Group club dances are popular all over the world, from the hustle on a disco floor to the Boot-Scootin’ Boogie in a country-western line dance club. The basics of group dances are easy, and there are more advanced dances to learn once you’ve sorted our the beginner moves and dances.
Moving with the Groove
There are a two general kinds of group dances performed in clubs: country western and soul/step line dances.
Country Western Line Dancing
Country Line Dancing is the most popular and well-known contemporary club dance for large groups of people. There are over a thousand different resources in thirty seven different countries available just on their own website; there are certainly enough line dances from which to choose.
Basic Line Dance Moves
Although there are many different popular line dances, they share a lot of common moves. Here are some basic line dance steps that are incorporated into a wide variety of line dances:
- Cross-Over: This step, also known as the “grapevine” involves shifting the weight to one foot and letting the other cross in front, setting it on the ground in a toe-heel step that takes the weight of the body. This allows the back foot to lift and step to the side, taking weight, and the step is usually repeated.
- Rock step: Also known as a “ball change”, the rock step simply puts one foot to the front, side, or rear, shifts weight to it momentarily, then immediately brings the body back onto the original foot.
- Sailor Step: Similar to the cross-over, this starts with the weight shifting onto one foot and the other lifting off the ground in a side-kick. However, instead of putting the lifted foot down to the side, it shifts behind the standing leg and takes weight instead. The standing foot then does a ball-change to the side, ending up with all the weight on the foot that did the cross and ready to start the step again. This step is far more difficult to explain than it is to simply show, and sites like Line Danz have videos that illustrate it clearly.
These are only a few of the steps you can learn through sites such as Copper Knob (a British line dancing site) or the KickIt line dancing archive.
Step Line Dances:
In the 1970s, especially with the popularity of movies such as Saturday Night Fever, group dances such as “The Electric Slide” and “The Hustle” were very popular. Today these dances are usually performed more at weddings and other party events, but there are Soul Line Dance organizations throughout urban centers that keep these kinds of dances alive. One of the largest resources is Step in the Name of Life, which has hundreds of videos of groups performing the dances as well as individual instructions for the steps.
The Cupid Shuffle
A recent group dance hit that is popular in the clubs is called The Cupid Shuffle. Like many group dances, the words to the song actually give instructions on how to do the dance:
- “To the Right, to the Right“: Dancers step with their right foot to the side, bringing the left foot next to it and repeating.
- “To the Left, to the Left“: The same move is executed to the left. Dancers are encouraged to add personal touches such as hands on their hips, wiggling their bodies, or sliding along the floor dramatically.
- “Kick…” The kick move is simply a low point with each foot, toe up at a 45 degree angle and the heel about two to three inches off the ground.
- “Now Walk it by Yourself:” This is a walking-in-place move, usually with a grinding twist, with each foot digging into the ground. Some dancers add a slow gyration and rotation to this step.
This is one of the easiest group dances to learn, but almost any dance is available on the Internet, from the venerable Electric Slide to the complex Crank Dat Soulja Boy.
The Best Way to Learn: DANCE
While the Internet is a valuable resource for recording and learning dances, the best place to learn is at the club where the group is dancing. That’s where you can pick up the basics, see what other people are doing, and add in your own personal style. The most important part of dancing in a club is not the steps; it’s all about having fun and getting your groove on with others.