It would be impossible to learn all of the names of line dances because every day more are being created. Whether named after a song or just describing the moves, what a line dance is called is just the beginning of the fun.
Original Line Dance Names
Line dancing wasn't always country western; in fact, many folk dance names are hundreds of years old, but can be considered "line dances." The "hora", for example, is a line dance from Israel with a very long history, and there are also many English country dances with very colorful names such as:
- The Collier's Daughter
- The Hole in the Wall
- Gathering Peascods
- Sellenger's Round
In many cases, the reason for the names are lost to history - who the "Collier's Daughter" was, for example. Some of the dances relate to the motions or to the time of year or festival where the dance was performed. Others had multiple names; Collier's Daughter, for example, was also known as Duke of Rutland's Delight.
The tradition of naming is really no different for today's country line dancing craze that has swept the world.
Choosing Names of Line Dances Today
The one big difference today is that the names of line dances can become a marketing tool. If line dance names are identical to popular song titles, then both the dance and the title become part of the singer's fame. Possibly the best example of this is the classic "Boot Scootin' Boogie" by Brooks & Dunn. Interestingly enough, the steps of the dance include steps such as the Heel-and-Toe, the Do-Si-Do, pivot turns and hip shakes (also called "getting down"). All of those steps are spoken in the lyrics to the chorus of the song. It's not a direct instruction step-by-step, but it probably contributed to the song's popularity by making it easier to learn and remember the steps. Even the name of the song includes a kind of description of a shuffle-step, or "boot scootin'".
Of course, this was no accident - the dance itself had been choreographed long before Brooks & Dunn recorded their hit. Line dance choreographer Bill Bader had created it and it was a worldwide hit - called "the Vancouver Boogie", the "Bootscoot Boogie", and even things like Calgary Boogie, Montreal Shuffle, and Philadelphia Special. By linking the moves of the popular dance with their song, the singers ensured one of the biggest country line dance hits in the history of dance.
Many other artists have tried the same strategy, with varying degrees of success. However, another way that line dances get named is by describing what is happening in the dance - such as the "Bump and Grind" or the very popular "Tush Push." This dance hardly deserves the title of "line dance" because it falls into the same short repetition of moves as the "Macarena." Basically, after a few alternating steps back and forth, you grab your own hips and "push" forwards twice and then back twice. Of course, in a club this can be done very seductively as a flirting tool, or even done to each other if you have a playful partner. You can see the dance in many places online, including video lessons .Other ways to describe a line dance are referring to the directions the line dance moves - such as the Four Corners line dance. You can keep track of the names of the dances and also find out their associated songs by following sites such as Linedancer. In fact, that's also the place where you can come up with your own dance "script" and share it with others. Who knows? The next hit line dance may be named after you!