A Line DanceTime Line Doris Volz, California

Early settlers arriving into the USA in the mid 1800's brought new dance steps ...non-partner dancing consisted of extemporaneous footwork - clogging, shuffling, leaping, heel clicking and 'cutting the pigeon wing' (clapping the feet together while leaping in the air) while a lone fiddler played for many or just a few. Clothes & shoes were fancy, or not ...everyone noticed, no one cared.
World War II servicemen were entertained at home & over seas by country-western bands and entertainers from the Grand Ole Opry ...the music for the Cotton-eyed Joe, schottische, waltzes and two-step literally influenced the World.
In 1979 country-western music TV specials were popular ...Hank, Waylon, Willie, etc were at the top of country charts ... western movies inspired a new look at western clothes.
The 1980's movie Urban Cowboy showed John Travolta in cowboy hat, buckle and tight jeans two-steppin' in a Texas honky tonk with Debra Winger. Texas dances & country-western music & western clothes became the 'style' ...dance routines were created and shared and taught and line dancin'just came to be.

In May of 1981, the Oakridge Boys released "Fancy Free". Track #1 was "Elvira", the music that we are familar with to dance the Freeze. The Freeze is first described and diagrammed in Betty Casey's Dance across Texas published by University of Texas Press, in 1985 ...page 82. The word 'grapevine' was not used in the original step description & the dance started with the left foot as was the custom for a "drill" line dance.
(Dance across Texas describes the importance of dance socials to early Texans ...read about a social that happened Valentine's Day 1895 here.)

Tush Push - two authors claim credit - James Ferrazzano & Ken Engel.
Other dances by James Ferrazzano: Alabama Slammer, Arkansas Stomp, Amos Moses, Carolina Stroll, Gone Young, Kansas City Stomp, Montana Four Corner, Montana Stomp, Riggins Stomp, & Oklahoma Shuffle. Ken Engel's bio: http://www.linedancefun.com/kennethengel.htm

1988 Steve Earle released "Copperhead Road"; The album's only commercial U.S. single was "Copperhead Road" - targeted exclusively to rock radio. This music inspired the classic line dance Copperhead Road,creator unknown. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1989 Cruisin' was choreographed to "Still Cruisin'"from the "Still Cruisin' (After All These Years)" CD by the Beach Boys. The signature "figure 8" pattern defined this simple, single wall, beginning/intermediate level line dance, and it is easily one of the most recognizable and well known dances in the world today. Cruisin' was the first internationally acclaimed choreography of its kind to be done to a non-Country/Western song. It is conceptually simple, and it can be danced to a variety of rhythms, including a variety of Latin and Swing. It continues being taught and enjoyed in venues wherever line dancing is done, and - in a poll conducted in England in October, 2000 Cruisin' by Neil Hale, was voted the "Best Known" line dance in the world. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1989 Marcia Griffiths (along with Bunny Wailer) recorded the "Electric Boogie", a pop hit in the U.S. This music inspired a variation of the Freeze ...we call the Electric Slide. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1991 Mustang Sally was choreographed to "Mustang Sally" by the Commitments. This cover of an older Rhythm & Blues tune by Wislon Pickett had an especially pronounced backbeat and - by this time - there were other choreographers experimenting with similar non-Country/Western, and generally more danceable, music. Mustang Sally, by Neil Hale, is a spirited, two wall, 48 count, intermediate level line dance.

1992 "Achy Breaky Heart" recorded by Billy Ray Cyrus burst on the radio airwaves in the spring of 1992. The catchy, rhythmic tune became a national phenomenon that summer, igniting a dance craze (Achy Breaky by Melanie Greenwood), a hit video and pop crossover airplay. The lyrics were automatically sung by nearly every dancer while doin' this line dance ....sometimes up to 4 times each night at venues around the world!

1992 Bar Room Romeo created by Ron (Doc) Holliday and written to music played by a local Fresno, CA band, but most instructor/DJ's used the Forester Sisters track entitled "Redneck Romeo" from their "I Got A Date" album released in 1992. In 1993, Dolly Parton asked Billy Ray Cyrus & friends to sing in her hit single "Romeo". In 2001, "Romeo" continues to bring dancers on the floor for Bar Room Romeo.

