Country-Western Dance FAQ
Beginners, here are a few Country-Western Dancing FAQs about what to expect and what we do at our public dance events.
Q: How can I possibly figure out all the dances you do at the NVCWDA events?
Q: Which country-western dances do we do?
Q: Where can I take country-western dance lessons?
Q: What is the age group at the dance events?
Q: What is dance floor etiquette?
Q: What is a “couples specialty” or “pattern” dance?
Q: What is the inclement weather/emergency policy for NVCWDA dances?
Q: Is country-western dancing the same as square dancing or clogging?
Q: How can I possibly figure out all the dances you do at the NVCWDA events? ↑ top↑
A: Check out our Primer for Newcomers for some advice.
Q: Which country-western dances do we do? ↑ top↑
A: Here’s a sample list
- Line dances
- Popular today (example: Give Me Shivers)
- Oldies (example: Tush Push)
- Couples Dances
- Two Step
- Nightclub Two Step
- West Coast Swin
- Pattern dances for couples
- El Paso
- McGraw Stroll
- Wooden Nickel
See our list of recent dance lessons.
Q: Where can I take country-western dance lessons? ↑ top↑
A: NVCWDA offers lessons at the beginning of each dance, usually one line dance and one couples dance. Our resources page lists other organizations offering lessons.
Q: Do I need a partner? ↑ top↑
A: No. Both singles and couples attend our dances. Singles often are asked to join in couples lessons and couples open dancing. Feel free to approach others and ask them to dance with you. Saying no is perfectly acceptable.
Q: Can I bring children? ↑ top↑
A: Yes, we welcome children so that we pass along our love for dancing to the next generation. However, we ask that parents/guardians please supervise their children, and for everyone’s safety do not let them run around on the dance floor.
Q: What is the age group at the dance events? ↑ top↑
A: All ages. We recommend to not bring infants; the loud music might disturb them and hurt their hearing. If you do, please have them wear earmuffs.
Q: How do I dress? ↑ top↑
A: Some people wear traditional western wear such as jeans, t-shirt and cowboy boots, but many don’t. Wear something comfortable so that you can move and wear shoes that don’t stick to the floor so that you won’t hurt your knees.
Q: What is dance floor etiquette? ↑ top↑
A: Dance floor etiquette is a system in which couple dancers move around the floor in a counter-clockwise direction on the outside of the dance floor (the line of dance). Line dancers and swing dancers use the middle of the floor. All dancers must respect the space of other dancers to avoid conflicts. For example, line dancers do not block the path of couples dancing around the outside circle, and couples do not cut into the rows of line dancers. Please be considerate of your fellow dancers by practicing dance floor etiquette.
Q: What is a “couples specialty” or “pattern” dance? ↑ top↑
A: This is a dance in which all couples on the floor dance the same set sequence of steps. It’s somewhat like a line dance choreographed for couples, but the dancers usually move around line of dance. Everyone supposedly is on the same move during the whole dance. Some examples are El Paso, Wooden Nickel, Sidekick, and Sixpack Summer. In contrast, during a two-step or waltz, everyone does their own moves in whatever order they want. Most couples specialty dances also can be danced without a partner.
Q: What is a “mixer” dance? ↑ top↑
A: A mixer dance is one in which everybody changes partners at a set sequence during the song. Some examples are Barn Dance, Bull Shift, and Cheeseburger. We usually do at most one mixer dance each evening. This gives people a chance to meet other dancers and to dance with a new person about every 32 beats of music.
Q: What is the inclement weather/emergency policy for NVCWDA dances ↑?
A: Our weather/emergency closure policy follows that of Fairfax County Government offices (Neighborhood and Community Services). If NCS facilities are closed on Saturday evening, our dance is cancelled.
The news media will announce any closing. If we find out early enough, we will get the word out on our website, Facebook page, and broadcast email. You also can check for emergency announcements on the main Fairfax County website.
Q: I’m planning a special event at my church, school, birthday party, etc. that will have a western theme. Can you provide a dance instructor? ↑ top↑
A: Send the information including date, time, and location to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll forward the material to our regular dance instructors. If one of them is interested, they will respond to you.
Q: Is country-western dancing the same as square dancing or clogging? ↑ top↑
A: No, country-western dancing is not the same. We move around the floor somewhat similar to square dancing, but we don’t have someone calling the moves (you’re on your own!) and we don’t change partners except during a “mixer” dance. (We don’t wear those ruffled outfits either.)