Originally associated with country western music, line dancing has expanded to encompass more modern country music, hip hop, swing and many other music genres. Aside from being one of the best ways to get Great Aunt Betty on the dance floor at a wedding, line dancing is one of the most popular forms of recreational activities worldwide, according to the Oregon Alliance for Health, Education, Recreation and Dance.
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In the ‘70s, the “Soul City Walk” and “The Bump” were two of the most popular party line dances, according to Patricia Clayton, senior instructor for kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University, Abington Campus. The “Soul City Walk” relies mainly in the tapping of your feet and in counting the steps you take, whereas “The Bump” is in the hips. The “Alley Cat” and the “Bunny Hop” were two other favorites of the Baby Boomer Generation. These are also line dances that rely heavily on left and right footsteps; however, the “Bunny Hop” requires hopping during the dance, which can make the party crowd giggle when dancers bump into each other or lose balance.
Modern Line Dances
Although the Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men” is not a new song, the line dance isn’t that old. With many variations, this song is a party song that gets a lot of girls out on the floor. Another modern line dance is the 2007 “Cupid Shuffle.” The “Cupid Shuffle” is a song with a very simple dance. The “Casper Cha-Cha Slide” is also a simple line dance anyone can do because the directions are in the song, such as “slide to the left.” An older modern song that everyone at the party will know is the “Macarena.” Unlike most line dances, the “Macarena” relies more on the hands than the feet.
Some line dances live on through many generations, such as “Cotton Eyed Joe,” a country song with a lively beat whose dance relies heavily on foot movement. Although dances and songs may modify, such as when the “Electric Slide” changed to “The New Electric Slide,” the dances are easy enough to pick up so they are enjoyed by grandparents and high schoolers alike. Both versions of the “Electric Slide” depend on both hand and foot movements, moving across the dance floor in line formation and either clapping or moving your hands in front of you.
Although not line dances, some group dances are very popular at parties. The "Chicken Dance" and the "Hokey Pokey" are very popular wedding dances that are circular rather than linear. Another popular wedding dance that is a line dance in the most literal sense of the word is the Conga line. Other group dances that cannot be considered line dances but have the same effect of getting the entire party involved include the "YMCA" and "Shout."
Benefits of Line Dancing
Line dancing is a great way to be part of a group without feeling socially awkward at the party, whether it is the high school prom or a collage frat party. Line dances are dances everyone at the party can enjoy, even the rhythmically challenged, because the steps are prechoreographed, according to Patricia Clayton.
Health benefits include toning the body, strengthening muscles and brain-body coordination, and increasing body stability, balance and reflexes. Most of all, line dances are a way to get everyone at the party involved. From the Electric Slide to the Casper Cha-Cha Slide, there is a line dance to get everyone movin’ and groovin’, while enjoying a lifetime fitness activity.