Line Dance Step Terms
On this page I will explain how to do some of the steps, so when you’re on the Line Dancing for Beginners page, you can refer to this page if you get stuck.
Counts: Any kind of moving to the music is done with doing designated moves to certain counts of the beat. Music is naturally done in an 8 count pattern. Most dances are 32 counts ( 4 sets of 8 counts) but some dances are longer or shorter depending on how the choreographer designed the dance to the music. Some dances move only on the straight count of the beat and some dances move on the “&” counts which make them syncopated.
Lead foot of dance: Every dance has a distinct lead foot- Right or left. It is helpful to know this about the dance so you know primarily which leg you will be starting the dance with, which i also (usually) th leg you will use first for each 8 count combination.
Weight Placement: you will receive cues while dancing regarding weight placement. Ex: weight is on your right foot. This is very important because this tells you if you ended on the correct foot and have the correct foot to make the next step.
Step vs Touch: This goes hand in hand with weight placement. If you are cued to do a step, your weight is on that foot. If you are cued to touch( scuff, tap, kick, whatever) no weight is on that foot and that foot is going to be the next one you use for dancing.
Syncopation in the Steps: In dancing taking the straight move dance and changing it to do steps on the “&” or “up” count. Some dance steps as learned above are already syncopated.. Examples: Syncopated grapevine or jumps.
Stylizing the dance: adding subtle moves ( arms, hips, shakes, turns) to the dance to make that dance more interesting or fun. Choreographers may add style notes onto their dance sheet. Encourage the campers/students to add their own personality.
Tags, Restarts: Tags are additional steps not included in the original choreography. Restart is where the choreographer has indicated in the middle of the dance to restart to the beginning.
Hook: 1 count move by bringing the indicated foot up slightly and crossed over the opposite leg
Hitch: 1 count move by lifting the designated foot up to the knee of the 2nd leg with a slight hop. Often used when turning.
Toe Fan: 2 count move where the designated foot (keeping the heel in place) has the toe move out to the side and back.
Heel Grind: Heel of lead foot goes forward as you grind it (toe of lead foot fand in this move) weight stays on opposite foot. Can be used to make a turn.
Toe Strut heel strut: 2 count move where the designated foot you step on the toe then bring the heel of the same foot down in place moving in the direction indicated by the dance.
Hip Bump: Feet are stationary; weight may or may not transfer back and forth to each foot as you shake your bum in the designated direction for the designated amount of counts.
Hip Roll: Feet are stationary; usually together, while you move your hips around in a circular motion.
Grindy Grindy: Feet are stationary , usually one forward one back, while you take your hips in a forward down an up (while slightly bending knees) motion.
Drawing Sweep: The lead foot , toe pointed, smoothly drags in a circular motion that starts from the hip joint. Weight stays on the 2nd leg.
Swivel: Keeping your feet together, swing your toes or heels to the designated direction-basically same as twisting.
Slide: This step normally follows a previous step. You slide the designated foot the designated amount of counts to meet the 2nd foot which has the weight.
Skate: Lead leg moves out from 2nd leg (which has the weight) at a diagonal as if to emulate an ice skating move.
Grapevine: The basic grapevine is a 8 count traveling combo where the lead foot steps to the side, the 2nd foot steps behind lead, the lead foot steps to side ( 3 counts) and the 2nd leg taps ( no weight) next to the lead foot.
Variations: vind- 1/2 of the grapevine one way 4 counts
syncopated vine- can be cued and taught in many ways per dance
rolling vine- vine with a full turn. Normally turning in same direction that you vine.
Vine- with 1/2 turn- can be cued in many ways per dance
Double vine- two vines put together going same direction 8 counts
Weave- Vine move but starting with the cross step first or by doing the cross step in front instead of back
Stroll- doing the vine forward or backward instead of sideways
Step lock step camel walk diagonal grape forward shuffle diagonal foward: 4 counts also called slide behind. This is very much like a vine traveling forward. lead leg steps in indicated direction. 2nd leg steps up right behind lead leg sort of locking together with lead leg, then lead leg steps forward and 2nd leg steps next to lead.
Walk: Just as you might walk normally using the beat.
Boogie walks: As you walk in the designated direction you bend your knees and turn each foot out diagonally on the steps.
Taps/touches: 1 count move by locating the correct foot part to the correct position. Foot part meaning toe or heel. Position meaning side, forward, back or diagonal.
Brush: 1 count by the lead foot doing a quick drag of the foot in a forward to back or vice versa movement ending with the weight on the 2nd foot as you started like a tap.
Toe split/heel split: 2 count move starting with both feet together next to each other. Toe split heels stay together while toes split apart and then back together. Heel split toes stay together while heels split apart and then back together.
Charleston Step: Start on lead foot stepping forward, kicking the 2nd foot, stepping back on the 2nd foot and then touching the lead foot’s toe back, 4 counts
Sway: Feet stay in a place as you sway your body from one side to the other as designed by the dance.
