Line dance

Web sites

Here's a big one:, also on

List of songs, dances, choreographers, and bpm counts of songs:

Mailing lists

This site contains a lot of line dance information, and it points to many other sites.

An FAQ list about line dancing is at .

Here are archives of line dances: and

There is a Line Dance FAQ Homepage. Maintainer: Julian Gothard

To subscribe to the line-dance mailing list, email with the following line in the body: subscribe line-dance

This is a public electronic mailing list for distribution and discussion of line dances. This includes at least the following dance types/styles: o Line dance line-dances (e.g., Memphis Push Tush aka tush push) o Circle dances (e.g. Cherokee Kick) o Contra line dances (e.g., contra waltz) o Couple stationary non-2-step-type dances (eg., Stationary or Denver Cha Cha) o Couples (and singles) progressive non-2-step-type dances (e.g., long branch hussle, ten step polka, Tennessee Walk, Sway, Sweetheart Schottische)

The list is moderated so as to standardize the format of the line dances that get posted. All line dances that get posted are archived as separate files at one ftp site: . Because the list is moderated, your posts to the list may take anywhere from several hours to several days to get mirrored back to you, so please be patient.


Line Dances began sometime around BC. As far as I have been able to determine from research, line dancing in one form or another has been around since recorded time.

What we do today evolved from the old "Contra" dances that were very popular in the New Englnad States from the early 1800's. Contra style dances are still popular but in a slightly different form. In the 1800's two lines would form, men on one side, women on the other. The partners would join between the two lines and generally do their own routine down the middle. When they reached the end of the lines, they parted and moved back into their respective lines and the next couple would begin. The "Stroll" from back in the 1940's is a good example of this style of dance. If you saw the movie "Grease", you saw the "Stroll" being done by John Travolta.

In the 1970's, the form of Line Dance we do today was born. I have no data on specific dates but, when I first got into "Country Western" style dance, there weren't that many line dances being done. I was told that "Four Corners" was the second oldest line dance of this sytle but, no one could ever tell me what was the oldest. That is hearsay because I've never been able to find anything in writing to back it up. I have books written by a man who was born in the early 1800's and who gave what I consider to be fairly accurate information on the concept of line dancing. That's where I got most of my information. [Rick did not give me this mans name or any other info. on him]. The "JR Hustle" dating back to 1980 & "The Traveling Four Corners" were choreographed by a gal from Texas by the name of Jimmie Ruth White. The Traveling Four Corners is (in it's original form), a quad dance (square) but choreographed in the general concept of the Line Dance. I've seen some very old film dating back to the beginning of moving pictures and some even older photos of African tribes in line dance formation doing step combinations not that far removed from what we do today. There were similar dances done by the American Indian. I realize that most people, when they think of Indian dances, visualize circles around a fire but, many dances were done in lines, moving left & right in a step, close, step, close series of moves

Until recently, the most common move in line dances was the basic Schottische; step, cross, step, lift (or scoot). This, followed by the Polka and the Cha Cha, both of which play a very large part in the composition of the Line Dance. More recently, still, syncopations of the style normally found in WCS have made a large imprint on the Line Dance choreography.

Looking back at some of the earlier line dances, having the correct number of steps, utilizing the correct number of musical beats, didn't seem all that important. The JR Hustle mentioned earlier, was the only dance for a very long time that actually followed the concept of phrasing to the musical major (32 beats).

Chorus lines, which have been around for a very long time, are not that different in concept when compared with line dances we do today. So, as I said, Line Dancing, in one form or another, has been around for a very long time.

A long time friend of mine, the first I know of to teach CW dance in the public school system, gave me step-descriptions from the 1970's. Back in the 70's & early 80's, teachers from all over the country would get together in what they called "Dance Caravans" similar to the "Dance Camps" that you see today except it was for teachers only.They exchanged dances, ideas and general information on how to improve on what they were doing. Most of these people were professionals who owned their own studios and generally taught in seveal areas of dance, not just CW. Specifics on Line Dancing history is rare and trying to nail down exact dates is impossible. [This is an article written by Rick Bowen, Pine Grove, CA.]

Swing line dances

There are a few line dances currently in vogue among swing dancers: the Madison and the Shim Sham.

The Madison can be seen in the movie "Hairspray", and the song used nowadays is the version on the soundtrack of that movie.

In Baltimore, if I remember correctly, the Madison was done to generic music with the DJ calling the figures. There was one record made which included calls for some of the more common figures on the record. One local radio DJ, Jack Gail, came out with a comedy version including one call to hold both feet up off the ground at the same time. [Jim Bull ]

Anyone want to contribute a description and history of the Shim Sham?

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994/5/6/7/8/9/2000 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

Listen up: Victor did not write most of this stuff; he just collected it. So don't send him any dance questions.

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Last modified on: 2000, Friday March 10.