How to second line dance

New Orleans Wedding Second Lines

{Jocelyn + Paul}

People from all over the world admire New Orleans for its rich tradition, culture and for its unique, lively atmosphere. Great times, great food, and great music are not hard to come by. In this city, everyday is a celebration. “Laissez les bons temps rouler” translated as, “Let the good times roll” is our motto and there is rarely an occasion that is not considered to be worthy of celebration. Weddings in New Orleans are unique experiences in themselves. One of the most popular traditions of all during weddings is the infamous Second Line.

The Second Line has a deep, rich history in New Orleans. When performed during weddings, it signifies the beginning of a new life for the bride and groom.

A Second Line has two parts. The “First line” is usually the band or the ones being honored. The bride and groom, as well as the band would be the “first line” at a Second Line for a wedding. The newly married couple leads the way, usually holding decorated umbrellas or parasols. The guests and anyone else who joins in the celebration are referred to as the “second line”. They form a line behind the band and couple, dancing and strutting to the lively music with handkerchiefs or cocktail napkins.

If a couple is celebrating their wedding in New Orleans, it is safe to assume that they will have some form of a Second Line during their wedding. Whether it’s dancing around the venue, or parading around the streets of New Orleans, Second Lines and New Orleans weddings are synonymous. Excellent party favors would be to get all of your guests handkerchiefs personalized with your names and wedding date, so that everyone can join in on the festivities. Special hand painted umbrellas or parasols for the bridesmaids would be another great idea to consider.It is up to the bride and groom to decide how elaborate they want their second line to be.

It would be essentially be a parade with the married couple as the center of attention. Police officers on motorcycles clearing the way in honor of the newly married couple; Sirens blaring, authentic New Orleans music being played by a live brass band; people trying to get a glimpse of this unique spectacle.

Consider buying beads for your wedding party guests so that they can throw them to spectators in the street. Getting the crowd outside involved will make the moment that much more exciting.

Taking it to the streets while tourists and natives alike join in the celebration of your wedding is definitely a thrilling experience. Either way a couple decides to go, a good time will surely be had by all.

“A typical second line around the city usually lasts about 5 to 8 blocks, usually 20 to 30 minutes. It might be a good idea to put on flats before hitting the streets! Brides, consider providing flip flops for your party to make the Second Line a comfortable experience.

Second Line parade police escorts are also needed to make a Second Line happen for a wedding to ensure safety and avoid abrupt halts. Police escorts are provided by the police department and the number of escorts depends on the size of the party and the parade route chosen.

Treat your guests to a great time, and make this day even more memorable and special for you and your spouse.

The BuckShop! Secondline Dance Workshop + Parade w/ Michelle Gibson & OSLP... — Afro Urban Society

11/18 | 2-4PM
[The BuckShop] w/ Michelle Gibson & Oakland Secondline Project [Live Music]
Secondline Dance Workshop & Parade
Malonga Casquelourd Center: 1428 Alice St, Oakland: 2nd Floor, Studio A
Co-presented by The Oakland Secondline Project, Kongo SQ West, nzo.CALIFA Dance Works & Rara Tou Limen

Instructed & Ushered by New Orleans Michelle Gibson Native and accompanied by authentic LIVE Secondline Band, the BuckShop will engage you in the culture and traditions of the Black New Orleans community as it pertains to our dance, music & history. New Orleans, one of the most unique and culturally enriched cities in the United States, continues to maintain its Diasporic traditions everyday through its music, dance, food, language, and art just to name a few. Conjuring up dances on the scared grounds of Congo Square, as we Second Line down the streets of Oakland is who we be.

This event is presented as part of the Afro Urban Society's 2018 Bakanal de Afrique, Afro Urban Festival For more information and full festival listing visit


Michelle N. Gibson [The BuckShop] | Dance Instructor/Secondline
Michelle N. Gibson, choreographer, instructor, and performing artist, received her B.F.A in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance and Performance Studies from Hollins University/American Dance Festival at Duke University graduate program. Relocated to Dallas, Texas after Katrina, New Orleans native Michelle studied at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the American Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow, and the Urban Bush Women's, "Walking with Pearl Primus" intensive. Her motion picture credits include having been cast as a featured dancer in the Academy Award nominated film, Interview With a Vampire, the Academy Award winning film Ray, and the movie Just My Luck with Lindsay Lohan.