Jazz Push: Feet are together, hands are at the chest facing out and as you push them forward(like you weer pushing someone away from you) both feet scoot back at the same time.( can also be done with one foot)
Sizzors: Side rock cross, counts 1 and 2 , lead foot does a side rock and step across 2nd foot.
Sugar foot/feet: Toe-heel-crosss, 1 and 2 counts, lead foot taps toe then heel and steps across 2nd foot.
Giddy ups/dorthy steps: Lead foot steps in designated direction and takes the weight and then the lead leg does a quick catch ( sort of like ball change) to that foot but the weight goes back to the lead foot.
Pivot turn: This is a turn where you turn without changing the weight from one foot to another. you can do pivot turns in 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 etc. The lead foot steps the cued direction and your body turns to the correct wall, 1/4, 1/2 etc… with your weight still on the lead foot.
Elvis knee /knee turn: The lead foot toe stays in place while the knee of that leg moves out to the designated direction and amount. Weight stays on 2nd foot for this move.
Unwind turns: lead foot crosses over 2nd foot and feet stay in place as you uncross your legs in a turn. counts, direction, and distance designated by dance.
Twist Turn: Toes stay together while you lift the heels and twist into a turn. Counts, direction and distance designated by dance.
Paddle Turn: Lead foot stays on the floor as an anchor while the 2nd foot taps out to the side and pulls back in next to the leg like a hitch. On the pull in you make your turn in the designated direction, 2 counts.
Rock step/mambo: Basic rock steps are two counts. rock steps can be done in any direction. lead foot steps the direction and then you recover on the 2nd foot ( also cued as “rock recovered”)
Directions: Forward, back, 2 count ball change, side, cross
Ball change/ball touch: Ball-change” Steppin gon the ball of the foot for the 1/2 beat , then putting the weight on the opposite foot for the one beat. 1 1/2 beats.
Ball touch: Same as the ball change, but instead of putting the weight on the opposite foot the wieght stays on the lead leg and the opposite foot does a touch.
Rumba box: 4 counts for full basic box. Making a box with your steps as follows: step lead to designated direction (right or left) step 2nd foot together with lead, step lead forward ( counts 1 and 2), hold on and count, step 2nd foot to opposite direction (ex: if you started box to right then you would be stepping left),step lead together with 2nd foot, step 2nd foot back to where you started box. ( counts 3 and 4) hold on and count.
Jazz square box: Basic jazz square is 4 counts. The lead foot crosses over the 2nd foot, the 2nd foot steps back, the lead foot steps next to the 2nd foot and the 2nd foot steps forward. Directions: forward, turning 1/4, 1/2, mixed with other steps (starts with a basic jazz square then mix in other steps)
Monterey Turn: This is a turn where the lead foot taps the the toe out to the designated side and as that foot comes back to step enxt ot the 2nd foot you turn the designated amount in the direction of the lead foot. ( 2 counts)
Variation: full monterey-lead foot taps the toe out to the designated side and as that foot comes back in step next to the 2nd foot you complete a 1/2 turn , then the 2nd foot taps out to the other side and as you bring that foot in to step next to the lead foot you do a 1/2 turn back to the starting wall. ( 4 counts)
1/2, 1/4 or 3/4 monterey- do the monterey turn to designated direction and amount full monterey in place- just tapping side to side 4 counts.
Heel jack/vaudville: Heel of lead foot taps out designated direction at a diagonal and then returns back taking the weight as a step9 2 counts)
Vaudville: are alternating heel jacks with and cross step in between. lead heet out then bring lead back and step on it while 2nd foot crosses over lead, then 2nd foot heel goes out, then bring 2nd foot back and step on it while lead foot crosses over 2nd foot. counts 1 & 2 & 3 & 4.
Triple Steps: There are many different kinds of triple steps from in place to traveling. Below are some of the different kinds, but all have 1 adn 2 counts or cha cha cha and alternate lead 2nd lead.
Variations: Sache, chasse or shuffle to side
Shuffle: shuffle is a traveling triple and can move forward, back one foot crossing over another etc..
Coaster: lead foot steps ack, 2nd foot steps back and lead foot steps forward
Sailor or padre: lead foot step behind, across 2nd foot, 2nd foot steps to side, and lead foot steps to side of 2nd foot. Looks like the motion one would make it if they were tipping over and then recovering from the tipping. Sailor step is short for drunken sailor.
Pivot turn step- lead foot steps foward and pivots 1/2 transferring the weight to the 2nd foot, then the lead foot steps forward.
Behind,side, front: lead foot steps behind 2nd foot, 2nd foot steps to side, lead foot steps in front of 2nd foot. This done normally traveling to sdie.
In place- cha cha cha in place
Traveling: This is when you use the triple step while traveling. Ex: Triple turn 1/2, triple turn 3/4, triple full turn.
Tip: Remember you’re the choreographer. You don’t need to be a dance instructor to teach these dances. Nothing wrong with simplifying the dance for a Multi-sports camp.
I hope this helps you out. Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.