1992 Linda Lu created by Neil Hale in 1992, was originally done to a Lee Greenwood cover of the older Rhythm & Blues tune "Linda Lu," by Ray Sharpe. Unbeknownst to the choreographer at the time was the fact that the Lee Greewood CD, "Loves On The Way", from which it was taken had gone out of print and was no longer available. >Linda Lu thus remained a regional only hit until 1993 when the song was covered again by Ricky Van Shelton on the "A Bridge I Didn't Burn" CD. The tempo of this cover was quite a bit faster than Lee Greenwood's version, and Linda Lu was quickly embraced by an enthusiastic Australian line dance community (seen here in a video lesson) where it remained one of the their top dances for years. Neil Hale's bio: http://www.linedancefun.com/neilhale.htm

1992 Waltz Across Texas created by Lois and John Nielson. Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson & Charlie Daniels released their tune "Waltz Across Texas" 10/23/92. In 2001, dancers still do Waltz Across Texas or Jo Thompson's Midnight Waltz as a floor split when any waltz music is played. The Nielson bio: http://web.archive.org/web/20010409205845/linedancefun.com/nielson.htm

1993 The Up-tempo Country/Western tune "Country Down To My Soul" by Lee Roy Parnell from his "on The Road" CD, released in October 1993, provided a perfect and irresistible opportunity for Neil Hale to assure C/W purists that he had not abandoned his roots, and that he was still Country "down to his soul." The twangy, and at time searing, guitar solo provided the perfect backdrop for yet anouther signature Neil Hale move, the 8 count Hot Tamales' shoulder shimmies. Hot Tamales, a 64 count, two wall, up-tempo intermediate line dance was taken on tour to Australia in 1996 and to Great Britain in 1997 where it met with sweeping and instantaneous success on both continents. Hot Tamales became a reginal hit the moment it was taught & remains a San Francisco Bay Area standard at the start of the new milleniumHot Tamales is the first choreography to be listed on international top ten line dance charts 3 full years after its creation. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1993 Jo Thompson created the Midnight Waltz ...a 48 count, 4 wall line dance done to any slow to medium tempo waltz music. Midnight Waltz continues to be used in country western line dance competitions around the world ...it is on schedules for 2002 competitions. Jo Thompson's bio: http://www.jothompson.com/

1993 The 90s country group Twister Alley started playing traditional country music at Gilley's but soon developed into more high-energy country. The group is quoted as saying their techno-country single, the furiously paced "Dance", from their 1993 album "Twister Alley" was too outlandish for country radio in 1993. Jo listed "Dance" as a music choice for her Dance Ranch Romp she wrote in 1993.

1994 Cha Cha Lengua, Neil Hale's slow, stylish, intermediate level line dance was choreographed to "Un Momento Alla" from the self-titled "Rick Trevino" CD released in February, 1994. Like Hot Tamales, Cha Cha Lengua owes much of its popularity to dance stylist and choreographer, Michele Burton, who - with her dance team, "The Derringer Dancers" - paid the ultimate tribute to Neil Hale by incorporating these dances into their performances both live and on video. Cha Cha Lengua is the first internationally acclaimed choreography to be danced to a non-Country/Western song in a language other than English. View dance ranking on UK survey here. Michele Burton's bio: http://www.linedancefun.com/micheleburton.htm

1994 When The Tractors sing ...Baby Likes To Rocket It (to a boogie woogie choo choo train) Rock It by Hillbilly Rick Meyers is THE dance. A beginner level 48 count, 2 wall dance, the Rock It step sheet is available on the Internet in many languages and still requested and filling the floor summer 2001! Hillbilly Rick's bio: http://www.hillbillyrick.com/

1995 Smokey Places written by Michele Perron in January 1995. Smokey Places is the first internationally acclaimed Rumba line dance ever choreographed to country music. "Smokey Places" by Ronnie McDowell is the #6 track on the album "I'm Still Missing You" released in 1988. The original step sheet for this 32 count, four wall, beginner plus level line dance is also signed in "Thanks" by Ronnie McDowell. Dancers do Smokey Places or Neil Hale's Cruisin' as a floor split whenever cha cha music is played. Michele Perron's bio: http://www.micheleperron.com/
View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1995 Fly Like A Bird written by Hedy McAdams to the #5 track of the same name off the 1994 "Some Change" album by blues-rock singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs. The Fly Like A Bird signed step sheet chronologically lists the awards this dance has won. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1995 Black Dresses was Michael Barr's first choreographed dance. It debuted in 1995 to a song of the same name by Steve Kolander. The best cut came off the CDX compilation (Vol. 100 January 1995). Although it is on his CD named, Steve Kolander, the CDX cut has more orchistration for a better dance cut. Black Dresses debuted at the 1995 Golden Gate Classic, this brought the 48 count 4 wall line dance to the attention of Charlotte Skeeters and Neil Hale. Charlotte decided to teach the dance downunder and it was taught in the UK which brought Michael into the world arena. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

