Dance in the Line

Line Dance Culture

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?


Transformation May 2, 2012

Filed under: Life & Dancing — linedancenow @ 10:28 PM
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My friend Mimi just completed a pottery class and has a collection of vases, bowls, and cute little-girl-tea-party-sized pieces to show off. As she showed me her handiwork, I was fascinated by the process of a mushy, gray lump of clay transforming into these beautiful objects. Seeing Mimi’s works enticed me to take the pottery class myself and I had visions of my own dinner set on the table and Christmas presents for everyone.   

This is my favorite. I like how perfectly round it is and the gold and green tones.

Her “ugly” pieces were still in the kiln which is the oven that bakes the pottery. She joked that I should stop by and see them when they were done and then maybe I wouldn’t want to take the class anymore. So I went with her to the studio and this is where I learned the kiln has magical powers.

I expected the kiln to look like a pizza oven, but this kiln was shaped like a giant vase with a lid. It holds multiple pieces and it is big enough for a person to sit inside. It takes 3-4 days for a project to bake and another 1-3 days for it to cool before the kiln can be opened. The kiln’s magical power is the ability to transform ugly things into something beautiful, hence my friend being shocked by her ugly ducklings.

This was inspired by a poppy flower. I think it looks like a sea urchin too.

This vase cracked and she covered it with more clay
which distinguished it from a perfectly smooth piece.

Whenever we dance we are transforming ourselves like works in the kiln. I can practice the difficult part of a dance over and over and not be satisfied with the results. Then I try it the next day and it’s much better. Or there might be a dance that I don’t get very well because it is too advanced but when we cover it again a few months later I find my steps are crisper, I can move my hips more, or it’s just so much easier to remember the steps.

So for those things in life that seem ugly, I guess we never really know when they will transform. We just have to keep dancing and expect something beautiful to happen.

Best in Show


How I Started Dancing April 8, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 3:51 PM
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Leotards, tights, tap shoes, ballet slippers and spending two hours every Saturday at the Turning Point dance studio in North Miami – this was my childhood. As I neared the teenage years and wanted to try other things I still practiced on my own and choreographed my own dances. One of my dances was to Opposites Attract by Paula Abdul. I’ve always enjoyed dancing.

The next opportunity to dance came in ninth grade. I met my closest high school friends by chance. We all landed at the same lunch table on the first day of school. We were a shy bunch and for the first few months Thursdays were the only day we actually had conversations because we would talk about what happened on 90210. Everything changed because of PE. We were assigned to choreograph a dance and perform it in class. Five of us met at Debbie’s house one weekend and created a dance to Janet Jackson’s Escapade. The dance was the catalyst for the many weekends and sleepovers that we shared throughout high school.

The first time I visited Round Up was about six years ago. I went with a friend from work and for days prior to going we cracked jokes about meeting cowboys there. I wish I could remember what I expected Round Up to be like. I didn’t listen to country music then and I had never seen Urban Cowboy to know anything about line dancing. What I do remember is seeing everyone dancing and wondering how in the world they knew the steps to so many dances. I tried mimicking the dancers movements from my bar stool to see if I could figure it out, but it was a lot to absorb. Every song had its own dance!

A few years later, the firefighter calendar signing brought me back to Round Up. My cousins were visiting and we squeezed this event into our busy schedule of sunning ourselves at the beach and consuming large amounts of cheesecake. At Round Up we partied on ladies night and watched the firefighters strutting across the dance floor. I also learned a dance that night. It was for Kid Rock’s All Summer Long. Even though I danced when I was younger it was a challenge to get my feet to do what they were supposed to do.

I started going to Round Up more often after that and then I started listening to country music because I wanted to be familiar with the songs for the dances I was learning. And that is how I started dancing.


How did you start dancing?

Dance Recital-That's me on the right


What Did I Do Before I Started Dancing? March 17, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 12:00 PM
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I often ponder this thought because of how much time I spend dancing. And most of the time when I’m not dancing I’m thinking about it. I know I’m addicted, but there are far worse things to be obsessed with, right?

So here it is- what I did before I started dancing.

Golf: I’ll be honest I didn’t even consider this a real sport, but a guy I liked taught golf and invited me to his class. Much to my surprise I actually enjoyed golf. Every week on the driving range I became more aware of how to position my body to use the club to make the ball go where it was supposed to go. (It didn’t work out with the guy but we ended up becoming good friends.)

Painting: In one of my classes the teacher said that with practice anyone could learn the techniques for painting. I started to see this was true. There is so much room for creativity. You can paint impressionist scenes like Van Gogh or bright, happy characters like Britto. This is one of my paintings, it is an interpretation of Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night using a scene from a place near where I work.

