Line dancing is a formation dance that has origins reaching back into traditional folk dancing. Since the latter part of the 20th century, it has been more closely identified with country and western music, although there are examples of the group dance found with pop music as well. Many country music clubs regularly hold line dances for their customers, with all patrons invited to participate.
The basics of line dancing are very simple. Participants stand in either a single line or a succession of parallel lines if the number of people and the amount of floor space require this arrangement. While the dancers will move without touching one another, they will execute the same moves at the same time. This gives the dance a strong sense of cohesiveness, even though there is no physical interaction between the participants.
The movement that takes place is normally queued off what is known as the count. Generally, one count is equal to one musical beat. Movements take place at each beat. While the basics of line dancing address movements of the feet and legs, more complicated dance routines will also include hand movements and even facial expressions as part of the overall effect.
Often a staple with folk music and dancing around the world, the concept of line dancing began to take hold in other genres during the 1960s and 1970s. Country music was the first to embrace the form, and remains the foundation for many of the more popular line dances today. Pop music also has made use of this style of dancing from time to time, however. While many musicologists identify line dancing with the disco era of the late 1970s and the early 1980s, others note that line dances such as the Hustle were popular as early as 1974.
Today, many different musical genres are compatible with the art of line dancing. Along with folk, country, and pop music, it can also be employed with swing, big band, and Celtic music. The symmetry and graceful movements that are often a part of the dancing make it possible for just about anyone to enjoy it.