Choreography seen on dance floors, San Francisco Bay Area summer of 1996.

1996 Choreography taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1996.

1996 Cruise Control, by Neil Hale, won first place at the first Annual CWDI International Choreographers' Competition. Cruise Control is a 32 count, one-wall, fast-paced, line dance done to "All Over But The shoutin'" by Shenandoah from their somewhat difficult to find CD, "Now and Then" released in April, 1996.

1996 Swing Time Boogie written by Scott Blevins to "Swing City", track #1 on the album "Swing City" by Roger's Brown --the first artist to meld the big band swing sound with country music. Swing Time Boogie is the first internationally acclaimed choreography to be danced to phrased music.

1996 Ricky Martin released his album "A Medio Vivir" which was Latin in focus with "a tinge of rock " in 1995. Sherry McClure wrote Uno, Dos, Tres (aka 13 MWZ), a 32 count, 4 wall intermediate line dance in 1996 to track #3 "Maria" ...this latin music with rock influence inspired the explosive creation of Latin rhythm line dances still being written at the beginning of the new millenium.

1997 Choreography taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997.

1997 Running Bear, the song, was initially recorded by Johnny Preston, but it was covered by the Dean Brothers in August, 1996 when it appeared on their "On The Right Tracks" CD. The clean, predictable, but slightly uneven phrasing of the song provided an opportunity to experiment with a slightly uneven phrasing of the song provided an opportunity to grandstand with that rare, clean break at the end of the song. Running Bear, along with Ribbon of Highway, has been featured in the UK's Linedancer Magazine's Blasts From The Past. Running Bear by Neil Hale is a fun, crowd-pleasing dance that is also popular in New Zealand and with the very vibrant dance community in Hong Kong.

1997 Ribbon of Highway represents a departure from most of Neil Hale's choreography in that it is done to a Two Step rhythm from the song of the same name by Scooter Lee off her "Moving On Up" CD. Both Ribbon of Highway and Running Bear, by Neil Hale, owe much of their success to the exposure these dances were given by Scooter Lee and The Dean Brothers for whose songs these line dances were created. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1997 From the first teach of Hey Bruce ...this 48 count 2 wall line dance hooked the dancer. The weird name, the pulsing song and the arm movements hit a spot dancers were ready for. The driving beat of the song, The Heat is On, by La Bouche (Sweet Dreams CD), got the attention of the dancer. Originally done to My Girl and then Hey Baby (name comes from the last few words on the song Hey Baby), both off the Alabama CD, "Dancin' on the Boulevard", the dance needed a true Hustle piece of music. With The Heat is On the dance took off. Bringing the Hustle count to the line dancer was the motivation. Hey Bruce garnished a number of awards in Canada and at Worlds held in Nashville, TN in 1998.

1998 CChoreography taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998.

1998 Got To Be Funky was created by USA choreographer Dawn Beecham. She taught her newly created beginner dance in a workshop in October 1998 at the Tarheel Classic in North Carolina ...the 'funk' music (Everything I Do) Got To Be Funky by blues singer Maurice John Vaughn from his album "In The Shadow Of The City" brings dancers on the floor at both socials and country/western bars across the world. It only took TWO months for this 32 count, 4 wall easy intermediate dance - Got To Be Funky to hit the top ten line dance ballots throughout the world. I feel that Got To Be Funky is the 'new dance' to replace the Electric Slide going into the new millenium. ...it is still strong in country/western bar venues summer of 2001. View dance ranking on UK survey here

1998 - Jo Thompson, USA written especially for Scooter Lee's "Movin' On Up" album. "Dizzy" (country dance mix version) ...the lyrics are automatically sung by nearly every dancer while doin' Dizzy ....I know sometimes up to 4 times a night at venues around the world ...in 1998 - 1999. This dance still shows up on request lists at festivals ...summer of 2001. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1999 Choreography taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999.

