How did line dancing start

What Is the History of Line Dancing? Some Surprising Facts – Country Dancing Tonight

Line dancing is a popular genre performed by a group of people and is a choreographed dance made of a repeated sequence of steps. Line dances are typically enjoyed at gatherings, celebratory events and are sometimes seen in music videos. Line dancers engage in steps and movements not to entertain others but simply for their own enjoyment. When it comes to the history of line dancing, how exactly did it come to birth and develop into what is known as line dancing today?

Line dancing has its roots in cultural folk dances, but primarily developed into its modern form in the USA in the 1970s & 1980s. Line Dancing became incredibly popular and widespread in the 1990s. Line dancing as we know it was primarily danced to country music, but now embraces many music genres.

There are many different line dances, and just like it now encompasses many modern genres of music today it also has developed into a broad range of difficulty levels in the line dances, rated from beginner to advanced. There have been copious amounts of influences for the genre’s progression. Stick around to find out about the history of line dancing and how it’s become one of the most popular group dances for people of all ages.

What is Line Dancing?

A line dance is a choreographed group dance made out of a repeated sequence of steps. The group of people dances in one or more lines at the exact same time and the minimum number of dancers is 2. Typically, dancers are facing the same way, but sometimes the rows of dancers can face each other. Unlike many popular country partner dances and square dancing, line dancers make minimal to no physical contact with each other.

Line dancing is distinguished by the fact that it is choreographed, unlike other popular dances that are also danced in lines and involve a series of repeating steps. Many folk dances are danced in lines; however, they aren’t choreographed, and even though line dancing stems from folk dancing, it is not considered folk dancing. Line dancing is relatively new, while folk dancing has been around for centuries.

Line dancing involves repeating sequences of steps for the duration of the music. Each repeating set of the sequences are usually called a “wall.” The dance itself is defined by the unique choreographed sequence of steps, and they are typically comprised of 32, 48, or 64 steps. Each repetition of the sequence is identical to all others, except for any personal styling. The repetition of identical sequences is what sets line dancing apart from other forms of dances in lines.

The dancing that we see in music videos, as well as chorus line dancing and folk dancing, does not involve the repetition of an identical sequence. The fact that line dancing is done in lines sets it apart from other modern popular dances, which may even be done to the same music and involve many of the same steps. Dancers usually do these dances solo or with dance partners independently of anyone else on the dance floor.

Line dancing origins

The origins of line dancing somewhat overlap with the history of many other dances, as it stemmed from a combination of various cultures as a result of settlement movements and trending cultures of the time. While it’s uncertain as to how and when exactly line dancing was created, it’s been concluded that line dancing came about as a result of many influences at different points in time, originating from factors present during the 1950s–1970s and right on through to the present day.

Early traditional dances from the 1950s–1970s and folk dances from varying cultures in the 1970s–1990s all played a role in shaping what we know as line dancing to some degree. Certain cultural influences also played a role in shaping line dancing, such as dance TV shows, articles, and the Hollywood film industry, which encouraged many fad dances, serving as inspiration for the formation of line dancing.

Where was line dancing created?

Line Dancing has its roots in European folk dancing, which is a participatory dance form. It is traditional and is usually performed by members of a community. Those dances had been created by agricultural people for secular and ritual purposes. Some of the examples of folk dances are the Balkan Kolo, the English Morris dance, and the North American square dance, as well as Maypole dances and different kinds of sword dances.

It is important to remember that almost all well-established western dance forms are ultimately derived from folk dance. Folk dancing wasn’t only popular in Europe but in the United States as well, and many folk dances have been labeled as “tribal dances.” Folk dancing, as well as line dancing, is a popular dance form rather than a performing dance form. This means that people do folk and line dances as a way to entertain themselves and not the audience. These folk dances are believed to be the root of line dancing.

When was line dancing created?

There isn’t a definitive answer to when line dancing was conceived. Some people believe that line dancing as we know it can be traced back to the round and square dances of Europe, while others think that it’s a relatively modern dance that was created in the 1970s. That being said, the earliest records of line dancing dates back to 1650, where dance instructions written in a book were found, suited to English Country Dancing.

It can therefore be theorized that line dancing originated from European Country or Contra dancing, which was done in New England, and brought over with the settlers who immigrated to the United States at later points in time. The settlers would have brought their culture with them, only to bring it into an environment budding with plenty of cultural influences.

