Line dance historian, instructor and author of LineDanceFun.com San Francisco Bay Area, CA USA ©2007
A Line Dance
Early settlers arriving into the USA in the mid 1800's brought new dance steps ...non-partner dancing consisted of extemporaneous footwork - clogging, shuffling, leaping, heel clicking and 'cutting the pigeon wing' (clapping the feet together while leaping in the air) while a lone fiddler played for many or just a few. Clothes & shoes were fancy, or not ...everyone noticed, no one cared.
1924 WLS Chicago first presented the 'Barn Dance' ...an influence on country western music second only to the Grand Ole Opry
1930's "Dr. Lloyd 'Pappy' Shaw of Colorado did much of his research in Texas for his books Cowboy Dances (first published July 1939) and The Round Dance Book. He discovered and recorded dances that had never died at all; they had only been in hiding" states the author, Betty Casey, Dance across Texas published by University of Texas Press, in 1985
In the 1940's World War II servicemen were entertained at home & over seas by country-western bands and entertainers from the Grand Ole Opry ...the music for the Cotton-eyed Joe, schottische, waltzes and two-step literally influenced the World.
Ms. Casey writes "Another national
phenomenon occurred in the 1970's and
1980's. The simple tried-and-true waltzes, schottisches, and other
dance steps enjoyed by the first Texans, but put aside for many years, emerged
into the spotlight under the name of 'country-western', 'cowboy' or just 'country'
dances. Dancers nationwide even dressed the part in cowboy boots, hats, and
jeans. To accommodate the singles in attendance, creative Texans resurrected
old nonpartner, spoke-line dances (Cotton-eyed Joe) and invented new ones.
They changed some of the formations from couple to spoke-lines and altered
the steps to fit, so that lines made up of happy single dancers could link arms
around each other's waists and prance or glide happily around the hall. Country
music dance band programs showed a mix of schottische, polka, Cotton-eyed Joe
hoedown, and Put Your Little Foot music with a touch of Bob Wills' western swing
and the latest danceable Barbara Mandrell, Willie Nelson, or Mickey Gilley two-step
or watlz. Dancers across the nation welcomed the new style with open arms. "
Betty Casey, Dance across Texas published by University of Texas
Press, in 1985. Read more about Texas
dance. In 1979 country-western
music TV specials were popular ...Hank, Waylon, Willie, etc were at the top
of country charts ... western movies inspired a new look at western clothes.
The 1980's movie Urban Cowboy showed John Travolta in cowboy hat, buckle and
tight jeans two-steppin' in a Texas honky tonk with Debra Winger. Texas dances
& country-western music & western clothes became the 'style' ...dance
routines were created and shared and taught and line dancin'just came to be. Reruns
of DALLAS the TV mega hit of the 70's and 80's still play in 2005.
1976 I was teaching in Florida, and was exposed to Line Dancing for the first time. There was a dance called “The Bus Stop”, and various other dances I never learned names of, but they all seemed to be danced to K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s music. There was a dance to “Shake Your Booty” and “Get Down Tonight” and several other songs ~ MAX PERRY (quoted from his article on the hustle)
1980 Ovation Records AV-1755 (1980, USA) One of the most soulful singer/stylists in country music, Joe Sun was once called "the best singer to hit Nashville in twenty years" by Johnny Cash, and deemed a combination of Tom Waits and Hank Williams by one reviewer. Since Sun burst onto the country charts with his own mega-hit, " Old Flames (Can't Hold A Candle To You)," he continually sharpened his powerful songwriting skills. While on the Ovation label, he released three critically acclaimed albums: "Old Flames", "Out Of Your Mind", and the final one "Livin' On Honky Tonk Time" which included Bombed, Boozed and Busted ....the song that Ken Engel describes as his favorite to do to his creation of theTexas Freeze, a 16 count dance. Kenneth E. Engel (AKA Kentucky Ken) was an instructor at Mr. Lucky's in Phoenix, AZ in 1976-1978 and then at Gilley's in Texas in 1980 where URBAN COWBOY was filmed. He taught John Travolta the two-step for this movie. Ken Engel's resume. The original 16 count step sheet for the Texas Freeze written by Ken Engle circa 1980. This 16 count dance, is first described and diagrammed in Betty Casey's Dance across Texas published by University of Texas Press, in 1985 ...page 82. The word 'grapevine' was not used in the original step description & the dance started with the left foot as was the custom for a "drill" line dance. Leaning forward on the rock count ...dancers would 'freeze' for 3 counts when someone hollared out the word.
