Basic Line Dance Steps

Line dance steps originated on the western frontier during the 18th century when weather was harsh, living conditions were merely passable and neighbors lived miles apart. People needed some reason to get together to have a little human contact as well as a little fun. Line dancing was the perfect solution.

Line dance instructions are revamped on a daily basis now, as they probably were back in the 18th century. Though many things about line dancing have changed, some haven't. A lot of people still like to wear cowboy boots and a hat, and low-flowing skirts and jeans are still seen on country-western dance floors.

Basic Line Dance Steps
One of the earliest line dance steps was the do-se-do, a step forward and around your partner, then back again, a move used in square dancing. Another early step is the promenade, which is now called a cha-cha-cha.

To line dance, you must have rhythm. If you don't, a good place to start getting your body in sync with the music is to practice the Hand Jive. When you first learn the Hand Jive, practice it sitting down. As you get better at it, you can improve rhythm in your body by performing the Hand Jive standing up or with a partner opposite you.

Hand Jive

  • Pat your hands twice on your knees (thighs if you're standing).
  • Clap your hands twice.
  • Criss-cross your hands with your right hand below the left.
  • Repeat this motion with your right hand above the left.
  • Ball your hands into fists and hit your hands together twice; first with your right hand on top, then with your left hand on top.
  • Makes a thumbs-up sign with your right hand and point it backwards, over your right shoulder. Do this twice.
  • Repeat the last step, but with your left hand.
  • Repeat the series of dance steps until the music ends.

Once you have the Hand Jive down, try standing and doing it, then try walking around while doing it. After you get tired of the Hand Jive, put some dance music on and stand in the middle of the room with your feet together, shoulders relaxed and eyes closed. Imagine for a moment that you are on the dance floor. What does it feel like? What is the atmosphere like? Sway your hips to the beat and continue standing there for a moment longer to get a feel for the rhythm.

Brush Kick
Once you feel as if you are one with the music, touch your right toe to the floor beside your left foot, then kick your right foot forward to do a dance step called the Brush Kick. Do this several times until it feels comfortable. Then do it with your left foot. Because you are standing still with one foot stationary, it's easy to practice with your eyes closed. This can help you get a feel for the timing of the music.

With your eyes open, step to the right with your right foot. Step to the right with your left foot, bringing it back behind your right foot. Moving your right foot to the right again, then bring the left foot up behind it. This should be done slowly but smoothly. This step is called the Grapevine and can be done in either direction.

The Grapevine and Brush Kick are both used quite as line dance steps. Keep practicing and before long you'll be able to Moonwalk, which is a simple but really impressive dance move that anyone can use as a breakout move when they step onto the dance floor.

Performing the Moonwalk
To perfect Michael Jackson's fantastic Moonwalk, start with both feet beside one another but slightly apart. To get the right backward motion, you must remember to always keep the weight of your body on the foot that is not in motion. As soon as you slide your right foot backward, immediately change the pressure to your right foot and slide the left foot back. Lift your heel slowly, making sure to keep your toe on the floor, as if you're walking in reverse.

To be authentic, at least four or five backward steps must be taken in quick succession. Remember, when you're doing these line dance steps you're channeling Michael Jackson, one of the greatest dancers who ever lived. Make sure your movements are quick and smooth as silk.

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