The United States of America is a cultural melting pot. During the 18th and 19th centuries, European folk dances were mixed together. During the mid-1800s, an American country and western dance style had evolved in the West and Midwest of the United States. This new type of dance incorporated some steps and patterns from older folk dances influenced by the culture of the time, and country and western dances were predominantly circle and line dances. This relates to line dancing, as some forms are not done in lines but in circular line formations where the dancers face the inside or the outside.

Contra dances from New England in the early 1800s can be directly linked to European folk dances, which inspired many aspects of modern line dancing. Dancers would form 2 lines, a line of men and a line of women. During the 1960s, some dances appeared that could be called line dances. A dance called “Hully Gully” was very popular in the mid-1960s. This dance included standard steps and was danced in lines. However, it wasn’t choreographed.

“The Stroll,” which was popular from the 1940s to the 1960s, is considered to be an intermediate form between line dancing and contra dancing because it contains elements of both.

It is also believed that line dancing was invented on disco floors during the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the dance was officially labeled as line dancing.

Some early ‘line dances’ included “Bus Stop” and “Nut Bush,” which weren’t choreographed and evolved on disco dance floors.

Check out this vintage video showing The Stroll! Some almost grapevines happening and what sort of appears to be line dancing by the guys and gals waiting their turn to take the “stroll.

Who came up with line dancing?

Line dancing as we know it today was born in 1980, despite the fact that the concept had already been around for a while. In 1980, Jim Ferrazzano choreographed the “Tush Push.” This is one of the most popular and well-known line dances today. This dance is the first known choreographed line dance.

Two more dances were choreographed in the 1980s. Jimmie Ruth White choreographed “The Travelling Four Corners” and “J.R. Hustle.” In their original form, these dances were square dances done to country music, but they were quickly adapted to line dancing.

A lot of folk dances were adapted to country music and renamed. Oakland Boys released “Elvira” in 1981. It is unknown when the dance to the song was choreographed; however, the earliest known step description dates to 1985.

Pinnacle of line dancing

Even though the trend of line dancing was firmly established at this point, the arrival of 1992’s country Western hit, “Achy Breaky Heart,” launched line dancing into wider public consciousness. The song became one of the most popular Billy Ray Cyrus songs, and it was one of the biggest country songs of the 1990s. After the arrival of this song, line dancing became popular all around North America, Australia, and Europe, and dancers started to offer line dance classes.

In 1994, choreographer Max Perry created a worldwide dance hit for the song “Swamp Thing.” This song was a techno song that fused banjo sounds in the melody line. It helped to start a trend of dancing to forms of music other than country.

During the mid-1990s country, western music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. Max Perry and Jo Thompson Szymanski, Scott Blevins, and several others used ballroom rhythms and techniques to take line dancing to the next level. A band called Steps created further interest outside of the United States with the techno song “5, 6, 7, 8” in 1998. Macarena was a hit that was based on a line dance in the mid-1990s.

Line dancing history and timeline

While the formation of line dancing as we know it is rather blurry with so many influences and iconic cultural inspirations, one can estimate the approximate journey from folk and tradition inspired dances to modern line dancing. There have been various events and influences which have inspired the development of line dancing over time, with some having more power of influence than others.

