Country Dancing

Ballroom influenced Line Dancing

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The idea for this article came to me back in February 2020, long before the pandemic and social distancing took over the world.

Since I have always wanted to learn how to dance like some of the couples I’ve watched at different venues over the last 20 years, periodically I took ballroom classes from a few different instructors. One of them told me that I needed to forget everything I ever learned about ballet; please refer to the article I wrote in May to understand why that was a problem. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t very successful in his class!

On June 17, 2020, Rolling Mills in Girard resumed their couples dance night on Wednesdays with the required social distancing protocols in place. That crowd is very devoted to support the oldies and dance bands that will (hopefully) return to play in their ballroom on the weekends. In the past several years there, I’ve seen a lot of couples dance everything from East/West Coast Swing to Hustle, Waltz, Cha Cha and several other styles.

These same couples dance some of the “basic” line dances like the Electric Slide and Cupid Shuffle, along with others that are geared toward music genres of oldies and funk. Some of the couples have taken my country line dance classes, but very few attended consistently. I wondered what I could do to maintain their interest, so (in February) I decided to take a line dance class offered by a local ballroom dance studio to see what their instructors teach.

Since I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, I convinced my BRAT (for those of you who haven’t heard this expression before, it stands for Back Row Assistant Teacher) to go with me. We already knew some of the dances; the new ones were very easy for us to learn. All the step patterns were definitely ‘ballroom based’ so I now understood why most of the couples who try my class don’t continue; I teach to (mostly) country songs and the choreography reflects that genre of music.

Please don’t misunderstand me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the type of line dances we learned in that class. The difficulty level was a perfect fit to the students’ abilities. I simply prefer to teach more variety of choreography from beginner to intermediate levels. I also noticed the majority of dances taught in that class only have online videos to follow for review; I prefer to use a combination of videos and step sheets from a legitimate website in order to follow the choreographer’s instructions.

Here are videos of two dances we learned; these were not filmed in class:

To compare, here is a link to the step sheet and videos of a dance I taught to a song the Wednesday couples like:

MADLY OFF IN ALL DIRECTIONS

Once these establishments decide to resume lessons, Dori Yez hopes to continue teaching Country Line Dancing at Rolling Mills Bar in Girard, Ohio and at the Cortland Ohio SCOPE Center.

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