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Line Dancing Terminology

A quick rock step using the ball of the foot using an “&” count.

The free leg moves forward or backward letting the ball of the foot make contact with the floor. There is not a weight change!

3 steps done in any direction taking only 2 beats of music. See triple step.

Meaning “to the side”- This is a series of side steps done in a straight timing of 1,2,3,4, etc or can be syncopated with “&” counts. Moves right or left only!

Right turn also called a “Natural” turn.

Left turn also called a “Reverse” turn.

Draw is to slide the free foot toward the weighted foot in any direction keeping the toe down to the floor (feet do not have to come together). Drag is to slide the free foot toward the weighted foot with the toe up - heel in contact with the floor (this will limit directional movement).

Depending on the organization, can be 5 to 9 positions of the feet which make up all dance patterns.

    1st position - feet together
    2nd position - feet apart
    3rd position - heel of one foot to the instep of the other foot
    4th position - one foot passing the other either fwd or bk
    5th position - toe of one foot to the heel of the other
    Can also have extended 3rd and ext 5th and crossed 1st and 2nd.

This refers to the part of the foot that touches the floor first.

A side step, cross behind, step side - usually finished off with either a touch, stomp, kick, or hitch as you bring your feet together. Technically the side step is in 2 nd position, the cross behind is actually a back step in 5 th position, then another side step in 2 nd position. You are not really crossing one foot behind the other one - it just has that illusion. Can move to the right or left - side movements only.

This is a “Ball Change” that is preceeded by a loose, low kick usually forward. Counted as 1&2 or 3&4.

A jump on one foot

Not a real term. The reason this is not real is because it is impossible to jump up in the air, change foot positions and land in a different position without some other movements occurring that negate the use of the term “Hop”.This is not the “Russian Saber Dance”. The correct terminology would be “Touch, ball Change”- same as “Kick ball Change” but with a touch instead.

To shift weight or touch without traveling in any direction - 1st position


A lifting of the leg off the floor and moving forward or backward. Can be done using a straight leg or using a bend of the knee


A crossing of the feet danced moving forward or backward using a crossed 1 st position or a 5 th position.


A turn that travels - In the early days of line dancing the term was used in-correctly to actually describe a twisting or swiveling action and it stuck. A pivot is a turn that travels from point A to point B. We tend to call this a “Traveling Pivot”.

Extend the free leg either forward, backward or to the side with the toe either touching the floor, or extended in air.


See Triple Step or Shuffle Step.


An exchange of weight from one foot to the other. Can be danced in any foot position. Usually a rock step in a dance will signal a change of direction.


A slide of the weighted foot either forward, backward or to the side while lifting the knee of the free leg. Depending on where the free leg is placed either next to the calf of the weighted leg, or with the knees apart or forward will determine whether this is a “Hitch” (next to calf) or “Chug” (knee forward). Also see “HOP”.


Same as “Brush” except that the heel is used instead of the toe. (only done forward or to the side).


Same as “Draw or Drag”


Placing the foot on the floor with weight.

– Placing the foot on the floor forcefully enough to make an audible sound. Can be done with or without a weight change. Usually, if the action does not have a weight change it is called a “Stomp Up” or “Stamp”, reserving the word “Stomp” for the actions that involve changing weight. Can use whole foot, heel, or ball. For further study, look up “Flamenco Footwork”.


A swivel is a turn that stays in place. This is the real action of the “Pivot Turn”. Can involve 1/2, ¼, ¾ twisting turns or Twists in place.

This is placing the foot on the floor without weight. Generally the toe is the part of the foot that makes contact with the floor.


This is 3 steps that take only 2 beats of music. Can be danced in place, side to side, or forward and back. This is element that makes up a Cha Cha step, a Shuffle step or a Polka step. It is the timing and styling that determine the component. In a Cha Cha the steps are held for ½ beat, ½ beat, 1 whole beat. For a Shuffle or Polka step the timing is ¾ beat, ¼ beat, 1 whole beat. There is a slight stutter on the shuffle and polka but not on the Cha Cha. The count is 1&2 or 3&4.


This is similar to a Grapevine, but involves crossing in front as well as behind. Usually a minimum of 6 counts unless the pattern starts right off with the cross instead of a side movement.


To move from one foot to the other.
This article is reproduced from Alberta Education - 27 Sep 2007
Revised by Max Perry - 17 Sep 2015