Michelle Gibson’s choreographic works include New Orleans Second Line: Takin It To The Roots performed at the American Dance Festival summer 2011, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters with the Dallas Children's Theatre, currently on tour; "Krump" choreographed and accompanied by the LoneStar Wind Orchestra at the Meyerson Center; Texas Educators Music Conference in San Antonio accompanying the Texas University Orchestra; 2008 South Dallas Dance Festival premiering excerpts from I Made It, But Some Didn't, a tribute to souls survivors of Hurricane Katrina; the Dallas premiere of Evolution: Honoring, recognizing, and uplifting women of color and Sisters of the Yam which premiered at South Dallas Cultural Center in 2012.

Bakanal de Afrique (BdA), is an Afro Urban festival. The gifted child of Afro Urban Society, BdA brings us together across cultures, and showcases new, emerging and underground urban art, culture and people through performance, workshops, visual media and conversations. The festival features multiple days of events in collaboration with artists and various organizational partners.

Afro Urban Society is an exuberant network of brilliant artists and culture workers dedicated to celebrating the unique expressions of Urban Africans through programs, performances and productions.

The Oakland Second Line Project Founded by native New Orleanian Nate Cameron and Bay Area brass band MJ’s Brass Boppers, The Oakland Second Line Project is a cultural community experience bringing the authentic African roots of Second Line History and spirit of community building from New Orleans to POC communities of Oakland, Ca. The Oakland Second Line Project aims to bring free quality black cultural arts community experiences to black neighborhoods of Oakland, Ca that otherwise would not traditionally have access to them. Our brand hopes to achieve leaving the black communities we work in inspired with sustainable ideas, skills, community resources, and networking system all while appreciating and supporting local black arts and artists. FB: The Oakland Second Line Project IG: @OaklandSecondLine

Kongo SQ West Kinship Society Inspired by its historical moniker, Kongo SQ West Kinship Society boasts over 10 years of dedicated service “serving to build bridges, restore networks and bind cultural ties.” In response to the Gulf Coast Hurricanes, a call to action propelled its launch in 2005 providing distinct services of impact in Relief campaign advancement and Social Entrepreneurship to include: Bay Area, CA, New Orleans, Harlem, Houston, Haiti, Peru and the Congo. A respected leadership in creating “kinship-partnered” initiatives, co-produce Commemorative concerts and events in the Bay Area such as A Night of Tribute in Dance: Honoring Dance & Drum Pioneers partnered with the San Francisco Int'l Festival, The Malonga Center #REUNION2013 partnered with City of Oakland Parks and Rec , Rara Tou Limen's Rasanble Haitian Arts and Culture and Cristo Moreno: Afro Peruvian Musical partnered with De Rompe y Raja Cultural Organization. Building ART with celebrated Visionaries, Change leaders and Cultural Architects, that manifest a legacy of excellence in Cultural Arts. #KSQwest

  • ●kinship portals: Oakland, New Orleans, Harlem...

  • ●kinfolks exchange: Salvador da Bahia, Haiti, Cuba, Peru

  • ●African connexUS sites: Congo, Senegal, Guinea, Nigeria

Rara Tou Limen Established in 2004 by Artistic Director Portsha Jefferson, Rara Tou Limen has continually offered Bay Area residents, as well as people from all over the United States, the opportunity to experience Haitian music, dance and culture through classes, workshops, performances and educational events in both the United States and in Haiti. Our mission is to educate audiences about the richness of Haitian culture through artistic expression, while building and enhancing working relationships with other Haitian cultural groups in the U.S. and Haiti. The company is carrying on the long legacy of creating strength and solidarity within the Haitian community, while actively raising awareness (and funds) for Haitian organizations

Also about dancing, about the first line

Tell us how it goes in your dance groups?
First row, first line - is it constant or changing?
That year they came to study in a dance and choreographic group. This team has several subgroups - our youngest, there is an average, there is an older one.
That year I didn't think about it, I just watched the performances of older groups at concerts, I liked it. But even then I noticed that, in fact, in the main roles and in general in the first line - familiar faces. nine0003 I thought about it and started asking the people how distribution works in general. And more experienced parents explained that yes, it is. The first line is a constant in this team. Yes, and the coach herself makes the main emphasis on them, the third or fourth row does not particularly notice.

