A Site About Dancing
The History of Line Dancing
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Country/Western Dancing in San Francisco and its sub-urbs
United Country Western Dance Council

HISTORY OF LINE DANCING
JL} How and why did line dancing emerge as a
 } popular activity in the C&W dance world ..?

Sit ye down rat cheer, young man, an' I'lla tellya all about it:

Y'see, it goes back a long way, way back before women knew how to read and write, so far back that it was even before men knew how to read and write.
  In those long ago times, times about which there are only arch­æo­logical, not written, records, people played music and danced. Mostly, how­ever, it was men who played music and men who danced. They did not dance together as couples but as individual parts of a group. Most of the dances were chor­e­o­graphed and had very specific purposes for being per­formed, the two most common, each danced to this very day, have names like “Please rain, make the crops grow” and “Make us skillful to bring home meat”.
  Through the millennia, those dances changed too little to mention. But women, observing those dances and seeing that men were having fun doing them (which men denied by saying “Hey! This is serious business. It's Man stuff”) wanted to participate.
  Some men agreed to show their women how to do the dances. Because the women had not learned them by participatory observation from the time they could walk, they had to be touched and led into the movements. This, of course, was found to be stimulating by each of the participants and led to pro­crea­tion.
  When the pregnancies terminated with births, the women insisted upon settling down to provide a stable home and told their men to build them houses and to work together with other men to create societies that became what we recognize as civili­zation.
  The men who had not participated in procreation con­tin­ued in their dancing ways living on the fringes of the more civilized soci­eties with which they traded for their needs.

The settled men and their women, as the Centuries passed, cre­ated great societies and civilizations excelling in many things. There were the builders and organizers of North Africa and South­ern Europe we know TwoStep as Egypt and Italy and similar soci­eties in what we now know as Cen­tral and South America. There were the mathematicians in Arabia, the phil­os­ophers in the Near and Far easts, the artists in Middle Europe, the inven­tors in China, the warriors in Northern Europe, the play­wrights in Greece and Britain, the sailors of Polynesia, etc.
  People who did those things participated in their soci­eties and created great works about which we all know. Yet all along, on the fringes of those societies, there were the men who danced as indi­viduals within groups, dancing for rain for their crops, skill for their hunts.

The descendants of each of those groups, the urban and the rural, are with us today acting today much as they did so many mil­len­nia ago. Each group needs the other to survive as each contributes to the survival of their respective societies.
  Today, because of the ease of getting around, moving from place to place, contact between them is ever more frequent than it was in the past.
  Those men who have always danced as individuals within groups can be seen doing the same as they've always done in your local road house or Cowboy bar. They claim they're dancing for the fun of it but the fact is they're still dancing to bring rain for their crops and success in bringing down animals for food.
  Those couples who secretly danced together millennia ago now do so in public. They can be seen in the ballrooms of major hotels.
Icono Clast
13 July 1995
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