In May of 1981, the Oakridge Boys released "Fancy Free". Track #1 was "Elvira", the music that we are familar with to dance the Freeze. The Freeze is first described and diagrammed in Betty Casey's Dance across Texas published by University of Texas Press, in 1985 ...page 82. The word 'grapevine' was not used in the original step description & the dance started with the left foot as was the custom for a "drill" line dance. Leaning forward on the rock count ...dancers would 'freeze' for 3 counts when someone hollared out the word. View dance ranking 2001.
Tush Push - two authors claim credit - James Ferrazzano & Ken Engel.
James Ferrazzano: Alabama Slammer, Arkansas Stomp, Amos Moses, Carolina Stroll, Gone Young, Kansas City Stomp, Montana Four Corner, Montana Stomp, Riggins Stomp, & Oklahoma Shuffle.
Ken Engel's original steps for Tush Push and his bio: http://www.linedancefun.com/kennethengel View dance ranking 2001.
AT the Fairplex L.A. County Fair ...Doug & Cheryl Miranda (California) and
their class danced Hooked
On Country during their performance. Back shuffles were NEW to line dance
and the music was to Albert Coleman
and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra ...Just Hooked on Country AND the crowd
went wild! This dance was Doug Miranda's first choreography to be seen and then
taught as a dance.
1988 Steve Earle released "Copperhead Road"; The album's only commercial U.S. single was "Copperhead Road" - targeted exclusively to rock radio. This music inspired the classic line dance Copperhead Road,creator unknown. View dance ranking 2000 And 2001.
1989 Cruisin' (Neil Hale, California) was choreographed to "Still Cruisin'"from the "Still Cruisin' (After All These Years)" CD by the Beach Boys. The signature "figure 8" pattern defined this simple, single wall, beginning/intermediate level line dance, and it is easily one of the most recognizable and well known dances in the world today. Cruising' was the first internationally acclaimed choreography of its kind to be done to a non-Country/Western song. It is conceptually simple, and it can be danced to a variety of rhythms, including a variety of Latin and Swing. It continues being taught and enjoyed in venues wherever line dancing is done, and - in a poll conducted in England in October, 2000 Cruisin' by Neil Hale, was voted the "Best Known" line dance in the world. View dance ranking 2000 And 2001.
1989 Marcia Griffiths (along with Bunny Wailer) recorded the "Electric Boogie", a pop hit in the U.S. This music inspired a variation of the Freeze ...we call the Electric Slide. View dance ranking 2000 And 2001.
1991 Mustang Sally was choreographed to "Mustang Sally" by the Commitments. This cover of an older Rhythm & Blues tune by Wilson Pickett had an especially pronounced backbeat and - by this time - there were other choreographers experimenting with similar non-Country/Western, and generally more danceable, music. Mustang Sally, by Neil Hale, is a spirited, two wall, 48 count, intermediate level line dance.
1992 "Achy Breaky Heart" recorded by Billy Ray Cyrus "burst on the radio airwaves in the spring of 1992. The catchy, rhythmic tune became a national phenomenon that summer, igniting a dance craze (Achy Breaky Heart by Melanie Greenwood), a hit video and pop crossover airplay." The lyrics were automatically sung by nearly every dancer while doin' this line dance ....sometimes up to 4 times each night at venues around the world! View dance ranking 2001. This dance was named Achy Breaky Heart and then became "The Achy Breaky".
1992 Bar Room Romeo created by Ron (Doc) Holliday and written to music played by a local Fresno, CA band, but most instructor/DJ's used the Forester Sisters track entitled "Redneck Romeo" from their "I Got A Date" album released in 1992. In 1993, Dolly Parton asked Billy Ray Cyrus & friends to sing in her hit single "Romeo". In 2002, "Romeo" continues to bring dancers on the floor for Bar Room Romeo.
1992 Linda Lu, created by Neil Hale in 1992, was originally done to a Lee Greenwood cover of the older Rhythm & Blues tune "Linda Lu," by Ray Sharpe. Unbeknownst to the choreographer at the time was the fact that the Lee Greenwood CD, "Loves On The Way", from which it was taken had gone out of print and was no longer available. Linda Lu thus remained a regional only hit until 1993 when the song was covered again by Ricky Van Shelton on the "A Bridge I Didn't Burn" CD. The tempo of this cover was quite a bit faster than Lee Greenwood's version, and Linda Lu was quickly embraced by an enthusiastic Australian line dance community (seen here in a video lesson) where it remained one of the their top dances for years. Neil Hale's bio: http://www.linedancefun.com/neilhale
1992 Waltz Across Texas created by Lois and John Nielson. Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson & Charlie Daniels released their tune "Waltz Across Texas" 10/23/92. In 2002, dancers still do Waltz Across Texas or Jo Thompson's Midnight Waltz as a floor split when any waltz music is played. The Nielson bio: http://www.linedancefun.com/nielson View dance ranking 2001.