We are now in our second year, and mine was put in the first row just for now. He's doing well, we go regularly.
But somehow it's scary - what if they rearrange it. Well, there is no interest in looking at your child in the fourth row, who is not even visible. nine0007

How is it in your teams? Change lines from dance to dance? Or really, if you got into the third or fourth row, then you will already be there?

i. e. What matters to you is not the fact that the child goes to dances and likes it, but where does he stand? It's always like this - the arrangement in the dance will depend on height (because tall ones are more likely to be put in the second line than small ones) and on abilities. In ballet, girls with a bad arabesque (for example) will be closer to the wings and back than those who are straight, high and do better. nine0007

Our teacher constructs a dance pattern in such a way that all or almost all of them will be in the first line. The only moment - "responsible" places - withdrawal, withdrawal, the beginning of some kind of maneuver - go to the child / children who can be relied on, who does not miss classes and knows clearly what needs to be done. In the back line, however, they may turn out to be tall if the dance does not involve rebuilding, but as a rule, this happens very rarely with us, and groups are formed with selection according to height. But in essence, yes, the best should stand in the center, because everyone is looking at them, and the rest are still achieving mastery and creating mass. nine0007

We have a dance group at our school. In the center in all dances, on any dates and occasions - the daughter of the leaders of the group.

well, yes, there is such a thing that at some point the rear ones also run forward, or the front ones sit down, and the rear ones can be seen better. But that's not quite it.
Anyway, the main part of the dance - when everyone just makes some movements at the same time - the first line is naturally visible.

I agree that the best should be at the front. But what if there are more of these best than the first line? Or if, over time, others who have caught up with the skills are being pulled up to the existing best ones? You can't put everyone on the front line. nine0007

How can I tell you.
I like that the child walks, what he likes. I am glad that he is making progress, that a good stretch appears, the elements are different.
But, of course, I want to see my child at the concert. Because in reality, children in the 4th row are simply not visible.
Yes, and the coach at rehearsals, whatever one may say. but also pays more attention to the first lines.

As a mother I understand you, the main thing is that the "first line" should not be fundamental. This is the same as with the distribution of poems in kindergarten. it is important here - what the child likes and how to properly teach to accept the situation - and not to make it the main tragedy in life, and strives to be the best and / and enjoy dancing. nine0007

We also had a director's daughter at the ballet studio. Yes, she got the main roles, but so did other capable students. I won’t say that she was given more, even more often to others than she was (there it was clear that they were given according to their abilities and there were never any questions), but she screamed at her the most and pulled down three skins from her ....

Here therefore, we practically do not have line dances, we have a constant rotation of children on the stage in order to "show" everyone. The fact that for you the main part of the dance is to stand along the lines, for us it is an insignificant part. nine0007

To be honest, I don't really understand what kind of dance you are talking about.
We have several groups in the Palace of Culture, and in all of them, to one degree or another, but 70 percent of the dance is danced by children in a bunch, i.e. lines.
They make synchronized movements, sit on the splits, some kind of coups, sat down, got up, jumped up, sat down - this all takes up most of the dance. And the rear lines, of course, are less visible.

Then your lines should change places. Some time after the beginning of the dance, the first line goes back, the third (the last, conditionally) moves to the place of the second, the second - to the first, after some time, the former second, which now the first one is moving back, the former third one, which is now the second one, is moving forward. That. everyone has been ahead, each line is 1/3 of the dance. And if all the lines made movements, then converged, parted, and again all the lines were in their old places, then here they will be the same in front. So uninteresting, IMHO. nine0007

Likewise. At the same time, the girl was not at all suitable for the central figure: angular and constrained. The daughter of a friend moved amazingly, but she never found herself in a leading position.

In adequate teams - the way you work is the way you stage.
You work well and there are results - you will move forward.
Bad - relegated to where the "drawing" and the view do not suffer much.

It is quite possible to move back and forth

The first line, the center - the strongest children are usually, the second - a little weaker, the third line is usually from those who do not know dance, beginners, do not try, after an illness, and so on ... everywhere. and familiar faces are usually because if a child starts to go well, then he goes like that. but it is not a fact that a child from the third line will not go to the first, no matter how hard he tries. our choreographer always says to the kids who are in the third line: I see you all, if you are standing there, this does not mean that you are not visible ....

1. It's not ALREADY the second year, it's STILL the second year.
2. Personally, I can see all the rulers, both the first and the last. And every trained eye can see EVERYTHING.
You are not busy with that. You should think about the quality of the dance performance, and not what line the body is in.

They change, but still the strongest in the 1st line.
Well, they change lines during the dance. That is, you can see everyone.

This one is not skinned. But her dad skins those who the capricious girl complains about. Yes, yes, he’s right up to someone else’s child and scolds. nine0007

Do you swallow everything? So this is fate.

We have been studying for the 4th year, it really doesn’t soar for me, I also tell the child that I didn’t worry about this topic. During this time, she visited different lines, for various reasons. And there are girls who really worry about this, poison their lives, they also build intrigues, they throw out jazz players, in short, they do little dirty tricks at the concert itself, so that one of the first would be rearranged. Parents themselves contribute to the development of the viper.

