5 Helpful Tips for Line Dancing

Something to remember while learning to line dance, and this is very important: Catch onto the steps that you can for the dance you are learning, and trust that you will pick up the rest of the dance with time and practice. You might pick up the walking to the right four steps and walking to the left four steps, but not anything else at first. But with each subsequent time you go over the line dance, whether that is during class while your instructor is teaching, or practicing at home you will pick up more and more. By the way, it is not uncommon for me to FINALLY get the steps on the last rotation when the song is just about over. ­čÖé

Try to find a class to attend in person. The instructional videos found online are great, but if you are a beginner I believe it will be much easier to make sense of the instruction in real life. Realize you may flail around in the beginning, we have all been there. Just keep moving and keep trying. Even if you think you have two left feet, you will get it!

Keep in mind as you learn each dance, you are learning steps that will almost certainly be used in other dances. After you have been line dancing for awhile, you will find that you pick up the dances more quickly, and part of that is because you already learned those steps in previous dances.

Be sure to wear appropriate shoes. To my first class I wore athletic shoes, the type that you would wear to work out or run in. I did not know that because they grip, they prevent your feet from moving (pivoting) on the dance floor. This can be harmful to your knees and other joints. If you can’t find dance sneakers, at the very least invest in “dance socks” which will allow you to wear just about any kind of shoe. See my review on Dance Socks to learn more.

If you love the song, you will LOVE the dance! Many of my old favorite songs from when I was a teen have a line dance to go with them. The easiest way to find out is to do a search on YouTube with the name of the song,with the words “line dance” in quotations and you may find a line dance to the song you love.

Over At Fannie Mae’s Line Dance

I recently attended the NOLA Southern Experience hosted by Linda Simms, “The Who Dat Teacher”. It was a fabulous, amazing event and I felt like Cinderella when it was over. Linda taught this line dance at one of the workshops. Here is the instructional video, taught by Constance Jones.

Dance: Over At Fannie Mae’s
Choreographer: Aline Goodman
Song: Over at Fannie Mae’s
Artist: Charles Wilson

Here is a video of the same group as above performing this line dance so that you can dance along.

SOSU Easy Step Soul Line Dance

SOSU Easy Step is definitely a beginner line dance. It’s super easy to learn, the music has a great beat and it’s fun!

YouTube video performance (above): Beginners 2nd Friday Line Dance Class at SETAY Dance Studio
YouTube video instructions (below): Lady D NOLA
Choreographer: Lady D NOLA
Song: Lights, Camera, Action (Instrumental) [This song is not readily available but you can use this YouTube version for line dancing: https://youtu.be/RZTK9spPbg8]
Artist: Mr. Cheeks
Step sheet: I couldn’t locate step sheets, but here is my cheater version:

Walk right, walk right (four steps – right, left, right, left) Walk left, walk left (four steps – left, right, left, right)

Walk right, walk right (four steps – right, left, right, left) Walk left, walk left (four steps – left, right, left, right)

Shuffle up right, shuffle up left

Shuffle back right, shuffle back left

Rock one two (1/4 turn left), rock three four

Pivot 1/2 turn left, another pivot 1/2 turn left

Bring it down (four counts), bring it up (four counts)

Start over!

What if You Don’t Like a Line Dance?

Dance Class

It’s going to happen. You’re going to come across a line dance or two or three that you don’t care for, or maybe even straight out dislike. Maybe you don’t like the music;┬á some music is going to move you to your core, other music just won’t.┬áI have learned for myself that much of whether I love, like or dislike a line dance relies heavily upon the music.

Or maybe you don’t like the moves.

What do you do if you don’t like the music or the line dance?

The solution is easy, sit it out.

This is the perfect option for parties or a line dance conference.┬á Typically you’ll be dancing for hours in a situation like this so it’s a great chance to sit for a few minutes and catch your breath. Maybe you should visit the little girl’s room because who knows when your next favorite line dance will start and you’ll be racing to the floor.

But what if you’re in a class? The right thing to do in this case is to learn the dance, and dance with your class. Why? Here are some reasons:

Respect For Your Class Instructor

It’s disrespectful to your instructor to sit out for a dance you don’t like just because you don’t like it. Your instructor took the time to learn this dance and not only learn it, but commit it to memory so that he or she can teach it to you step by step, and maybe has even memorized the right words/phrases to call out the steps.

It’s not as easy as you might think to teach line dancing. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not terribly hard, but it does take time and effort. That is, if you want to do it right. You’re an instructor, you should take pride in what you do. Learn whatever you can about line dance and give your students the best experience you can. I have been very lucky to have a professional, empathetic instructor who shines much brighter than most other instructors I’ve known.

The next time you don’t like a line dance, remember your instructor spent valuable time from his or her daily life just for the class and you.

Modify the Steps or Movements

Not liking the steps can often be related to physical discomfort, or simply an inability to perform the steps/moves. If your instructor is good at what she does, she will have alternative steps for you to do. If she doesn’t volunteer alternative steps, ask. A good instructor should know which steps can be a challenge and have alternatives. If she doesn’t already have┬á them, she should be able to quickly come up with alternative steps.

Let’s say doing a full turn makes you dizzy. There are ways to counteract the dizziness such as “spotting” (read more about that here: Ballroom Turns and Dizziness), and building a tolerance but your instructor should be able to help you figure out what to do so that you can just step in place. Full turns often require four counts, so it might be as easy as stepping in place four times. You’ll stay facing north, the rest of the room turns and you all end up facing north.

Maybe you can’t perform or don’t like the movement for some steps. As an example at times my back feels tight and it feels uncomfortable to bend at the waist, so I just stay upright. Some line dances have you bumping and grinding to the floor but if you might end up stuck, just don’t go so far.

Working Your Brain

Even if you don’t like the line dance or the music, you are still learning and perfecting line dance steps. Steps that you’re going to recognize in other line dances. Every single time you line dance, you get better at it. Every single line dance you learn, you strengthen your brain and memorization ability. You may even have to try a little harder without that oomph of joy from loving the music. Did you know you’re also strengthening your willpower by this simple act of pushing through something which is not really that unpleasant. After all, it is line dancing.

It’s Still Exercise

Taking those steps and working that dance is still exercise, even if you aren’t 100% into it.

I will be honest with you… I have never liked exercise. I could even go so far as to say I hated it. Even as a young child I had low energy and you would find me reading a book any day over physical exercise. But line dancing? I enjoy it so much that I don’t even consider it to be exercise. But there is a little voice in my head that is shouting for joy that the body is moving!

Maybe It’s Time to Find a New Class

If you find yourself┬á in a situation where you know you love line dancing but are disliking the class, it might be time to find a new class. I know line dance classes are far and few between so we can’t be too choosy. But this is an extreme solution. Hopefully there is just a random song once in awhile that you don’t like.

What You Should Not Do

Going back to the first reason, respect for your instructor… never complain out loud that you don’t like this line dance. Ditto for the dancer standing in line next to you. There’s no reason to say a word to anyone, keep it to yourself. You can do anything for 5 minutes at a time so just tell yourself it will be over soon.

Happy Line Dancing!

Stroll Along Cha Cha Line Dance

YouTube video performance (above): Kenny J Dancers
YouTube video performance instructions (below): Island Station
Choreographer: Rodeo Cowboys & John Sandham
Song used by Kenny J:  Try My Side of Love
Artist: Chi-Lites
Step sheet: http://dance-n-time.com/ld_stroll_along_cha_cha_beg.pdf