TimeInfluenceCultureImpact on Line Dancing’s Formation
UnknownFolk Dancing and Traditional Dances: The Root of Line DancingMixture: European and Western, possibly many more culturesAlmost all line dance is derived from folk dance, such as the Balkan Kolo, the English Morris dance, the North American square dance, Maypole dances, and sword dances. Many folk dances have been labeled as “tribal dances,” and these folk dances are believed to be the root of line dancing.
1650English Country Dancing, line dance instructions, and dance sheetsEuropeanBased on the document found, it appears that English Country Dances, or Contra dances, were danced in New England and brought over to the US with the settlers.
1800sAmerican country and western dance influences the United StatesWesternThis new type of dance incorporated elements from older folk dances, influenced by the culture of the time. Country and western dances were circle and line dances.
1800sContra influences New EnglandEuropeanContra dances appeared in New England in the early 1800s, and they can be directly linked to European folk dances. Dancers would form 2 lines, a line of men and a line of women.
1927The “Shim Sham” began. This inspired many aspects of line dancing’s development.MixtureThe Shim Sham was originally a warmup exercise for Lindy Hop dancers at the Savoy Club, utilizing Tap and Jazz steps. Edgar Sampson wrote a song called “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” inspired by the distinguishing rhythm of dancers’ feet. The Shim Sham was originally developed in a night club and was later interpreted as a dance at Savoy.
1950s“Madison”MixtureThis dance became very popular in the United States. It is theorized that this dance originated in Chicago or Detroit.
1957“The Stroll,” originally inspired by Chuck Willis’ hit C.C. Rider, and later danced to “Lil Darlin'” by the Diamonds.Mixture“The Stroll” is an intermediate form of line dancing and contra dancing, as it contains elements of both. The Stroll originated on American Bandstand, a popular TV dance party that commenced in 1954. The dance became so popular that Willis was titled the “King of the Stroll.” But, Dick Clark suggested that the Diamonds create a song tailored to the dance, after which their hit “Lil Darlin'” released in 1957 became iconic for the opening line: “Come, let’s Stroll.
1961“San Francisco Stomp”MixtureThis dance became very popular in the United States.
1960s“Hully Gully”MixtureA dance called “Hully Gully” was very popular in the mid-1960s and included standard steps danced in lines. However, it wasn’t choreographed.
1977Hollywood Film IndustryMedia and cultural trendsSaturday Night Fever, directed by John Badham. This musical combined line dance with disco culture and style.
1970s“Electric Slide” choreographed for “Electric Boogie” by Marcia GriffithsMixtureThis dance became very popular in the United States.
1980s“Bus Stop,” and “Nut Bush” which was choreographed for “Nutbush City Limits” by Tina TurnerMixture, disco cultureThe genre was officially labeled as line dancing, but early line dances, including “Bus Stop” and “Nut Bush” weren’t choreographed and evolved on disco dance floors. These two hits were extremely popular in the United States and in Australia.
1980s“Tush Push” by Jim FerrazzanoMixtureThis is one of the most popular and well-known line dances today and is the first known choreographed line dance.
1980s“The Travelling Four Corners” and “J.R. Hustle,” choreographed by Jimmie Ruth WhiteMixtureIn their original form, these dances were square dances done to country music, but they were quickly adapted to line dancing.
1980Hollywood Film IndustryMedia and cultural rendsUrban Cowboy, directed by James Bridges, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger. This influenced the popularity of line dancing in a manner that was relevant and enticing for general audiences.
1981 – 1985“Elvira,” by Oakland BoysMixtureA lot of folk dances were adapted to country music and renamed. It is unknown when the dance to the song was choreographed; however, the earliest known step description dates to 1985.
1985Betty Casey’s “Dance across Texas” that was published by University of Texas PressMediaThis text speaks of the importance of dance socials to early Texans. “The Freeze” and relevant steps were first described in the text, on page 82.
1988“Copperhead Road,” by Steve EarleMusic: Rock RadioThis song inspired the classic line dance named Copperhead Road, the choreographer of which is unknown.
1989“Cruisin'” by Neil Hale, choreographed for “Still Cruisin'” by the Beach BoysMixtureThe iconic “figure 8” shape distinguished this single wall, beginner/intermediate line dance. Cruisin’ was the first internationally acclaimed choreography of its kind to be done to a non-Country/Western song, as it can be danced to varying rhythms, including Latin and Swing. In a poll conducted in England in 2000, it was voted the “Best Known” line dance in the world at the time.
1992Hollywood Film IndustryMedia and cultural trendsGrease directed by Randal Kleiser
1992“Achy Breaky Heart,” by Billy Ray Cyrus. Influences worldwide spread of line dancingMusic: Country WesternThis hit launched line dancing into wider public consciousness. After the arrival of his song, line dancing became popular all around North America, Australia, and Europe.
1994Max Perry choreographed “Swamp Thang” for the song “Swamp Thing”MixtureThis song was techno styled, and fused banjo sounds in the melody line. It helped to start a trend of dancing to forms of music other than country.
1990sBallroom Rhythms and techniques, by Max Perry and Jo Thompson Szymanski, Scott Blevins, and several othersMixturePopular choreographers used ballroom rhythms and techniques to take line dancing to the next level.
1990s“Macarena,” the popular line dance, was createdMixtureMacarena was another hit that was based on a line dance. While this may not be the most popular line dance, this dance has become iconic for the line dance genre and is popular amongst children.
1994Rednex released a popular version of the classic folk songMusicCotton-Eye-Joe has become the most popular line dance.
1998“5, 6, 7, 8, by StepsMixtureA band called Steps created further interest outside of the United States with this techno song.
1999Academy Awards Ceremony, The Gap’s “Khaki Country” ad.Trends and mediaLine dancers danced to the 1999 version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, by Dwight Yoakam.
2008Country Music TelevisionMusic and mediaLine dancing began becoming more popular in Europe and gained the interest of the French government.

