Calgary Stampede

Line Dancing with Julie and Dave

So you want to learn to Line Dance ....

There are many reasons for wanting to learn to Line Dance. For some people it means regular exercise or a chance to socialise and make new friends. This page is designed as a guide to getting started and to give some helpful advice, for whichever class you choose to go to. We run a Beginner/Improver Class at Petts Wood Memorial Hall, Petts Wood Road, Petts Wood, Kent on Tuesday Evenings from 8.00pm - 10.15pm.

Where should you go?

A class run solely for Beginners would be the ideal way to introduce you to Line Dancing but, unfortunately, these are few and far between. You should try to find somewhere that makes Beginners welcome and recommendation is always the best way to find the right class. You might feel a little daunted the first time you go to a class but you will find that, even if you arrive on your own, you'll soon be chatting to someone. On the whole, Line Dancers are renowned for their friendliness

Do you need previous dancing experience?

If you've danced before then you're used to listening to timing and beat. If you haven't, you will soon learn, given practice and encouragement.

What should you wear?

The key is COMFORT!! Western wear is NOT compulsory - you can decide at a later date how you feel about it! FOOTWEAR that gives ankle support is VERY important. High heels, trainers, sling backs, flip-flops etc are not suitable footwear for line dancing. Smooth soled shoes or boots with a minimum heel that give you good ankle support are ideal and will reduce the risk of injury.

What happens when you get to your first class?

We all know from our school days that the 'naughty' kids chose the back of the class!! If you are new to line dancing it's far better to be at the front of the class where you can easily see and follow the instructor. If you stay at the back you'll find that when dances change direction - facing a 'new wall' as it's called - you'll find yourself with no-one in front of you!

Getting started

A WORD OF WARNING! The first class may leave you feeling totally confused or even brain dead - don't worry! EVERYONE in the class has been in that same situation and knows exactly how you feel - even the instructor!! A majority of people take several weeks to completely master a dance - so don't ever think you're a hopeless case and give it up as a bad job! Stick with it and after a few weeks you'll be wondering what all the fuss was about! Practice and perseverance are necessary. Keep smiling and accept that in the beginning your dancing will be more 'wrong than right'. After all, 'Rome wasn't built in a day'! Even the top dancers and choreographers had a first lesson - just like you!

What are all these terms & phrases about?

Line Dancing has it's own 'language' and phrases like 'Grapevine (Vine)', 'Coaster Step', 'Shuffle', 'Sailor Step', 'Kick Ball Change' and 'Jazz Box' will be commonly used. At our classes we give out a 'BASIC LINE DANCE STEPS' sheet which will reveal all! You'll soon remember the move and in doing so a part of the dance will be committed to memory. If you want to practice at home that's fine. As we all know, practice is important and can help tremendously - but it's not compulsory. Any music with a good strong beat is suitable.

Your instructor will want you to learn the dances and enjoy them as much as he/she does. However, every instructor teaches differently and whilst THEY may understand what they're asking you to do, it may not be said in a way that you can easily comprehend. Don't be afraid to speak up and tell them you don't understand - they're on your side!

What if you don't seem to be making progress?

Stick with it - it isn't a race against the clock! Everybody learns at a different pace so don't worry if you're in the 'slow lane' - remember 'The Tortoise and The Hare'! The main thing is that you ENJOY yourself. If you're having fun it doesn't matter at what speed you learn. Have patience - it will take time to learn all the steps and the new dances. ABOVE ALL - NEVER LOSE THE ENJOYMENT!

A few hints

Never rely solely on your 'eyes' to learn a dance !! Listen to your Instructor and try to do what he/she is teaching you without constantly watching others around you. Remember, like you, they are also learning the dance and if they make a mistake so will you !! Always try to get into evenly spaced lines. Take small steps - you will need less floor space, use less energy and have better control over your balance. If you go wrong during a dance don't give up - wait for a few beats, follow other people around you and join in again when you're ready. Once you've turned to a new wall it's far easier (and safer!) to be guided by other dancers around you rather than trying to break your neck by looking over your shoulder to see the instructor.

Happy Dancing!

Julie & Dave

For information regarding 'Calgary Stampede' call us on 01689 876940 or by

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