“Where did you come from? Where did you go? Where did you come from Cotton Eye Joe?”, Cotton Eye Joe, Rednex
Although increasingly common in the UK, country dance is extremely popular in states in the US, especially in the south (Louisiana, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, etc.).
As an integral part of American culture, line dancing can be seen in many US films and most Americans can’t help but do some line dancing steps when a country song comes on the radio!
So, get your cowboy hats and boots at the ready: here’s our guide to country-western dance!
Country dance classes are a great way to discover American culture!
Country dance has been a particularly popular form of expression during the twentieth century in the United States.
Country Two-Step has its roots in swing and is the most popular country dance amongst couple dancers. Source: Visual Hunt
Country dancing is inspired by many other forms of popular dance, such Irish dance, swing and traditional dances of American farmers.
Line dancing is hugely popular for its friendly and relaxed atmosphere: many Americans love to practise this dance at dance shows and country music festivals!
The origin of country dancing, however, remains somewhat of a mystery.
According to legend, cowboys loved dancing so much that they used to rush into the dance hall at the end of a hard day of work, without even changing or washing themselves. It’s thanks to this level of devotion to the dance that cowboy clothes have become so synonymous with practising country dance!
Another popular American dance is the Madison dance!
The positive effects of western dance can be seen first of all in your body, and this is after only a few months of dance sessions.
Country dancing works the abdominal muscles through the fast tempo and energetic moves involved in this dance style.
Learn to line dance to discover the origins of the world of cowboys and saloons! Source: Visual Hunt
Country line dancing helps lower your blood pressure with quick dance steps that improve blood circulation to the heart.
What’s more, country dancing can increase your body’s energy levels and even prevent the onset of diseases such as osteoporosis.
Finally, country-western dance is known for the general well-being it gives: students can learn to unwind and improve concentration whilst still having fun!
All dances are good for your health, like African dance for example!
It’s hard to dissociate country dance from country music, a particularly popular genre of music throughout North America, and indeed the world!
Whether it’s with your partner, family or friends, there are several ways to learn in good company! Source: Visual Hunt
In the United States, Rednex’s “Cotton Eye Joe” and “Achy Breaky Heart” helped put country dance back on the map. However, although these songs are emblematic of country dance, they are not necessarily recommended for beginners.
The key is to choose a tune that suits your level (slow pace for beginners, fast pace for intermediate and advanced level) and, most importantly, songs you enjoy!
Here are some music recommendations for beginners:
In the US, country music is a real institution, although in parts of Europe it remains relatively unknown. As a result, many of us haven’t tried to get into country dancing because of the very particular style of music.
However, it doesn’t take long to get used to country dancing.
Immersing yourself in country dancing allows you to familiarise yourself with American culture, which is perfect before your up-coming trip to America or even if you’re going to live in the US, especially in the Southern States!
Of course, music is important when you learn a dance, especially for oriental dance.
Learning the country-western style of dance is now possible from home thanks to videos online! Just remember you need atleast 6 other couples to take part in all the dances!
Youtube, Dailymotion, Instagram, there are several platforms where you can find country dance lessons online. Opting for self-taught lessons is recommended for those who want to discover a new musical genre and do exercises independently.
Watching dance class videos is great for in-between lessons and helps you save a few bucks!
Get access to the best country dance youtubers in a few clicks:
Online country dance teachers usually give useful tips if you want to become a professional dancer.
Nevertheless, we recommend you use these instructive videos only as an introduction to dance.
Indeed, nothing beats instruction from an experienced dance teacher in person!
There are also different apps (such as Dancing Line, Country Dance Lessons and Country Friends) to help you learn the basic country dancing moves, step-by-step. Why not do a free dance lesson from your own smartphone or tablet!
Some steps may look like Irish dancing, don’t you think?
Who said you have to go overseas to learn line dancing?
Some country-western dance schools also offer country music lessons. Why not learn to play the guitar to work on your music skills? Source: Visual Hunt
In the UK, dozens of dance teachers offer supervised lessons using traditional music from the US.
Group lessons are perfect for progressing quickly in western dance, but also for meeting other dance enthusiasts – even talk to some Americans!
Line dancing schools regularly organise cultural trips to fully immerse students in the culture of the Deep South.
As part of dance school or dance association activities, you can participate in country balls, country dance workshops and even travel to the United States on tour.
Here are some country-western schools or associations in the UK:
In some of the bigger UK cities, students of country dance can show off their moves at a country concert or a country music festival organised by national organisations or independent dance clubs.
According to a 2016 survey from America, country dancing can improve our memory and brain power!
Line dancing classes are accessible for everyone: there are teen and children’s dance lessons, adult dance classes, senior dance sessions, etc. There’s something for all ages at country-western schools!
Another trendy dance, Bollywood classes are becoming more and more common.
Learn the basics of country-western dancing with a credited choreographer!
Take a line dancing lesson with an actual American teacher! Source: Visual Hunt
There are tons of advantages to getting a private dance teacher.
First of all, although widespread across the UK, dance schools are hard to find in smaller cities. It can be difficult to get a feel for all styles of country dancing by limiting yourself to classes at a dance association.
On the other hand, private dance lessons give students the opportunity to explore a multitude of country dance styles:
The other advantage of private lessons: the possibility of hiring a teacher who is actually from the United States!
A native teacher can not only teach you how to dance, but also inform you about country-western culture.
At Superprof, it has never been so easy to take dance classes online via webcam lessons and be put in contact with teachers from all over the country!
Finally, private lessons let you learn at a pace that’s right for you.
The student-teacher follow-up is more regular and personal than in a group lesson and the pupil can learn choreography in a heartbeat and execute all the steps of the country dance to perfection.
At Superprof, you can find a dance teacher near you for all types of dance, from country to Spanish dance.