Country Line Dance Steps

Rachel Hanson
Country Line Dancing

On any given night in bars across the nation, happy people are moving their polished boots through country line dance steps. The dance's popularity may lie in part in the fact that unlike most other social dances, country line dancing does not require the partners to learn how to dance in pairs, making this one of the easiest dance forms to learn. Country line dancing allows dancers to independently move while enjoying a group activity as they move in time to the music.

Line Dancing Steps and Variations

Borrowing from many different dance traditions, line dance steps vary from simple walking to intricate turns and syncopated rhythms. Fortunately there are many line dances for beginners; these dances are all made up of very basic steps. For more advanced dancers, variations can be added (for example substituting a three step turn for a grapevine) to keep it interesting while ensuring that all levels of dancers can share the dance floor for the same songs.

Heel Dig

As simple as digging one heel into the ground, this can be performed with an accent by bending the supporting leg. A further accent/variation is to hop out of the step instead of simply stepping back onto your foot.

Double Heel Dig

For faster dances, sometimes a double heel dig is called for, where you, with your weight firmly planted on your left leg, quickly dig your right heel into the ground twice, usually to the front and slightly to the side

Grapevine (or Vine)

Traveling to the right or the left side, this step is performed (to the right), as follows:

  1. Right foot steps to the right
  2. Left foot crosses behind the right one
  3. Right foot steps to the right
  4. Left foot closes to the left side of the right foot

Grapevine Variations: As you become more advanced, vary the fourth step of the grapevine by replacing it with a heel dig or by scuffing the bottom of your boot against the floor and bringing your left foot back up into the air.

Weave

Combining the grapevine with a cross in front as well as a cross behind, this move will let the dancer travel in zigzag on the floor. One complete cycle looks like this:

  1. Step your right foot to the right
  2. Cross your left foot behind your right foot
  3. Step your right foot to the right
  4. Cross your left foot in front of your right foot
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 as many times as you want. When you want to end the weave, do steps 3 and 4 of the grapevine step to complete the weave.

Jazz Square or Jazz Box

You may know this step from jazz class. It can be performed to the right or the left; it's often performed twice in a row in the same direction:

  1. Step your right foot across your left foot
  2. Step your left foot back and to the side
  3. Step to the right side with your right foot
  4. Close your left foot to the left side of your right foot

Triple Step

This is three steps in a musical triplet during two beats of music traveling in any direction. Similar to a Step-Ball-Change in tap dancing, this step involves the following three steps (or opposite if starting with the left foot instead of the right):

  1. Step onto your right foot
  2. Step onto the ball of your left foot, placing your weight on the foot
  3. Step quickly onto the right foot without having lingered on the left. The weight transfer to your left foot should only have been deep enough to free you to pick up your right foot and step onto it.

Charleston

While it's not always called the Charleston, this step is frequently used in country line dancing (it probably will be called 'step-tap, step-tap' by the caller):

  1. Step forward onto your right foot
  2. Step your left foot forward, in front of your right foot, but don't put your weight on it
  3. Step backwards onto your left foot
  4. Tap your right foot behind your left one, then repeat

Pivot Turn

A simple turn, a pivot is a half turn. Dances often use two pivot turns in a row in order to complete a full 360 degree rotation:

  1. Step forward onto your right foot, but keep the weight centered on the ball of your foot.
  2. With your weight evenly distributed between both feet, turn your body a half turn to the left, ending up with your left foot in front

Kick-Ball-Change

A favorite in cowboy boots, this step is easy to perform but looks difficult because it is executed quickly:

  1. With your weight firmly on your left foot, kick your right foot in front of you, leading with the heel
  2. Step your right foot behind you, but only put your weight on the ball of your foot in order to quickly again transfer your weight in step three
  3. Step, hard (loudly) onto your left foot

Popular Line Dances

Once you have learned some line dancing steps, you'll want to bring them together into dances you can enjoy in country western bars, community centers, and other venues in your area. Some of the most common line dances you'll encounter are these ones:

  • Tush Push
  • Watermelon Crawl
  • Achy Breaky Heart
  • Boot Scootin' Boogie
  • West Coast Shuffle
  • Cowboy Shuffle
  • Redneck Girl
  • Ten Step

Because these dances are so common, you'll be able to learn them in no time by joining more experienced dancers on the dance floor. Just head to the middle of the group so that in every direction you turn there is still someone standing in front of you so that you can watch and learn from your fellow dancers.

Social Line Dancing

Country line dancing shows no signs of decreasing in popularity, along with other popular dances such as swing dance and Latin dance. Easy to learn and fun to perform with groups, country line dancing is easier to learn than both swing and Latin dance, which makes many more people approach it for fun.

Whether you are a beginning dancer or you know some of the dance steps outlined above from jazz or tap classes, once you get started on the individual steps you'll be line dancing in no time.

Country Line Dance Steps