Country Dancing

Welcome to the World of Tags and Restarts


For those of you who are new to line dancing, let me start by briefly explaining the terms “tag” and “restart.” Both are used by choreographers in their dance to stay with the phrasing of the song and/or lyrics. A “tag” is a step sequence that may be included once or several times during the dance. A “restart” is self-explanatory; whatever step sequence you just finished in the dance, you go back to the beginning and continue from there.

Classic dances choreographed years ago rarely included either tags or restarts. As the world of line dance has progressed, so have choreographers’ minds and abilities to create more intricate sequences of steps for dances. I recently discovered, much to my dismay, that some line dance teachers have a difficult time instructing their students to do tags and restarts.

I believe the resistance is two-fold; it comes from the instructor who is possibly reluctant (for whatever reason) to teach dances that have a tag and/or restart in them, plus seasoned students who have been dancing for many years and stubbornly think the dance “doesn’t need them.” It is a shame for either thought-process because I have found, through my many years of teaching, that the more you include tags and restarts, everyone becomes more familiar with them.

Please don’t misunderstand me; if you are an instructor and you feel your students cannot handle tags or restarts, choose dances that don’t have them. One of my ‘line dance pet peeves’ is when an instructor takes it upon her/himself to change the choreographer’s dance and disregard any tags or restarts. This is disrespectful to the choreographer and all the time and energy that he/she put into creating a unique dance!

Additionally, eliminating a tag or restart is a disservice to the students in the class, because they are following the teacher’s instruction and may not realize the change. Unfortunately, if a dancer wasn’t taught the tag/restart, and he/she eventually dances with others who were, imagine how frustrating and embarrassing that would be!

Always remember that line dancing is meant to be fun and hopefully you will feel confident joining the dancers at your local bar/club. My suggestion to anyone who is looking for a class, or already taking one, is to ask the teacher how he/she feels about “tags and restarts.” Hopefully that instructor, like me, welcomes new students and tags/restarts with open arms!

Step Sheets

This dance has 1 tag:

A Drink In My Hand (Eric Church)

This dance has a restart and easy tag:

Drunk On A Plane (Dierks Bentley)

Dori Yez teaches Country Line Dancing on Mondays at Rolling Mills Bar in Girard, Ohio and Wednesdays at Social 45 in Lisbon, Ohio. For more information, check out the clubs Facebook pages.

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  1. Sandy Goodman

    March 30, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you Dori for including my dance too, I appreciate the education that you are supplying to all dancers & other choreographers. You are one of the best!!

    • Dori

      March 31, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks Sandy, you are so sweet! I was very glad to finally meet you after teaching your dances for years! I was honored to have you in my class and your advice meant so much to me!!

  2. Dee Blansett

    April 30, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    Great article Dori!! Thank you for such a good description of tags and re-starts in line dances. When choreographing a dance, we don’t like to use {tags and restarts} but the phrasing of the song requires us to. Thank you including my Drunk on a Plane line dance as an example.

    • Dori

      May 1, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Thank you for the compliments, Dee, that means so much coming from you! I was happy to include your dance, I think it is so easy to hear (and do) both the restart and tag in it!

  3. Shelagh

    November 4, 2018 at 8:26 am

    I must have a hole in my head when it comes to tags and restarts. Facing 12:00 would that be wall 1 ? 3:00 would be wall 2, 6:00 = wall 3 and 9:00 wall 4. Does that remain so throughout the dance? Although they seem to change! What was wall 1 will become ??. Please help v

    • Dori

      November 9, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      The numbered walls remain the same no matter what dance you are doing. Facing front to begin, that is 12:00 and clockwise around the room to walls 3, 6, & 9. Some dances move counter-clockwise to all 4 walls. Some dances are only 2 walls, so you would be facing either 12 or 6 when you begin or end the dance. And then there are dances that are only 1 wall. The walls are numbered so you know which one you should be facing. Counting the walls in the dance is different. You start with 1 and do the dance until you get back to the beginning. Then the next repetition is 2, and so on. I hope this helps!

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