1993 Hot Tamales - The Up-tempo Country/Western tune "Country Down To My Soul" by Lee Roy Parnell from his "on The Road" CD, released in October 1993, provided a perfect and irresistible opportunity for Neil Hale to assure C/W purists that he had not abandoned his roots, and that he was still Country "down to his soul." The twangy, and at time searing, guitar solo provided the perfect backdrop for yet another signature Neil Hale move, the 8 count Hot Tamales' shoulder shimmies. Hot Tamales, a 64 count, two wall, up-tempo intermediate line dance was taken on tour to Australia in 1996 and to Great Britain in 1997 where it met with sweeping and instantaneous success on both continents. Hot Tamales became a regional hit the moment it was taught & remains a San Francisco Bay Area standard at the start of the new millennium. Hot Tamales is the first choreography to be listed on international top ten line dance charts 3 full years after its creation. View dance ranking 2000 And 2001. In 1998 Linedancer Magazine announced their namonations of the year ...Hot Tamales was nominated for Dance of the Year!
1993 Jo Thompson created Midnight Waltz ...a 48 count, 4 wall line dance done to any slow to medium tempo waltz music. Midnight Waltz continues to be used in country western line dance competitions around the world ...it is on schedules for 2002 competitions. View dance ranking 2001.
1993 The 90s country group Twister Alley started playing traditional country music at Gilley's but soon developed into more high-energy country. The group is quoted as saying their techno-country single, the furiously paced "Dance", from their 1993 album "Twister Alley" was too outlandish for country radio in 1993. Jo listed "Dance" as a music choice for her Dance Ranch Romp she wrote in 1993.
1994 Cowgirls' Twist - Bill Bader of Vancouver, BC. This line dance was performed by more than 3700 dancers on July 4, 1996 in Redwood City, CA that won the 1996 Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Line Dance. Bil's bio: http://www.billbader.com
1994 Cha Cha Lengua, Neil Hale's slow, stylish, intermediate level line dance was choreographed to "Un Momento Alla" from the self-titled "Rick Trevino" CD released in February, 1994. Like Hot Tamales, Cha Cha Lengua owes much of its popularity to dance stylist and choreographer, Michele Burton, who - with her dance team, "The Derringer Dancers" - paid the ultimate tribute to Neil Hale by incorporating these dances into their performances both live and on video. Cha Cha Lengua is the first internationally acclaimed choreography to be danced to a non-Country/Western song in a language other than English. View dance ranking 2000 And 2001.
1994 When The Tractors sing ...Baby Likes To Rocket It (to a boogie woogie choo choo train) Rock It by Hillbilly Rick Meyers is THE dance. A beginner level 48 count, 2 wall dance, the Rock It is still requested and filling the floor summer 2002. Hillbilly Rick's bio: http://www.hillbillyrick.com
1995 Smokey Places written by Michele Perron in January 1995. Smokey Places is the first internationally acclaimed Rumba line dance ever choreographed to country music. "Smokey Places" by Ronnie McDowell is the #6 track on the album "I'm Still Missing You" released in 1988. The original step sheet for this 32 count, four wall, beginner plus level line dance is also signed in "Thanks" by Ronnie McDowell. Dancers do Smokey Places or Neil Hale's Cruisin' as a floor split whenever cha cha music is played. Michele Perron's bio: http://www.micheleperron.com View dance ranking 2000 And 2001.
1995 Fly Like A Bird written by Hedy McAdams to the #5 track of the same name off the 1994 "Some Change" album by blues-rock singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs. The Fly Like A Bird signed step sheet chronologically lists the awards this dance has won. View ranking in 2000 And 2001. Hedy's comments conerning this dance.
1995 Black Dresses was Michael Barr's first choreographed dance. It debuted in 1995 to a song of the same name by Steve Kolander. The best cut came off the CDX compilation (Vol. 100 January 1995). Although it is on his CD named, Steve Kolander, the CDX cut has more orchistration for a better dance cut. Black Dresses debuted at the 1995 Golden Gate Classic, this brought the 48 count 4 wall line dance to the attention of Charlotte Skeeters and Neil Hale. Charlotte decided to teach the dance downunder and it was taught in the UK which brought Michael into the world arena. View dance ranking 2000.