There are many more line dances that were created in accordance with the culture and changing developments in the formation of line dancing, all of which had less prominent yet still significant roles in shaping modern line dancing. Other iconic line dances which were created during the 1990s include:

1991Mustang Sally
1992Bar Room Romeo, Linda Lu, Waltz Across Texas
1993Hot Tamales, Midnight Waltz, Dance Ranch Romp
1994Cha Cha Lengua, Rock It
1995Smokey Places, Fly Like a Bird, Black Dresses
1996Cruise Control, Swing Time Boogie, Uno, Dos, Tres (aka 13 MWZ)
1997Running Bear, Ribbon of Highway, Hey Bruce
1998Got to be Funky, Dizzy
1999Jai’ Du Boogie, What’s Your Name, Whole Lotta Peppas, Storybook Endings

The most popular forms of line dancing

Line dances are separated into different categories depending on how many walls they use in their dancing sequence. The most commonly used forms of line dancing are one-wall dances, two-wall dances, and four-wall dances.

The Macarena was a hit in the mid-1990s and it is still very popular today. The Chacha Slide was choreographed by a Chicago DJ called Mr. C. The Hokey Pokey is a very popular line dance for children, and The Hoedown Throwdown is a song featured in Hannah Montana: The Movie, which increased its popularity. The most popular country line dance is Cotton-Eye-Joe, which became prevalent when Rednex released their version of the classic folk song in 1994.

It’s not often when line dancing gets the kind of exposure it did in the movie Hannah Montana: The Movie. But another such occasion was in the remake of the movie Footloose in 2011. For the dance scene early in the movie, there was a new and actually pretty advanced line dance choreographed to the song by Big & Rich called Fake ID. The line dance goes by the same name. To find out more about this line dance and even learn it yourself see my post: What Line Dance is in the Movie Footloose? Is it Easy to Learn?

Line Dancing and Country Music

During the early years of line dancing, country music wasn’t intimately connected with line dancing. Some line dances were done to country music, but most were done to contemporary music. Line Dancing was still primarily centered on Western songs, however, its newfound mainstream appeal would see the dance format spread out to other more pop-centric musical genres as well. This is partly because line dancing had exhausted the market of country music fans.

Another reason is that line dancers became more and more experienced and were beginning to experiment. They started looking to other musical styles and writing dances to songs that they liked, instead of writing dances to currently popular country songs. The shift to non-country music was very universal. In some parts of the world, like the United Kingdom, line dancing is almost never done to the country anymore. Most dances in England are to non-country music, and in Australia, people have maintained a balance, with a mix of non-country and country songs.

Line dancing today

Today, line dancing has very similar traditional dances to country music and less traditional dances to non-country music. Line dancers dance to most styles of music, not just country music. There are many popular line dances, including The Hora, Cupid Shuffle, Catwalk Shuffle, Tush Push, The Stroll, Hokey Pokey, Chicken Dance, and many more which are still practiced in modern line dancing.

As time progressed, the previous standard of dances being choreographed to music switched to music being written specifically for line dancing. Line dance now has iconic customary dances choreographed to country music, and less conventional dances suited to non-country music. It now utilizes far more than conventional country music, incorporating most styles of music.

This includes country, modern pop, Irish, Latin, disco, rap, dance club, rock ‘n roll, and much more, making it ideal for modern culture as well as people of all ages and musical preferences. Modern line dancing has adapted extensively and is often done in combination with other styles such as western promenade dances, western variants of the waltz, swing, and polka, as well as a country two-step. There are many online databases that describe the details of existing line dance routines, coupled with the name of the choreographer and the music which it was intended to compliment.

Although all forms of line dancing, whether it be country, classic, or high-energy line dancing, have undeniably become widespread and popular worldwide, there are still certain areas that exhibit a higher level of enthusiasm and commitment to the dance. Line dancing remains predominantly popular in the United States, Australia, Europe, and England, and Durham, N.C, was declared as the line dancing capital of America in 2014 based on the statistics of people who participated regularly.

Line dancing is certainly a unique and special genre of dance, as it holds key remaining elements of so many historical timeframes and cultural traditions. It has displayed a wonderful combination of so many cultural influences, with the achievement of creating something which can be enjoyed worldwide regardless of age, social activity, cultural background, or tradition.