Everyone in my daughter's team dances. But the number of dances in which they participate can be different. Those who miss or fail to cope can be removed from the dance. In the first lines, those who do better. Solo episodes are also for the more capable. Sometimes they are selected by height. The “smallest” ones are unlikely to be placed in the last line, and the highest ones in line 1 don’t look very good ... But then they can put the tall ones in some dances for older ones, and the low ones for the younger ones ...
In general, I would not say that our 1 line is permanent. There are quite a lot of productions ... so those who try and are not quite a "fat clubfoot" may well get into the first rows. Moreover, by the age of 12, those who were completely incapable and without a desire to study had long since left. nine0007

You have strange dances. rulers ... Our dances are much more complex, sometimes so much so that the eye can hardly keep up with the rebuilding on the stage and the pattern of the dance, the child has been studying for the fifth year, yes, not a soloist, but the ensemble is large and they always take it to competitions, but for him it is the most important. For example, the dance floors of Moscow are the Tchaikovsky Hall, the Ryumina Theater, the House of Music, i.e. people pay money to look at our children. Therefore, if you set a goal for the professional level of the child, talk to the teacher, I think she will give an assessment of the child’s abilities and aspirations, and what line there is is not so important. nine0007

if you have a professional level of the team, then all the children are selected) And in simpler groups, where they take everyone in a row, there are usually more capable and less, not to mention completely incapable)))

Yes, the level is professional, otherwise it makes no sense I don’t see in such a load, we have daily classes on weekdays + performances and rehearsals. And very glad. that she did not go along with the men in the family with their attempts to push the child into sambo-judo. The child chose himself. Maybe the girl standing in the 4th line just has other aspirations? and if it’s just classes for the sake of posture, forget about the lines, it’s treated like physical-re classes and that’s it. nine0007

My daughter is always on the first line because she doesn't miss classes at all and dances very well..And on the other rows there are girls - truants and those who do not do, everything is fair!

You know, even the Bolshoi has its own rulers - the main swan and somewhere in the back on jumps)))
But moms definitely don't need to bother! This makes the kids nervous! Our parents tried to divorce us at dances, the teacher strictly stopped

but in this case, after all, the teacher must go to the meeting and change children. Or dances to compose so that all periods come to the fore. nine0003 And if all the dances are made for the first line, then it is logical that the rest can be offended

what does "dances for 1 line" mean? No one is offended until the parents start discussing it. I never noticed at all until I heard from others)

well, that's what it means. I constantly go to concerts in our DC, and watch the performances of the middle and senior groups of our team. And the faces are getting familiar to me. The dances change, the repertoire is quite large, but the "soloists" remain the same. Are the others really that bad? nine0007

uh... didn't you start the branch? that girl was just surprised by the rulers)
At competitions, judges most clearly see the neighbors and the center, and they put the most capable ones there.
You are so surprised, I repeat - in the Bolshoi (well, if I started about it) the extreme swans from performance to performance with primas do not change)

Walk constantly, participate in everything.

Who is "we"? Our child is busy with sports, you can be the first there only at the expense of yourself and your work. And how parents treat this at dances, I personally feel violet. nine0007

I am the author. And mine is still in the first line and in the center. But this is only the 2nd year. Now she is one of the best really - I can see it both in exercises and in working capacity. And she is older than the others by six months. She is almost 5, while others are 4.5 on average.
But that's for now. It is likely that the rest will also have breakthroughs soon, and everyone will sit on good splits. bridges, etc.

The Bolshoi Theater is a little different. There, as I understand it, you are going to a specific bet - either on a swan from the edge, or on a soloist. And everyone understands this. nine0003 As for the children's team, where everyone is studying, and many seem to be successful, it's a shame when someone is constantly in the front line, and someone is behind.
They wrote correctly above - the only way out of this is to stage such dances, where everyone is constantly moving, changing. For example, the first row sat on the floor, while the second row was doing the work, and so on. And when everyone is doing it simultaneously, then it turns out that the back rows are not visible ...

well, you are not the author of the thread, re-read the thread)))
5 years about nothing at all, they would write right away...

This is life. Then others will succeed. And your stand on 3-4 lines.

How to learn how to waltz

Waltz! And now light vapors are already spinning, spinning, swiftly and smoothly sweeping one after another. Start learning to dance, and become more slender, dexterous, fit. You will not touch the corners and jambs ... But does this happen to you sometimes? Confess! Your step will become light, springy, you will straighten your shoulders, learn to keep your head straight. nine0003 Be sure to learn to dance, and we will help you.


