether you realize it or not, they become part of your life.

We have certain people we dance by on the dance floor. Maybe it’s the people we rely on who know the dances, or we like their styling, or they are the people we have been attending dance classes with. Over time, we get to know each other and the depth of the relationship can range from saying hi to each other at the bar, to sitting together at the club, to celebrating birthdays together, to becoming friends that even do non-dance activities together such as attending concerts, going out to dinner, and going on road trips.

Dancers get to know each other in different ways. I like to watch how others dance and I will compliment them or ask for tips. Friendships develop with the people we regularly sit near as we protect our sacred shared territory from ‘outsiders’. Some people are more outgoing and they initiate conversations. They are warm and friendly and greet you with a hug and a kiss. Others may see that you are new and will try to help on the dance floor because they love dancing and want you to love it too.

There are some people you may be in the company of a few nights week for YEARS and never speak to them. But if they’re not at the club for a while you miss them. Or you may not even realize they are missing, yet when they return it hits you that something wasn’t quite right before but now it feels like the family is back together again.

When we dance we come together–whether it’s two, ten or fifty of us. We are connected. A bond forms as we spend time dancing, because we all share passion for this crazy hobby that slowly takes over our lives.


What Everyone Wants To Know June 25, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 11:43 PM
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If your new to line dancing, the sheer number of dances you see everyone dancing may seem overwhelming. Whenever I encounter people who are new to line dancing they almost always ask the following three questions:

How does everyone know all these dances?
There are a lot of possible dances, but there are also quite a few that are staples among groups and are danced regularly.
Line dancers know many dances because they attend line dance classes regularly and may even practice outside of class. They dance at least a few times a week and possibly almost every day. They may have been dancing two, five, fifteen + years! So even though line dancers are constantly learning new dances, there are some that remain popular for a long time.

How do you remember the steps to the dances?
At first I couldn’t remember anything five minutes after learning the dance. After attending classes regularly for a few weeks/months, I was starting to repeat dances and then I was able to remember the dances when I got home. I practiced the steps in the kitchen while waiting for food to cook in the microwave, boiling water for a cup of tea before bed, or spending time with my dog in the backyard. Later on I started by writing down the steps which is helpful as your repertoire grows.

You can also find out the names of the dances and either look for videos on YouTube or look up the steps online at websites such as Kickit or Copperknob. (Learning to read step sheets is like learning to read another language, so this may not be something you want to do as soon as you start dancing.)

Really, how does everyone remember SO MANY dances?
It is all about repetition and practice. People tell me they have two left feet or no coordination, but I think anyone can learn line dancing. People learn how to walk, drive and do many other activities that require coordination. If you find line dancing enjoyable then you’ll be motivated to learn the dances. It will get easier and soon you will be explaining to someone else how YOU know so many dances.

If you are a dancer, what tips would you give someone who is just starting out?


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