Although the genre has developed to cater to dancers of varying cultures and calibers, it still remains a popular activity for individuals of all ages and levels, suitable for solo enthusiasts, couples, and small to large groups. With line dancing having undergone so many developments, there is definitive anticipation with regard to more exciting developments in choreography and music for line dancers to look forward to in years to come.

History of Line Dancing - Rockin' Horse Dance Barn

This history page is still in progress as more data is being collected. Please don’t copy or use it as absolute facts yet. It’s just a reference for those interested in Line Dancing History.


Many cultures have had dances done in lines as well as circles as far back as recorded history. Examples would be African dances, Native American dances as well as European dances. They might not look like the line dances we do today but dance is always evolving. We see that even today with many “new” styles of dance. New generations create new moves, styles, movements and of course the music affects the dances as well.


The Shim Sham began. Legend has it the Shim Sham was a warmup exercise (named after its first step) for Lindy Hop dancers at the Savoy Club using Tap and Jazz steps. Edgar Sampson wrote a song called “Stompin’ at the Savoy” based on the distinctive rhythm of the dancer’s feet. When the Frankie Manning was asked: “Were the Shim Sham or other line dances done at the Savoy?” Frankie replied: “Yes, but not like we do them now. The Shim Sham actually originated in a night club. We would take it to the Savoy, and we would just start doing it. It wasn’t organized or anything.” Frankie Manning: May 26, 1914 – April 27, 2009

1957 approx

The The Stroll started on American Bandstand, the popular TV dance party that began in 1954. The dance was inspired by Chuck Willis’ hit C.C. Rider. It became so popular that Willis was dubbed “King of the Stroll.” But the dance soon got a song of its own when Dick Clark suggested to the Diamonds that they create a song specifically for the dance. The Diamonds hot with their hit Lil Darlin’ (1957), struck gold again with The Stroll — famous for its opening line,”Come, let’s Stroll.”.

1959 approx

The Madison probably started in Chicago, although it may have been Detroit or Cleveland.


The Cowboy Boogie (aka. The Watergate) is started. Choreographed by Kenneth Erle Engel (Kentucky Ken). He originally named the dance Watergate after the Nixon scandal later, by an unknown person it became The Cowboy Boogie.


The Electric Slide is started. The dance was created by American dancer Ric Silver. Originally it was called The Electric, but because the song the lyrics are “I’ll teach you the electric slide,” many dancers thought the dance was called the Electric Slide . It was choreographed to the international hit song Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths. The song was originally released in 1976 and re-released in 1989, when it became a dance craze.


The Tush Push is started. The dance was choreographed by Kenneth Erle Engel (Kentucky Ken)


The Flying 8 is created. Choreographed by Kenneth Erle Engel (Kentucky Ken). Since all line dances at the time were done facing the same way Ken decided to create a variation on Four Corners so the dancers could cross through each other.


The Walkin’ Wazi is started. Choreographed by Michael Callahan & Dave Getty (per Michael Callahan) Thanks for your interest in the Walkin’ Wazi …Let me very briefly tell you what really happened. The original dance didn’t have a name. It was just one of several that my friend and I created together circa 1971. My friend’s name was Wozzy. At least that’s how most people knew him. Only his family and very close friends knew his real name was Doug Todd. In memory of all the good times we had in college, I gave the dance the name of it’s co-originator “Wozzy”. I taught this dance to many friends over the next 15 years, including the other members of our dance team, the West 40 Flyers, in 1986. But that original dance is only the beginning of the “Walkin’ Wazi”.
In order for the team to do this dance in competition, steps were added at the end to create a transition to another line dance, the Bonanza, to complete our solo dance number. The team’s official choreographer, Dave Getty added the grapevines and basketball turns for this purpose, and the dance was renamed “Walkin’ Wazi” for obvious reasons. He didn’t know the correct spelling for Wozzy.


Dave Serfling starts teaching people to dance. The Cowboy Boogie and Electric Slide were the first 2 “Line” Dances he taught. He later made some changes to a Waltz line dance and renamed it Dave’s Waltz so there wouldn’t be any confusion with the other line dance.


Cruisin’ was choreographed by Neil Hale


The Achy Breaky Heart craze hits.


The Macarena became a dance craze


The Cha-cha Slide started in 1996/1998 and gained traction in the USA in 2001


The Cha-cha Slide (Part 2) was recorded.

The Cupid Shuffle started. It’s by Cupid.