To learn how to waltz, it is enough to know two movements: the right turn and the "path". The "track" is quite easy to learn, so the most important thing is the turn. We will start with him. A full turn of the waltz (360 degrees) consists of two parts and is performed for two measures. The musical size of the waltz (one measure) is 3/4. This means that the waltz rhythm is a continuous repetition of counting: one, two, three; one, two, three... Before starting to learn to dance in pairs, everyone must learn the waltz turn on their own. nine0007

(Count: "one, two, three")

Become a face along the movement, or, as they say, along the line of dance. Put your feet in the third position, that is, the heel of the right foot is attached to the middle of the foot of the left and the socks are turned to the sides, as shown in the figure. This extended position of the legs is called eversion. In the waltz, the legs must be in an eversion position at all times.
So let's get started. Take a step forward with your right foot, starting to turn to the right (count: "one" - the first quarter), then step with your left foot, turn to the right even more, and now you are standing with your back along the dance line (count: "two" - the second quarter), pull the right leg to the left in the third position (count: "three" - the third quarter). This is the diagram of the first half of the turn. nine0003 Do it several times in a row, turning exactly 180 degrees each time. In order for this scheme to turn into a half-turn of the waltz, rise to the half-toes on the second step and lower at the end of the third step from the half-toes to the soles of both feet, ending the movement with a smooth, slightly noticeable squat. All steps should be light and gliding.

(Count: "one, two, three")

You stand with your back in the line of dance. Legs in third position. Take a step with your left foot to the side (count: "one" - the first quarter), body weight on the left foot, there is no turn yet. Bring the right foot with the inside of the toe behind the heel of the left, that is, inverted (count: "two" - the second quarter), slowly turn on the half-toes of both legs to the right, so as to be facing the line of dance (count: "three" - the third quarter ). Check that the rotation should be swarmed 180 degrees. What we have now learned is the scheme of the second half of the turn. nine0003 Do this pattern again, but with the following conditions: the first step should go diagonally back and to the side (more to the side than back). At the same time, make sure that the left leg maintains an eversion position. On the second step, bringing the right foot with the toe behind the heel of the left, put it close (but not close, otherwise you will not be able to turn), so that the turn without additional prefixes ends in the third position.
In the final form, the turn is performed as follows: after the "skid" it is necessary to turn very smoothly, without any effort of the body, on half-fingers. Body weight is greater on the left leg. On the count of "three", as in the first half of the turn, you should lower yourself from the half-toes and slightly noticeably, gently sit down. nine0007


Face in line of dance with feet in third position. Make the first half of the turn (1st measure - count: "one, two, three"). You ended up with your back in the line of dance. Continue turning to the right, doing the second half of the turn you just learned. So you have returned to the starting position (2nd measure - count: "one, two, three"). Now you can start all over again: the first half, the second, the first again, etc. Practice well. First, about thirty times, turn very slowly, counting, then faster, even faster. nine0007


And this is true at first. Because mistakes, insecurities of one are transferred to another, and you go astray.
Team up for a waltz. The girl should face in the line of dance, the boy - with his back. This means that the girl will start the waltz from the right foot forward (from the first half of the turn), the boy starts from the left foot to the side (from the second half of the turn). Then the girl dances the second half of the turn, the boy the first, and so on. All the time at the same time they perform different halves of the turn. nine0003 Do not immediately try to spin at a fast pace.
Pay special attention to whether you put your foot in the first step of the second half of the turn and whether the first step from the right foot has shortened in the first half.
Remember that, circling in a waltz, you must always move forward along the line of dance. And for this, for each beat, you must turn exactly 180 degrees. The division of the waltz turn into two halves is purely arbitrary and should not affect the smooth and continuous character of the dance. nine0007


You can't dance the waltz, just spinning in one direction. This is both tiring and makes the dance monotonous.
This is where the "track" is needed.
Stand one at a time, facing along the line of dance and march to the music of the waltz, taking one step for each count (each quarter). This is unusual, but not difficult if you carefully listen to the music.
Walk again, but now on half toes. The knees are tucked up, but not tense. The steps are small. nine0003 Now try for every third count to gently lower yourself from the half-toes of the forward leg to the entire foot. At the moment when you lower yourself from the toes, the other leg is simultaneously brought forward.
"Track" is played easily and smoothly. One "track" of the waltz takes three counts ("one, two, three" - one beat). Be careful not to take a big step on the first count. All steps of the "track" are the same size. In pairs, the partner most often makes a track, stepping back and starting with the left foot, the partner moves forward and starts with the right foot. nine0003 At first, it is best to build the whole dance like this: combine two full turns of the waltz (four measures) and four measures of the "track". In the future, you will spin more and less often go to the "track". So, for example, it is convenient to combine twelve measures of rotation and four measures of a track.

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