Dance in the Line

Line Dance Culture

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.


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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