Tips & Frequent Questions

Why don’t we have drop-ins?

  1. Our Club offers the opportunity to learn basic line dance movements and progressively add new challenges and skills as dancers gain experience.
  2. By participating in a session, you are connecting with the dances and the dancers. The energy that comes from learning a repertoire with a community of dance friends is the essence of our mission “to share the joy of line dance in the Bow Valley”
  3. We are a non-profit Club with expenses that include room rental costs, liability insurance, and equipment costs, so we need to have a commitment.

How do we choose our dances?
We select dances that:
– introduce foundation line dance movements, and progressively add as dancers gain experience
– allow our repertoire to include a variety of music and rhythm
– are popular at events in the Bow Valley, and Calgary and beyond
– are generally versatile to adapt to additional music selections
– are choreographed to suit most sizes, ages, and genders
**Occasionally we veto dances due to lyrics that may be considered offensive.

Are there some strategies for learning from a video?

  1. Look at several of the tutorials to see which one has a teaching style that suits you.
  2. Note the tutorial’s room orientation. Tutorials oriented on a diagonal may confuse some dancers.
  3. Learn one section at a time (just like we do in class).
  4. Walk through each section a few times with the step names (just like we do in class).
  5. Then walk through the dance with the counts.
  6. Use the step-sheet to assist you.
  7. Before dancing through a song with a tutorial, set your computer up in one place, and compare the orientation of your room to the orientation of the tutorial. (Most dancers find it difficult to learn by holding the computer while making the turns.)
  8. Consider a large mirror opposite the computer for hints in the mirror instead of looking over your shoulder.

What kind of shoes are best for line dancing?
Safety is always a concern, so please do not wear: high heeled shoes, open back shoes, or thick rubber-soled shoes that will not permit turns
Ideally, we suggest:
– dance shoes or
– smooth but not slippery leather soled shoes or
– light rubber soled shoes (like Tom’s brand) or worn down runners

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Top 10 Tips For Line Dance Beginners
from Bradley Mather, dancer, choreographer

March 25, 2022 Blog

So you’re new to line dancing, eh? That’s fantastic! Line dancing, in my extremely unbiased opinion, is a ton of fun. That being said, starting a new hobby can always feel intimidating, but there’s no need to worry. My top 10 tips for beginners will (hopefully) give you the confidence to dance your heart out.

  1. Stick with it

Your first few classes may be challenging, and that’s NORMAL! I always tell my students that learning to dance is like learning a new language. Imagine not speaking French and suddenly moving to France. At first, you will just need to get the basics. A lot will go over your head at first, but you will gradually learn. Learning to dance is so similar. There will be times that you struggle, but there will also be times when everything just clicks. The more you dance, the easier it will get, so stick with it!

  1. Dance in the center

I know what you’re thinking. “I’m a beginner. I should dance on the edges of the room, so I don’t mess anybody up.” NOPE. Most line dances are 2 or 4 wall dances (you start the dance facing the front and the back or all 4 walls in the room.) If you’re on the edge of the dance floor, at some point, you will be in the front! There will be nobody to watch, so you can follow along. BUUTTT… If you dance in the middle of the room, there will always be someone in front of you that you can watch. I still know what you’re thinking. “But won’t I be distracting to the more experienced dancers?” Maybe. But we were all beginners once. Most people are not going to be bothered by it.

  1. Ask questions

As a beginner, it can seem like everyone else in the class is so much better than you, and your questions would be wasting their time. Well guess what. (I assume) It’s a class for beginners! If you have a question, ask away! Personally, I love it when my students have questions. It lets me know that I haven’t explained something well enough, and it’s possible you’re not the only one who has that question. If you really feel uncomfortable stopping class to ask questions, write your questions down when there’s a break and ask your instructor at the end of class. Asking questions is the best way to learn. If you don’t ask questions, you’re probably going to end up even more confused that you already are.

  1. Get to know your fellow dancers

Your fellow dancers are a great resource, and some of them are probably really awesome people. As a beginner, you can learn a lot just by talking to your peers. It doesn’t matter if they are also  a beginner, or if they are an experienced dancer. You may also make some lifelong friends. Having a shared interest is one of the best ways to make new friends. Line dance=shared interest. Whether you just chat between classes/songs or you go out to eat before/after class, getting to know your fellow dancers will make line dance more fun. Because what’s better than dancing with a big group of friends? I’ll wait…

  1. Take classes from lots of instructors

What was that sound? Probably your instructor having a minor heart attack after reading tip number 5. Hear me out. Everyone has different learning styles, and everyone has different personalities. That goes for instructors, too. Some instructors are bubbly and wild and crazy. Some are very serious. Some love teaching beginners. Some just want to get the beginner dances over with, so they can dance something else. I encourage you to try a class from a few of your local instructors. You may find that you already have the best instructor for you. You may also find that there is a different instructor that is better at teaching to your learning style. This is not to say who is a better instructor, dancer, or human being. This is for you to find an instructor that will help you be your best.

  1. Learn basic line dance patterns

Take the time to learn the basic patterns that are commonly used in beginner dances. Even if you’ve only taken one class, you may have noticed that some of the dances have some of the same patterns. Most beginner dances are made up of different combinations of the same 20 or so patterns. if you learn all the patterns, you won’t have to remember where your foot goes for every single step of every single dance. You just need to remember the order. A great example is Mamma Maria by Frank Trace. It is a 32 count dance, but it only has 3 elements. Conga walk x2, Charleston x2,  grapevine x2. Done!

  1. It’s ok if a dance is too challenging

Line dances come in all shapes and sizes. Some are waltzes. Some are cha chas. Some are easy. Some are hard. Your’e a beginner, and some of the dances might be a bit above your current skill level. It doesn’t mean you will never master that dance that seems so challenging right now, but it does mean that you may not master it today. That’s ok. It’s also ok if you need to leave the floor if a dance is too hard. It’s ok to leave the floor if a dance that your instructor is teaching is too hard. Just be polite about it. Most people won’t have their feelings hurt if somethign is just too challenging for you.

  1. Practice

Listen. I know you’re probably not trying to get on Dancing With The Stars or anything like that, but you should still practice. It doesn’t have to be a lot. It could be as simple as looking up a youtube video of someone dancing some of your newly learned line dances and just watching. Or, better yet, dancing along. You could look up the step sheets and just give them a glance to refresh your memory. Remember all those other dancers in our class that seem like they are perfect and amazing? Yeah. They probably practice. Your instructor? I should hope they practice, and it’s probably a lot. Your practice can be as much or as little as you want. Just remember that you get out what you put in.

  1. Accept that you will make mistakes

It’s unrealistic to expect that you will be amazing at something right away. Even those dancers that you think are amazing make mistakes… all the time… in every dance. Those that won’t admit that are lying to themselves. To err is human. What counts more than making a mistake is how you handle it. I have seen students curse and stomp their feet when they make a mistake. There’s really no need for that. It’s just a line dance. When (not if) you make a mistake, just pause for a moment and jump back in when you know what’s going on again.

  1. Have fun!

Phew! You made it to the end of the list! The only thing to do now is have fun! That’s probably the reason you started line dancing, so get on those dancing shoes and hit the floor!