Photography: I’m the bossy photographer who likes to make people pose. This involves making cousins pretend they are swimming in a wall sized painting of the ocean or kiss an astronaut suit statue. It’s important to stop and capture the moment though, don’t we all like to look back and remember the good times?

Dancing captures a little bit of each of these activities. It involves an awareness of your body similar to golf. Devoting time to practice to improve your technique and developing your style as with painting. And as we gather together to dance every week, sometimes I like to take a step back and admire the scene, my friends dancing beside me.

What did you do before you started dancing?


These Boots Were Made for Dancin’ February 27, 2012

Filed under: Dance Talk — linedancenow @ 6:20 PM
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Why do we love dancing in our boots?

The first time I wore my dancing boots, I remember dancing to “Somewhere With You”. I did a 3/4 turn and they whirled me around the room and suddenly dancing became even more fun.

Brown Stetson Boots

If you’re going to dance, you don’t want to get rubber bottoms. You want boots that will slide on the dance floor.

The sole on the left is smooth and ideal for dancing, the sole of the boot on the right is rubber and will not slide so it is not good for dancing.

My First Pair of Boots- Ariats - pretty but not functional.

Black Nocona Boots- These are my favorite, I prefer dancing in these low heels now.

Tell us about your boots: Are you the Imelda Marcos of boots? How did you find the perfect pair of boots? Do you have any tips for breaking in or taking care of your boots?

What advice would you give to someone who is about to buy their first pair of boots-where to buy them, your favorite brand, etc.

Post pictures of your boots on Facebook for the DanceintheLine Boot Gallery.


Are You Addicted to Line Dancing? February 18, 2012

Filed under: Quizzes — linedancenow @ 4:00 PM
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Do your family and friends think you spend more time at Round Up than you do at home or with them? Do you say TGIW? Are some of the dances starting to click? Take this quiz to determine how addicted you are to Round Up and Line dancing. Be sure to confess below!

1. When introducing your family/friends to someone new and they ask how the new person knows you, you say:
A. We met through a mutual friend.
B. We work together.
C. From Round Up and they are not surprised.

2. When counting, you start with
A. 1, 2, 3, 4.
B. 5, 6, 7, 8.
C. You begin dancing after hearing 5, 6, 7, 8 even if you aren’t at Round Up.

3. The first day of the week is
A. Sunday.
B. Monday.
C. Wednesday, that is the day Round Up opens.

4. When Lisa teaches a dance
A. Who is Lisa?
B. You are motivated by her promising you will be able to show this dance to your friends tomorrow.
C. She has to do a really fast dance to wear you out so she can teach Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy to people who will get excited by it.

5. The music you like
A. You know some country songs.
B. You can sing along with country songs.
C. You refer to country songs by their dance titles.

6. The cardinal directions are
A. North, South, East and West.
B. Dunkin Donuts, Publix, and 595.
C. Front, Back, Dining Area, and the Stage.

7. When you see Kenny appear with the microphone
A. Who is Kenny?
B. You know you there will be easy dances for you now.
C. The dance floor will be too crowded you either drink or call it a night.

8. You are chatting with your friends when the last two step of a set ends, you
A. Politely listen and wait for them to finish their statement.
B. Wait for a pause so you can politely excuse yourself to go dance, you aren’t listening anymore though.
C. It doesn’t matter, you are all in the stampede to the dance floor.

9. When choosing a Friday night outfit, you wear
A. Plaid and a straw hat.
B. Tank tops/short sleeves and jeans.
C. Whatever color is in the memo.

10. When you order a drink
A. You like to try new things.
B. You have a few favorites.
C. You haven’t had to order a drink in years, Louie starts making your drink when he sees you approaching the bar.

11. You enjoy your drinks
A. On the dance floor and get reprimanded.
B. On the carpet.
C. You are playing sheriff and scolding others for drinking on the dance floor.

12. To keep up with current events you
A. Read the newspaper/watch the news.
B. Read the news online.
C. Anything worth knowing is colorfully written on the mirror behind Roger’s bar.

13. At Round Up you
A. Stand behind tilted stools trying to build up the nerve to take one, no one has been there for 15 minutes.
B. Sit in the same general area.
C. Sit in the exact same place every night unless a stranger gets there before you and then you glare at them for taking “your seat”.

14. Dance Class
A. You wonder why people who know the dances are taking the class, they’re blocking the instructor.
B. You start to figure out which dancers to follow around you.
C. People are following you!

15. How you feel about learning line dances
A. You’re not sure why everyone thinks this is fun.
B. It is fun, but you are thankful for the reminders to smile.
C. Life is always fun because you are a dancer!

If you answered mostly A’s there is still time to save yourself. If you answered mostly B’s you are on a dangerous path. If you answered C’s there’s no turning back. You’re committed to a life of dancing, fun and terrific new friends!


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