1996 Choreography taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1996.
1996 Cruise Control - Neil Hale, took first place at the first Annual CWDI International Choreographers' Competition. Cruise Control is a 32 count, one-wall, fast-paced, line dance done to "All Over But The shoutin'" by Shenandoah from their somewhat difficult to find CD, "Now and Then" released in April, 1996.
Swamp Thang - written by Max Perry
and danced to "Swamp Thing" by The Grid. The 1994 hit song is a mixture
of banjoes blended with techno. A purely mechanical performance that sounded
like live music. View ranking in 2000
And 2001. Max Perry wrote an enlightening artice on hustle
line dance in 1996.
Swing Time Boogie written by Scott
Blevins to "Swing City", track #1 on the album "Swing City"
Brown --the first artist to meld the
big band swing sound with country music. Swing
Time Boogie is the first internationally acclaimed choreography to be danced
to phrased music. In May, 2003 Scott had a packed floor at TWO separate
workshops for this classic 'Hall of Fame'line dance at Doug & Jackie Miranda's
Bonanaza Bash in Ontario, CA Scott taught this dance by request as an 'oldie'
at the 2004 JG2 Marathon.
Ricky Martin released his album "A Medio Vivir" which was Latin in
focus with "a tinge of rock " in 1995. Sherry McClure wrote
Uno, Dos, Tres
(aka 13 MWZ), a 32 count, 4 wall intermediate line dance in 1996
to track #3 "Maria" ...this latin
music with rock influence inspired the explosive creation of Latin rhythm
line dances still being written at the beginning of the new millenium.
View dance ranking in 2001.
1996 The first dance to achieve mega hit status written in collaboration was Louisisana Hot Sauce by Gordon Elliott (Australia), Joanne Brady, Max Perry and Jo Thompson (USA).
taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997.
1997 M.I.B. (Men In Black) written by James O. Kellerman is done to pop rap music. It won Will Smith a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.
1997 Ride That Train written by Scott Blevins was the first dance to funky rap music. I learned the dance in 1997 from 'Becky' who was teaching at the Wild West in Bloomington. The U of I dancers were on the floor that night and I remember thinking ..I sure wish we had cowboys like these on our floors back home! I brought the dance back to the bay area and it was taught at the Y in Palo Alto by Michael Barr ...but the music and the dance were too 'young' for the mature aged bay area dancers. It was a hit across other parts of the USA. Scott mailed me a signed copy of his dance per my request.
1997 Running Bear, the song, was initially recorded by Johnny Preston, but it was covered by the Dean Brothers in August, 1996 when it appeared on their "On The Right Tracks" CD. The clean, predictable, but slightly uneven phrasing of the song provided an opportunity to experiment with a slightly uneven phrasing of the song provided an opportunity to grandstand with that rare, clean break at the end of the song. Running Bear, along with Ribbon of Highway, has been featured in the UK's Linedancer Magazine's Blasts From The Past. Running Bear by Neil Hale is a fun, crowd-pleasing dance that is also popular in New Zealand and with the very vibrant dance community in Hong Kong.
1997 Ribbon of Highway represents a departure from most of Neil Hale's choreography in that it is done to a Two Step rhythm from the song of the same name by Scooter Lee off her "Moving On Up" CD. Both Ribbon of Highway and Running Bear, by Neil Hale, owe much of their success to the exposure these dances were given by Scooter Lee and The Dean Brothers for whose songs these line dances were created. View dance ranking 2000 And 2001.
1997 Pencil Thin Mustache was the dance that started Charlotte Skeeters (California) hit parade ... view dance ranking 2000. This 2 wall, 64 count intermediate line dance done to the cover of the same name by Jimmy Buffet, took 2nd place in New Line Dance Choreography at the 1997 Desert Sands Festival in Las Vegas, NV.
1997 From the first teach of Hey Bruce ...this 48 count 2 wall line dance hooked the dancer. The weird name, the pulsing song and the arm movements hit a spot dancers were ready for. The driving beat of the song, The Heat is On, by La Bouche (Sweet Dreams CD), got the attention of the dancer. Originally done to My Girl and then Hey Baby (name comes from the last few words on the song Hey Baby), both off the Alabama CD, "Dancin' on the Boulevard", the dance needed a true Hustle piece of music. With The Heat is On the dance took off. Bringing the Hustle count to the line dancer was the motivation. Hey Bruce garnished a number of awards in Canada and at Worlds held in Nashville, TN in 1998. Michael Barr taught Hey Bruce by request as an 'oldie' at the 2004 JG2 Marathon.
