Learn Country Line Dancing with Amy Blackburn

Rachel Hanson
Amy Blackburn
Amy Blackburn, dancer and personal trainer

LoveToKnow recently had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Blackburn, whose second country line dancing DVD was released in late 2010. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Amy is a dancer, Certified Personal Trainer, and group fitness instructor. Currently working at Prairie Life Fitness Center in Franklin, Tennessee, Amy's goals as a dancer and fitness professional are to help people meet their fitness goals through having fun dancing. For Amy, dancing is an integral part of life that happens to be excellent exercise.

Amy's Country Line Dancing DVDs

Amy's line dance DVDs belong to the popular series called Dance Off the Inches. Dedicated to dance fitness, these titles offer a fun way to lose weight. In 2009, Amy released her first title: Dance Off the Inches: Country Line Dance, and in 2010, a second title: Dance Off the Inches: Country Line Dance Party, followed on the wave of success that met the 2009 DVD. Featuring Amy's dance expertise and a contagious energy, both titles teach line dancing steps in a format that also lets you lose weight. 

Country Line Dance Steps

LoveToKnow (LTK): What kind of country line dancing do you teach in your new DVD Country Line Dance Party?

Amy Blackburn (AB): It's a blend of traditional country line dance moves, adapted to make it more "fitness like."

LTK: Your first dance fitness DVD, Country Line Dance, preceded Country Line Dance Party. How are these similar and different? Will viewers learn different dances in each DVD?

AB: Yes, viewers will learn different dances in each DVD. Of course the theme and some of the moves are similar. Both DVDs are appropriate for any fitness level; they’re even appropriate for those who think they can't dance! The second DVD (Dance off the Inches: Country Line Dance Party) pushes the cardio aspect a little more. However, both allow the participant to adapt and modify the dance routines in order to make the impact higher or lower. In addition, both DVDs include a step guide to learn the moves, which allows the participant to be confident in doing the dances!

LTK: What kinds of line dance steps are common in your routines?

AB: Grapevines and variations of them are common in all line dancing, no matter what the genre. We just add a little more of a "country kick" to them by turning the knee in, adding a hop, etc. Many of the moves in traditional country line dancing come from cowboys being in their boots and spurs, so these modifications stemmed from them not wanting to kick themselves or other dancers.

The dances include lots of kicks and stomps and heel digs, which are all fun to do. These dances utilize hip shakes, "tush pushes," and other rhythms common to all dancing. Also, pivot turns are used in one of the dances, which are fun and are easy to break down for beginner line dancers and are common to many forms of dance.

Dance and Exercise

LTK: Combining dance and exercising seems like a great way to be physically active, but is it a difficult type of exercise for people who might not be very coordinated? Does someone have to have dance experience or already know country line dancing to do your DVD?

AB: Absolutely not. The Step Guide breaks down the steps so they are completely goof-proof. Besides, when you’re working out at home to a DVD, you can always press ‘rewind’ as often as you’d like until you’re comfortable with the moves.

LTK: What fitness results are obtained by doing your DVD?

AB: You’ll burn calories and tone up, especially the lower body. It’s a great workout for the hips and thighs, and since you burn so many calories, you will lose weight if your food intake remains stable.

LTK: Why dance in order to lose weight and get in shape instead of going to the gym?

AB: Mainly because it’s so much fun! Dancing has been proven to boost one’s mood, and it’s energizing, not exhausting like so many things you do at the gym. Also, dancing engages both halves of the brain, so you’re keeping yourself young not only physically by staying in shape, but also mentally because you're memorizing routines, and learning dance steps, and increasing your coordination and sense of rhythm all at once.

The best workout is the one you DO. If you’re having fun then you’re more likely to stick with it. That's why I try to make my DVDs a joy to do instead of just a good workout or a good dance lesson.

Line Dancing Fitness DVDs

LTK: Why did you become a personal trainer and why do you do country line dancing videos instead of traditional fitness DVDs?

AB: I grew up in the South so country line dancing has always been a part of my life. Ironically, I didn't play sports in high school. I started taking aerobics in college and loved it. I had never thought of becoming a fitness professional until an instructor in one of the classes I was taking approached me about it. It was aerobic kickboxing and she was moving out of town. She said I had good technique and enthusiasm and asked if I would be interested in learning to teach the class since she was moving away.

I think gyms can be overwhelming, especially to beginners. As a group fitness instructor, I always try to make my participants feel comfortable regardless of their fitness level, which is also important for dancing in regard to skill level; my goal was to have everybody having fun and reaping the fitness benefits at the same time. Then, through feedback from participants, I decided to add a one-on-one touch. People came up to me after group classes for years, thanking me for making them feel good about themselves. I let all of my personal training clients know that they can DO IT. I have seen so many intimidating personal trainers; I wanted to provide a non-intimidating, yet very effective, program for people which, in turn, increases their confidence and self-esteem. My range of clients goes from 16 year old athletes, all the way up to a 64 year old double stroke victim and every fitness level in between.

As for line dancing DVDs, the potential to have fun with dancing is a big advantage. People who are enjoying what they are doing are more likely to put in a lot of effort and energy, and more likely to pop the DVD in often; only by actually doing the DVD will people experience health benefits, so it has to be fun if people are going to want to do it. 

LTK: Do you have plans for future dance fitness DVDs?

AB: Sure, if opportunity allows!

Dancing and Exercising with Amy

Pick up one of Amy's DVDs today to start learning country line dancing the fun way. Not only will you learn fun dance routines, but you'll also be losing weight before you know it. If you happen to be in Tennessee, you can take classes in person with Amy at Prairie Life Fitness Center in Franklin, a suburb of the country music capital of the world, Nashville Tennessee.

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Learn Country Line Dancing with Amy Blackburn