How to Line Dance for Beginners

Line dancing is a fun dance performed solo or in a group to country music. It is typically danced in a line with other dancers, making it excellent for someone without a partner. The line dance has simple steps that look great, only requiring accurate timing and foot placement. No need to sit out line dances anymore! Learn how to line dance as champion line dancer Robert Royston teaches you all the right moves in these Howcast dance videos.

History of the Line Dance

Compared to some other dances, the line dance is a fairly new trend, only having been created during the late 1970s. It is an American dance that draws heavily upon American folk dances like the Contra.

While line dancing was becoming a trend, the addition of country music hits from the 90s like Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” made the dance mainstream. From here, musicians began to create songs specifically for line dancing, which allowed it to blossom into a full-fledged phenomenon. It is still performed today in many country music halls around the country.

How to Line Dance

Learning how to line dance is fairly straightforward, and it’s especially great for beginners, because you can do it alone. Most steps are also just walking steps, which makes the dance much easier to pick up. If you want to line dance well, you simply need to practice counting and learn some basic footwork.

Counting

Counting for a line dance is simple. Most dances involve taking a step for each beat in 4/4 time. This means that there will be four steps over four beats of music. You can count this by saying: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8—or 1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3, 4.

How to Do the Line Dance Cupid Shuffle

Now that you know how to time your steps, you’ll need to learn how to perform the steps you’re timing. We’ll start with a basic dance known as the cupid shuffle to get you started on the right foot. Here’s how to do the Line Dance Cupid Shuffle:

  • First, take a side step with your right foot.
  • Then step with your left foot to bring it next to your right foot.
  • Now take another step with your right foot. 
  • Close your left foot next to your right foot again. 
  • Take yet another side step with your right foot. 
  • Bring your left foot over to your right foot again. 
  • Take one final side step with your right foot. 
  • Take a final closing step with your left foot, but this time just tap it and don’t put your weight on it. 
  • From here, the dance reverses going to the left. 
  • Take a side step to the left with your left foot. 
  • Close by bringing your right foot next to your left foot. 
  • Take another side step with your left foot. 
  • Bring your right foot over to your left foot again. 
  • Side step with your left foot again. 
  • Close your right foot over to your left foot again. 
  • Take a final side step with your left foot. 
  • Bring your right foot over to your left foot again, but make sure to tap it and leave your weight on your left foot. 
  • At this point, you’ll now switch to doing heel taps without moving. This means tapping with your heel out in front of you rather than with the ball of your foot. 
  • Heel tap in front of you with your left foot, then bring it back next to your right foot. 
  • Repeat this with your right foot. 
  • Heel tap again with your left foot. 
  • Repeat this with your right foot. 
  • Heel tap a third time with your left foot. 
  • Repeat this a third time on your right foot. 
  • Heel tap a final time with your left foot. 
  • Heel tap a final time with your right foot. 
  • To complete the dance, you’ll take 8 normal steps in place, gradually turning with each step until you’re facing 90º to the left of your original position. 
  • After stepping in place, the dance repeats itself.

Start Line Dancing Today!

This guide should help give you a solid starting point for learning how to line dance! To learn even more moves and techniques, explore the full video series below.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Robert Royston

Robert Royston began his professional career on the competitive couples dance circuit in 1989, quickly ascending through the ranks and securing the US Open Swing Dance Championship and the World Country Dance Championship, titles he held for four consecutive years (1995 to 1998). In 2007 he became the youngest person to be inducted to the UCWDC Hall of Fame. His exciting, high-energy and original work next led to his choreographing and performing in music videos. An internationally-recognized judge and instructor, Robert teaches 22 different styles of couples dancing and runs his own production company, RoRo Productions.