The Wobble came out


The Outlaw was choreographed by Suzanne Wilson

Line dance - Line dance

Line dance at Wikimania 2016 in Yoshino Lario

Line dance is a choreographed dance in which a group of people dance together with a repeating sequence of steps, while arranged in one or more lines or lines. These lines usually face the same direction or, more rarely, face each other. Unlike a round dance, line dancers are not in physical contact with each other. Each dance is usually associated with and named after a particular song, such as Cha Cha Slide, Macarena (both self-titled) or Electric Slide (associated with single 1982 years old "Electric Boogie" are some of the line dances that have been a part of contemporary American culture over the years.

Line dancing is practiced and taught in country-western dance bars, social clubs, dance clubs and ballrooms. It is sometimes combined in dance programs with other forms of country western such as two-step, western prom dances, and Western-style variants of the waltz, polka, and swing. From the beginning 19In the 70s, line dancing accompanied many popular musical styles, including pop, swing, rock and roll, disco, Latin music (salsa suelta), rhythm and blues, and jazz.

The term "contemporary line dance" is now used in many line dance clubs around the world to indicate which dance styles will include a mixture of all genres, including pop, latin, irish, big band and country. This indicates clubs that no longer wear western-style clothes or shoes. Participants dress in casual attire and often wear dance shoes.


  • 1. History
    • 1.1 1950s-1970s: Development of the
    • style
    • 1.2 1980s to present
  • 2 Wall
  • 3 See also
  • 4 links
  • 5 External links


Madison dancers before the quarter turn

The exact origin of line dancing is not entirely clear. Regarding the confusion, music historian Christy Lane stated that "If you were to ask 10 people with some knowledge about when line dancing began, you would probably get 10 different answers." By and large, the rise and popularity of line dancing is mostly due to country and western music.

It is likely that at least some of the steps and terminology used in modern line dancing originated from dances brought to North America by European immigrants in the 1800s. During the 1860s–1890s, a style began to emerge from these dances that would later become known as Country Western dance. Schools in the United States began incorporating dance, especially folk dancing, into physical education classes in the 1900s, popularizing folk and country dancing as a social activity. Finally, military personnel returning from World Wars I and II sometimes brought European dances to the United States, including elements of American dance styles.

1950s–1970s: style development

One of the first true line dances was the Madison, a new dance created and first performed in Columbus, Ohio in 1957. The popularity of this dance and record in Baltimore, Maryland caught the attention of the producers of "Buddy Dean". Show in 1960, which led other dance shows to start picking it up. The 1961 "San Francisco Stomp" fits the definition of a line dance.

In the era of disco music 19The 70s saw the emergence of many new dance styles, including many line dances set to disco songs. "LA Hustle", a modified version of Madison, began at a small disco in Los Angeles in the summer of 1975 and reached the East Coast (with altered steps) in the spring of 1976 as "Bus Stop". Another line dance from the 70s is the Nutbush performed to Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits". The popular dance Electric Slide associated with the song "Electric Boogie" was created in 1976 from a demo of the song, which was not released as a single until 1982. The release of Saturday Night Fever in 1977 called for discos and discos. the dance styles associated with it reached a new peak in popularity.

Line dancing to country music also became popular during this era, with the introduction of two notable dances in 1972, Walkin' Wazi and Cowboy Boogie.

1980s to present

Line dancers in Neustadt on the Spree, Saxony, Germany

The 1980 film Urban Cowboy set off a trend in country and western culture, especially in related dance, music and clothing. Over a dozen line dances were created for country songs during the 1980s. Many other early line dances were adaptations of the disco line dance. The chicken dance is an example of a line of dance that was adopted by the Mod revival during the 1980s.

The music video for Billy Ray Cyrus's 1990 song "Achy Breaky Heart" has been credited for bringing line dancing into the mainstream.

In the 1990s, the popular Spanish dance song "Macarena" inspired a popular line dance.

The line dance for the 1990 "Asleep at the Wheel" single "Boot Scootin' Boogie" was choreographed by Bill Bader. A cover of the 1992 Brooks & Dunn song resulted in at least 16 line dances with "Boot Scootin' Boogie" in the title. Billy Ray Cyrus' 1992 hit "Achy Breaky Heart" helped catapult Western styling dancing into the public consciousness. At 1994 choreographer Max Perry released the world dance hit "Swamp Thang" for the song "Swamp Thing" by The Grid. It was a techno song that combined the sounds of the banjo into a melodic line and helped start the trend of line dancing towards other forms of music other than country. During the mid-1990s, country-western music was greatly influenced by the popularity of line dancing.

