Basic Line Dance Terminology

Most dances fall into one of four categories –One step, Two step , Cha cha or Waltz.
The first three are counted in groups of eight (8 beats to the bar of music) whilst the waltz is counted in groups of six (6 beats to the bar).

The steps of the dances are counted individually e.g. 1,2,3,4 or in double time e.g. 1&2, 3&4 or with a waltz the count is 123,456.

Some helpful hints to get you started. Front is where your nose is, back is where your nose isn't. Left is where your right used to be and right is nowhere to be found!

Single beat steps:

Step
(1 count) place foot on floor and take weight onto it
Right vine
(3 counts) step right foot to side, step left foot behind right, step right foot to side
Left vine
(3 counts) step left foot to side, step right foot behind left, step left foot to side
Touch or tap
(1 count) touch toe or heel to ground but don’t put any weight on it
Brush
(1 count) brush foot forward and upwards past the foot you are standing on
Scuff
(1 count) as brush but make contact with heel on floor
Hook
(1 count) (1 count) lift foot and cross in front of supporting leg
Stomp
(1 count) make a ‘stamping’ action (don’t stamp hard to hurt your foot)
Toe fan
(1 count) move the toe out while keeping heel in contact with the floor
Heel fan
(1 count) move the heel out while keeping ball of foot in contact with floor
Heel splits
(2 counts) keep weight on balls of feet move both heel out at the same time and then back together
Hop
(1 count) spring into the air taking off and landing with same foot
Jump
(1 count) jump forward or backward taking off and landing with both feet at the sane time
Hitch
(1 count) to lift the knee
Rock
(1 count) to transfer weight from one foot to the other
Slide
(1 count) to draw one foot next to the supporting foot
Heel strut
(2 counts) place heel forward on floor then toe onto floor taking weight onto foot
Toe strut
(2 counts) place toe forward or backwards on floor then heel onto floor taking weight onto foot
Left ½ pivot
(2 counts) step forward on right foot, keeping weight on ball of left foot make a ½ turn over your left shoulder so that you end up with your weight on your left foot and facing the wall that was behind you
Right ½ pivot
(2 counts) step forward on left foot, keeping weight on ball of right foot make a ½ turn over your right shoulder so that you end up with your weight on your right foot facing the wall that was behind you
¼ or ¾ pivot
(2 counts) are executed in the same way but make ¼ or ¾ turn to the appropriate wall
Weave left
(4 counts) step right foot across in front of left, step left foot to left side, step right foot back behind left, step left foot to left side
Weave right
(4counts) step left foot across in front of right, step right to right side, step left foot back behind right, step right foot to right side
Jazz box
(4 counts) step right foot across in front of left, step left foot back, step right foot to right side, step left foot next to left. Also done leading with left foot i.e. start by crossing left in front of right
½ Monterey turn
(4 counts) touch right toe to right side, on ball of left foot make ½ turn over your right shoulder and step onto your right foot, touch left toe out to the side, step left foot next to right. Also done leading with left foot i.e. start by touching left toe to left side
¼ or ¾ Monterey
(4 counts) are also executed in the same way but make a ¼ or ¾ turn to the appropriate wall
Hip bumps
bump hips to the right, left, backwards or forwards in time to the music

Syncopated steps:

3 steps forwards, backwards, sideways or on the spot, executed within 2 beats of the music. The following instructions are all leading with the right foot, but are also danced leading with the left foot (just the same steps but read left for right and right for left!) Confused? ...You haven't tried dancing them yet!

All counts are 1&2.

Cha cha or triple step
step (1) right (&) left (2) right on the spot. Or (1) left (&) right (2) left on the spot
Forward shuffle
(1) step forward on right foot, (&) step left foot to right heel, (2) step right foot forward
Backward shuffle
(1) step back on right foot, (&) step left foot back to right toe, (2) step right foot back
Chasse
(1) step right foot to right side, (&) step left foot next to right foot, (2) step right foot to right side
Coaster step
(1) step right foot back, (&) step left foot back next to right, (2) step forward on right foot
Sailor step
(1) step right foot back behind left foot, (&) step left foot to left side, (2) step right foot next to left
Mambo step
(1) step forward on right foot, (&) lift left foot and replace it back down on the same place, (2) step right foot back next to left
Back or side mambo
are executed in the same way but step (1) to the back or to the side
Kick ball change
(1) kick right foot forward, (&) step onto ball of right foot next to left foot and lift left foot slightly off the floor, (2) replace left foot onto floor on the same spot
Twinkle steps
(1) step right foot across in front of left, (&) step left foot to left side, (2) step right foot next to left

Just a few more

All examples leading with right foot but are also done leading with left foot

Rumba box
(8 counts) (1)step forward on right foot, (2)touch left toe next to right,(3)step left to left side, (4)step right next to left, (5)step back on left foot, (6)touch right toe next to left, (7)step right to right side, (8)touch left toe next to right
Lock steps forward
(3 counts) (1)step forward on right foot, (2)step left foot behind right foot, (3)step forward on right foot
Lock steps back
(3 counts) (1)step back on right foot, (2)step left foot in front of right foot, (3)step back on right foot
Charleston steps
(4 counts) (1)touch right toe forward, (2)step right foot next to left, (3)touch left toe back, (4)step left foot next to right
Rhonde turn
(3 counts) (1,2)sweep right toe in front of left as you make ½ turn left on ball of left foot , (3) touch right toe next to left
Heel swivets
(4 counts) (1)fan right toe to right and left heel to left(2)return feet to place change weight to left heel and right toe, (3)fan left toe to left and right heel to right, (4)return feet to place
Toe switches
(2 counts) (1)touch right toe to right side, (&)step right foot in place, (2)touch left toe to left side, (&)step left foot in place
Heel switches
(2 counts) touch right heel to right side, (&)step right foot in place, (2)touch left heel to left side, (&)step left foot in place
Cross unwind
(2 counts) (1)cross right toe in front of(or behind) left foot, (2)unwind on balls of feet to take weight onto right foot (can be ¼, ½, ¾, or full turn)
Scissor step
( 4 counts) (1)step right foot to right side, (2)return weight to left foot, (3)cross step right foot in front of left, (4) hold for one beat (can also be syncopated – count is 1&2&)
Running man
(2 counts) (1)step forward right foot (&)hitch right knee and scoot right foot back, (2)step forward left foot (&)hitch left knee and scoot left foot back
Apple jacks
(2 counts) (1)with weight on right toe and left heel turn right heel left and left toe left, (&)both feet back to centre ready to change weight, (2)with weight on right heel and left toe turn right toe right and left heel right, (&)both feet back to centre ready to change weight
Rolling vine
(3counts) (1)step right making ¼ turn right, (2)1/4 turn on the ball of right foot stepping left to left side, (3)pivot ½ turn on ball of left foot stepping right foot to right
Heel grinds
(2counts) (1)step right heel forward, toe pointing left, (2)grind right heel into floor, fanning toes to right and taking weight
Knee pops
(2counts) (1)with weight on left bend right knee in towards left leg, (2)straighten right knee and bend left knee in towards right leg

And, finally

the smile
Turn outside edges of the mouth in an upward direction. You may also open your lips slightly to reveal your teeth if you so wish!
The fun factor
line dance is meant to be fun. Relax and enjoy - you’ll make some great friends and keep fit and young at heart at the same time!

Don't forget - this is line dancing we are talking about - there are lots of variations to the basic steps!
- Just when you thought you'd cracked it...!!!