1999 Jai' Du Boogie - Max Perry, USA written especially for Scooter Lee's music of the same name. Max Perry's bio: http://www.maxperry.com/ View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1999 What's Your Name - Michael Barr, CA. A big fan of Delbert McClinton, Michael found the well phrased song off McClinton's "The Great Songs Come Together" CD. The song, Why Me, is often used as the name of the dance. The 64 count 4 wall dance is a fun pattern that finishes with a 16 count traverse of the dance floor. With a few awards around the line dance world, What's Your Name has earned it's spot in time. View dance ranking on UK survey here.

1999 Whole Lotta Peppas, true to its name, is an up-tempo, intermediated level, 48 count, two-wall line dance. It is done to a Salsa rhythm, "The Cup of Life" (Spanish Radio World Cup" Edit) by Ricky Martin from the self-titled "Ricky Martin" CD. Latin Rhythms were the rave of the dance floor at this time, and Whole Lotta Peppas, by Neil Hale, represented one of many Latin line dances that provided a refreshing, much-needed, and stimulating boost to the international line dance scene.

1999 Storybook Endings, is a 3/4 time waltz line dance done to "Someone Must Feel Like A Fool Tonight" by Kenny Rogers. It is from the somewhat hard to find - but still available - "Back Home Again" CD that was released in November, 1991. The dance is one wall, easy to learn, and conceptually simple. The appropriately entitled "Storybook Endings" represents what may be the culmination of a string of very successful line dances by Neil Hale. They have spanned the final decade of the century, and will most certainly continue being enjoyed many years into the new millenium by line dancers throughout the world.

Neil Hale is a writer: His last published work for the "Yankee Spotlight" (an Australian magazine now out of print but on the Internet at: http://www.countrygoss.com.au/) concerned the 1999 Golden Gate Classic. Neil's article: http://www.linedancefun.com/neilhale.htm

03/1999 - Personal observation written as a Thank You to Neil Hale for being my instructor.
07/1999 - Personal observation written the summer I knew as a person, I just have to dance.

10/1999 - The Golden Gate Classic - the dances called ...and my personal observations.

11/2000 - The last Desert Sands Festival in Las Vegas - the dances called at this festival.

2001 Playlist for August 2001 Social (Australia) Playlist for June 2001 Social (England)
CWDI - A List of Line Dances for Competion 2001.

2002 Classic line dances that still fill the San Francisco Bay Area western honky tonk & social club dance floors in 2002: The Fireman (George Davis), Fat Sally Lee (Arthur Smith), The Cowboy , (Kole Dunn), Ain't Going Nowhere ( Lori Wong), Conrado Cha Cha ( Rob "I" Ingenthron), Mambo #5 (Pedro Machado/AT Kinson), Cruisin' - Cha Cha Lengua - Linda Lu - & Hot Tamales (Neil Hale ), Bar Room Romeo (Ron (Doc) Holliday), Midnight Waltz , (Jo Thompson ), Baby Likes To Rock It (Hillbilly Rick ), Got To Be Funky (Dawn Beecham), You Sang To Me ,Hurricane Desert Sands Cha Cha ,<Chevy Dancin With You & Ooo Aah! Sal Gonzalez, Boot Scootin' Boogie (Tom Mattox & Skippy Blair), Smokey Places (Michele Perron ), Alley Cat (Donna Aiken), Norma Jean (Donna & Dena Wasnick), Cannibal Stomp (Lisa Firth), MMMBop (Kelly Kaylin) and Uno Dos Tres - aka 13 MWZ (Sherry McClure). An original, vintage 1994 sheet for Cowgirls' Twist and Ophelia by Bill Bader. Rare signed sheets from 1996 ... Waltz Across Texas (Lois & John Nielson), Swing Time Boogie (Scott Blevins), Swamp Thang (Max Perry ), Fly Like A Bird - Shipwrecked Prairie Strut - Still The Same - & Love Letters (Hedy McAdams)

2001 A Line Dance Time Line 
Comments go to doris@linedancefun.com


This page was originally installed May, 2002. Last update: Jan. 5, 2006