Max Perry along with Joe Thompson Szymanski, Scott Blevins and a few others started using ballroom rhythms and technique to take line dancing to the next level. At 19In '97, the Steps sparked further interest outside of the US with their dance techno song "5,6,7,8". In 1999, American retailer Gap Inc. introduced the "Khaki Country" advertisement at the Academy Awards in which dancers performed a 1999 version of Dwight Yoakam's Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

The emergence of the Country Music Television channel in Europe contributed to the growth of the popularity of line dancing there. In 2008, line dancing came to the attention of the French government.

According to MeetUp groups per capita in the US, Durham, North Carolina was declared the Line Dance Capital of America in 2014.


Line dancing at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii

Each dance is said to be composed of several walls . The wall is the direction the dancers are facing at any given time: forward (the direction they are facing at the beginning of the dance), back, or one of the sides. The dancers may change direction many times during a scene, and may even find themselves face to face halfway between two walls at any time; but at the end of the sequence, they will be facing the original wall, or any of the other three. Whatever the wall is, the next iteration of the sequence uses that wall as the new coordinate system.

  • In dance at one wall , the dancers face the same direction at the end of the sequence as at the beginning (no turn or full turn, 360 degrees).
  • In a dance with two walls , the repetitions of the sequence end alternately at the back and front walls. In other words, the dancers actually turned 180 degrees during one set (half turn). The samba line is an example of a double wall dance. Performing the "volt" step, the dancers turn 180 degrees to face the new wall.
  • In dance with four walls the direction of gaze at the end of the sequence is 90 degrees to the right or left of the direction they were facing at the beginning (a quarter of a turn). 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 vanity dance is an example of a dance with four walls, because in the final drawing they turn 90 degrees left to face the new wall. In some dances, they turn 270 degrees, a "three-quarter turn", to face the new wall.

See also

  • Khaka
  • Chorus line

referenced literature

external links

  • "Complete list of official line dance world records: 'World's longest line dance' and 'World's longest line dance'" (according to Guinness and also up to Guinness world records for line dancing)

Line dance -

World Championship 2014, Kalkar, Lilt .

Line dance is a type of line dance which is the repetition of choreography by changing direction, i. e. to say that the choreography repetitions face four different walls (corresponding to the four cardinal points). Dance Lines is derived from country dance line , more commonly known as country dance .


  • 1 History
  • 2 Practice
  • 3 Competition
  • 4 Outfit
  • 5 world champions
  • 6 Notes and references


Since the 1990s line dance has really established itself as an independent sport. For years, country music was ignored because it required maintaining a relationship or dressing like a cowboy. Line dance has taken its place since it is based on the rhythm of country dance , but it is done alone. Gradually line dance lessons appeared on weekdays at Midnight Rose in Pennsylvania or at the Brandywine Volunteer Fire Department in Maryland. Expansion was quick, and the cowboy costume was taken up again to please followers, both confirmed and novice: One night a week, all practitioners played urban cowboys.

You must be back a little early to see the craze start line dance : it was in 1980 that we saw the return of country music and all that culture from the southern United States. Along with Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus, dance clubs are gradually returning to this distinctive musical style for the pleasure of former dancers. The most popular dance was the famous Cat Eyed Joe . It was followed in 1983 by the Electric Coaster , recognized in all country clubs in the country. It was an ordinary, simple dance on four walls, consisting of eighteen beats. Anyone could practice this without any problems.

On , about 3,000 people gathered in Washington DC to celebrate this dance: " Electric Coaster Day ". For forty-five minutes, everyone present danced this choreography, and this made the Line dance a cultural phenomenon. Many derivatives of this dance appeared as Cowboy Boogie Woogie or Electric Rider , solidifying its popular status. She achieved the same recognition as Macarena .

In 1992, a new choreography appeared - the song " Achy Breaky Heart " by Billy Ray Cyrus. This opened the door to many other choreographies and thus to the concept of a complete line dance repertoire.


Interest in line dance is simple: it is accessible to everyone and at any age. On the dance floor, usually with a wooden floor, people of all ages can socialize. It is not uncommon to see a child dancing alongside their grandparents in so-called "family" clubs. Line dance is divided into several levels for the ease of its practitioners. At country clubs we divide the group into two: for beginners and for intermediate level. Confirmed category - instructor. Choreographies are also classified by difficulty level.

The hallmark of the line dance is at the level of the hands, or rather at the level of not using the hands. In fact, in the club, dancers are encouraged to place their hands at waist level, in the front or back pockets of their trousers, or even cross their arms over their backs. It is this attitude that gives country and line dance look like a cowboy walk. Today the hand movements have been added to the modern line dance competition, but remain unique to everyone, with no obligation or imposed movements. In some dances, the choreographers applied hand or finger claps, which were considered complete movements of the choreography.