1998 Choreography taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998.
1998 Got To Be Funky was created by USA choreographer Dawn Beecham. She taught her newly created beginner dance in a workshop in October 1998 at the Tarheel Classic in North Carolina ...the 'funk' music (Everything I Do) Got To Be Funky by blues singer Maurice John Vaughn from his album "In The Shadow Of The City" brings dancers on the floor at both socials and country/western bars across the world. It only took TWO months for this 32 count, 4 wall easy intermediate dance - Got To Be Funky to hit the top ten line dance ballots throughout the world. It was still strong in country/western bar venues summer of 2002 and continuing summer of 2007. View ranking in 2000 And 2001.
1998 Dizzy - Jo Thompson, USA written especially for Scooter Lee's "Movin' On Up" album. "Dizzy" (country dance mix version) ...the lyrics are automatically sung by nearly every dancer while doin' Dizzy ....I know sometimes up to 4 times a night at venues around the world ...in 1998 - 1999. This dance still shows up on request lists at festivals ...summer of 2001. View dance ranking 2000 UK And 2001. It still fills the floor when called in the San Francisco bay area in 2005.
1998 Mama's Lil' Baby - Charlotte Skeeters (CA. This 4 wall, easy intermediate dance done to Shortenin' Bread, The Tractors placed 4th in New Choreography competition at the '98 Jamboree BC - Canada. View dance ranking 2001.
1999 Choreography taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999.
1999 Jai' Du Boogie - Max Perry, USA written especially for Scooter Lee's music of the same name. Max Perry's bio: http://www.maxperry.net View ranking 2000 And 2001.
1999 What's Your Name - Michael Barr, CA. A big fan of Delbert McClinton, Michael found the well phrased song off McClinton's "The Great Songs Come Together" CD. The song, Why Me, is often used as the name of the dance. The 64 count 4 wall dance is a fun pattern that finishes with a 16 count traverse of the dance floor. With a few awards around the line dance world, What's Your Name has earned it's spot in time. View dance ranking 2000 And 2001.
1999 Whole Lotta Peppas, true to its name, is an up-tempo, intermediated level, 48 count, two-wall line dance. It is done to a Salsa rhythm, "The Cup of Life" (Spanish Radio World Cup" Edit) by Ricky Martin from the self-titled "Ricky Martin" CD. Latin Rhythms were the rave of the dance floor at this time, and Whole Lotta Peppas, by Neil Hale, represented one of many Latin line dances that provided a refreshing, much-needed, and stimulating boost to the international line dance scene.
Storybook Endings, is a 3/4 time
waltz line dance done to "Someone Must Feel Like A Fool Tonight" by
Kenny Rogers. It is from the somewhat hard to find - but still available - "Back
Home Again" CD that was released in November, 1991. The dance is one wall,
easy to learn, and conceptually simple. The appropriately entitled "Storybook
Endings" represents what may be the culmination of a string of very successful
line dances by Neil Hale. They have spanned the final decade of the century,
and will most certainly continue being enjoyed many years into the new millenium
by line dancers throughout the world.
© 2006 DorisVolz.com This is my personal site; all opinions are mine; all rights reserved. comments go to firstname.lastname@example.org
is a San Francisco Bay Area dancer (my
bio), writer & publisher of LineDanceFun.
com (first published in June, 1996 - an archived
page from 1998) In 1994, she began attending weekly line dance
classes taught by Hedy McAdams, Michael Barr, Neil Hale, and Charlotte
Skeeters before they were line dance choreographers ...with the exception
of Neil Hale! Neil had been Mr. Cruisin' since 1989! His Linda Lu, Hot
Tamales, Cha Cha Lengua and Cruisin' were on 'local' country western
bar instructors line dance schedules in the early 1990's. (What
I was learning in weekly line dance lessons
What makes for a great line dance
event? Here is feedback
from 2002 that still holds in 2007.
Becoming a webmaster and creating
LineDanceFun.com was so much fun, nearly as much as being a line dancer.
..a just for fun video
clip ...a blonde officer giving
a sobriety test to a cowboy
© 05052005 - 2007 Doris Volz