While online dance instruction is great, sometimes having printable dance steps makes it easier to follow along when learning to dance. Luckily, many online dance sites have met this need with a wide variety of dances available to print.
A Long and Confusing History
There's an old saying: "Writing about art is like dancing about architecture." Writing about dance, then, should be even more difficult - translating the movement of the human body into something written down can be a frustrating process. Taking a look at examples of dance step diagrams show some of the ways people have tried to record dance moves over the centuries. There's an entire system called Labanotation that is quite complex but very accurate in describing movement, usually used by modern dancers.
Most printable dance steps won't be that complex - usually simply foot diagrams, or lists of commonly known steps combined with the counts in the music when they are executed. Your best bet, of course, is to get personal dance instruction and then take your own notes - then you can be sure that you understand exactly what the steps on the paper mean!
Printable Dance Steps Sources
Dance has always been a favorite social pastime, and the Internet has fueled this passion with a wide variety of websites. Whether you want to watch past episodes of Dancing With The Stars, learn Beyonce's latest video dance, or even just swap ideas about the tango, there's a website for you.
But when it comes to printable dance steps, you have to determine if the kind of dance you're going to learn really lends itself to just the dance steps. It is very hard to find printables for hip-hop dance, for example - because hip-hop moves usually involve the entire body; video is a much more effective teaching tool when it comes to such a dance.
Ballroom dance, on the other hand, tends to have the body in a specific frame while the feet move in a variety of patterns - perfect for a print-out that you can hold while you try and learn the steps. One of the best sources for this is actually from a dancewear site which will offer you a free PDF download covering the basic steps to all the most common social dances. While you do have to sign up for their mailing list, it's a great and free resource.
Swing dance enthusiasts can go to Sonny Watson's StreetSwing page and find a wealth of information, including step sheets for dances like the L.A. Hustle, the Cha-Cha, and East Coast Swing. His site also includes links to many other dance resources, including videos of the dance steps which can help the printouts make more sense.
Country Line Dance
The Steppin' Country is an example of the sites that provide line dance sheets for common songs, listed by title. These are great for both learning the dances on your own or for teaching a group. In fact, some DJ's at bars will publish their planned set list so that the dancers can learn the steps beforehand. Really, these step sheets are designed more as a mnemonic device, and not an actual teaching tool. This is why many line dance clubs offer lessons before the social dancing begins, just to make sure everyone is actually on the same page.
Adding to the World of Dance Online
Sites with dance step printouts go up all over the world. If you decide to make your own "cheat sheet", why not put it online as well, so others can benefit just the way you did?