Choreographies are classified according to the level of difficulty and style. On average, they have from 32 to 64 strokes and may contain options: either restart , which represents the time in the choreography when it stops being restarted at the beginning to match the music, or tag . Tag is a small piece of choreography starting from 4 to 8 beats in total and which is added at a certain point in the dance. Professional dancers, often associated with the World CDF, create choreography and then describe the movements on a sheet which is commonly referred to by instructors as step sheet . These sheets are posted on the official websites and are available to everyone. Each step is numbered so the dancer can navigate.

In line dance, certain movements have certain names: jazz box , coaster step , vaudeville or barrel are classical steps. In this way, the steps can be understood by everyone and easier to remember, because this vocabulary is used in all languages.


Dutch Championship 2013, Kalkar, Germany.

Today, line dance has become world famous with regional, national and international competitions. At the international level, the World CDF (World Federation of National Dances) was created, which has representatives around the world. National competitions are governed by the World CDF and are available at different levels. In order to move from category to category, you must score points by winning prizes in national competitions.

There are an average of fourteen national competitions that take place throughout the year and range from Norway to Spain, through Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The World Championship is held once a year, and the venue changes almost every year. In 2014, the World Championships took place from January 4th to in Kalkar, Germany.

To be able to participate, you need a license and sometimes a full weekend trip to the venue. The competition is divided into six main categories: Social , available to all beginners and consisting of only three dances: Beginner , Beginner , Intermediate , Advanced and Megastar . Dancers are divided into age categories, namely: elementary , youth , teenager , adult , diamond , silver and gold . There are other additional categories such as the category for couples , or even for professionals (couple dancing with a professional) or for demonstration . All of these categories are listed on the federation website.

To hope to make it to the podium, you need to perform five dances across all possible genres. The dance styles are numerous and mostly derived from ballroom dancing.

Lilt A type of dance in which the level of the head is not constant

Examples: polka, East Coast swing and samba

Cuban Type of dance from cha-cha-cha and mambo
Funky Made from hip hop
Rise and fall Made from waltz
Smooth Type of dance with constant head level

Examples: Nightclub, (Triple) Two Step, West Coast Swing.

New It classifies types of dances that are not part of the already predefined types.

Other federations allow dancers to compete. UCWDC, the oldest of them all, brings together hundreds of participants from all over the world through regional competitions in the USA and national competitions in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Lithuania and other countries . .. Worlds are held every time. year in the USA. There are several categories of levels: Novice, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Crown and Superstar .


Both women and men must wear shoes to dance at national level competitions. Most dancers use special flexible shoes. For men, wearing a headdress is mandatory. No advertising or club logos may be worn in competition, except for dancers competing together in team .

Often dancers have different outfits for each choreography depending on the type of dance. For example, a waltz dress for Rise and Fall , sneakers (only allowed in this dance) for Funky etc.

World Champions

The following are the current 2014 World Champion title holders:

9Ralph Giordano, La Danse Country et western: the entire history of country and line dance in the United States, from its origins to the present day , Toulouse, C.
Initial Youth Teen Adult Crystal Diamond Silver Gold Jewel
Social Manon Dury Maxwell Collin Mühlebach and Andrea Leksova Nikola Molendova Jürgen Baranski and Kerstin Mildner No champion Ina Kaden Denis Hue and Marie-Laure Morin No champion No champion
Beginner No Champion Norina Mayer Baptiste Caminotto and Shannon Mulligan Fabio Zanella and Audrey Resser Katherine Remy Jan Karlestedt and Aga Karlsson Veronique Andre
Beginner Mark Schmid and Clara Severi Matej Kucera and Anja Riste Gaëtan Bachellerie and Fredrik Tumlare Miriam Hänsch Ota Tom Dvorak and Lawrence Jinja Martinho Konstantin Preitnacher and Patricia Pedesert Randy Millenberg
Medium Yasmine Christensen Matteo Orlando and Baiba Apena Fabio Rodolfi and Samantha Suntory Christian Nijdam and Elena Santajugliana Wilhelm Krapfl and Deborah Giuliani Fabio Pesavento and Winnie von Kier Anthony Ruiz Ruiz and Eleonora Perrone
Advanced No champion Emilia Oman Aaron Byrne and Kristelin Schaapman Erica Boccagni

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