53 Line Dancing Steps You Need to Know!

When you are a beginner and just starting to line dance the focus is really on taking a lesson and learning your first line dance and then over time adding a next one and a next one.

Naturally, it is best to first start with some beginner-level dances. I can’t remember the first line dance I learned, but I know that the Electric Slide was one of the first. Now my friends might laugh at me for not knowing it already or even finding it a challenge at first. But honestly, it was! I was just so new to line dancing or any kind of dancing to choreography so it was just a challenge.

But here’s the main point I want to make today and the good news! Over time as I stayed with it, I realized there’s a collection of basic steps that make up all the line dances!

FuegoAd copy

Line dances utilize common steps, but just order them and combine them in different ways. This was an aha moment for me cause now as I got used to something like a “kick, ball change” when I heard that in the next lesson, I could say “well I know that part!”

So, basically, as you learn more line dances, you’ll become acquainted with more of the common steps that make up all line dances. This makes learning a whole new line dance go faster and faster, since, in a way you already know it! A new line dance is just a new original grouping and ordering of common steps to fit how a choreographer designs a dance.

But why wait to come across all these different steps?

Following are 53 of the common line dance steps that are found over and over again in line dances. Check out my list below! See the descriptions and watch some of the videos to reinforce your mastery of them. Then you’ll be even more prepared to take on the next line dance lesson, be it a beginner, intermediate, or even advanced level dance!


pocketGuide 2

After thinking about some of the most common line dance steps and many “need to knows,” I boiled it down to a list of 53!

I do want to credit D.S. Russell’s book “Pocket Guide to Line Dancing Terminology” for help in gathering all these. In their book, there are actually a total of 85 different line dance steps mentioned. In addition to this, there are interspersed throughout about 10 additional line dance terms with thorough definitions. So please do pick up this book to have as a handy guide! Super cheap too!

1. Apple Jacks

So, to begin with we have a pretty tricky and difficult step! So, much so that I’ve included a video here to help you through it. The step consists of taking a toe out to the side as the other heel comes into the instep. This forms a “V.” Practice this by moving your right toe out to the right as the opposite heel also swivels to the right. Swivel opposite toe & heel to the left to go the other way.

2. Brush

This is a very common and pretty easy step to add to your arsenal! It is just what you think! Just lift a foot and lightly kick, but brush the ball of your foot across the floor as you do so. This is also referred to as a “scuff.”

3. Bump

This another pretty easy and common step! It is also known as a “hip bump” because that what it’s all about. For a right hip bump, adjusting the weight to your right foot and then bump your hip out to the right, same thing for the left!

4. Charleston

To perform a Charleston Step, in line dance: bring your right foot forward and touch, and then touch back, then touch your left toe back and then step forward onto your left foot. But here’s another video just to help out! Here Robert Royston demonstrates it but he also goes further to describe the Heel Swivel Charleston, the Lindy Charleston, and Side-By-Side Charlestons. These last 3 get pretty fancy!

5. Chassé

This is a triple-step but done to the side, so also known as a “Side-Shuffle.”
It is pronounced as “Shaw-Say.” The Chassé, Shuffle, Side-Shuffle, and Triple-Step are all Triple-Step line dance steps and have in common that they are 3 dance steps in 2 beats of music. This is counted as “One-&-Two, Three-&-Four”…etc. This is an important concept, see the video at the end of this post by Patti Leathers as she does a great job explaining this and how it is important in line dance.

To do a Chassé, you can think “side-together-side”… step right foot to the side, bring left foot next to the right foot, and then another right step out to the side. (Same thing for going to the left). Just remember to move the 2nd step quickly on the “&” beat.

back to top

6. Chug

This is just lifting up one knee while hopping forward on the other leg. Obviously can be performed with either knee/leg. This is similar to the Hitch, but the Hitch doesn’t include the hop.

7. Coaster Step

(R) Step back (L) step back together with the right foot, (R) step forward. This is a triple step “One-&-Two” “back, together, forward” meaning you are dancing 3 steps in 2 beats of music (which is known as syncopation). This can be done with the left foot as well.

8. Cross

With the right or left foot, stepping in front and crossing the other foot.
Crossing Shuffle – this is the same thing, but then a shuffle step of both feet still ending with the L or R foot crossed and in front of the other foot.

Behind, Side Cross – this is when you step behind on foot (going either way). the R or L foot first steps behind the other foot then after the one step with the other foot the first foot steps across and in front

9. Cross Shuffle

Already just mentioned above! But also know just as a “Cross Shuffle.” But, to say it a little differently: like any shuffle or triple step, it is 3 steps to 2 beats of music and in this case is stepping in front of and crossing the other foot, a quick step with the other foot, and then the first cross-step repeated again. I’ve seen this done when the dance has you moving at a diagonal.

10. Cross Walk

This is a stylized walk forward also know as a “Prissy Walk.”

back to top

11. Fan

There are “Heel Fans” (mentioned below) or “Toe Fans.”
For the Heel Fan, with the toe stationary, you just rotate or swivel the heel outward. I imagine typically both will swivel out at the same time.
For the Toe Fan, with the heel stationary, you just rotate or swivel the toe outward. And, again I think it’s
typical for both to swivel out at the same time.

12. Flick

A Flick is basically just kicking (or flicking) either foot backward. You would raise you foot and bend the knee.

13. Grapevine

Grapevines are a way to travel to the right or left using four counts
To do a grapevine to the right, start with weight on your left foot, step to your right with your right foot (1)
then left foot steps behind (2)
right foot steps to the side (3)
and bring your left foot back to just touch (4)

It’s common (like in the Electric Slide) then to do a 2nd grapevine back to your left. Having just touched your left foot, your weight is still on your right foot, a grapevine to the left is now just the opposite. Step to the side with your left, step behind with your right, step again to the left, and touch with your right.

A grapevine can alternatively be done with a brush (or scuff) as the 4th step instead of just the touch.

14. Heel Fan

As mentioned above under just “Fan” this is swiveling or rotating out your heel(s) with your toe(s) stationary.

15. Heel Grind

A Heel Grind is performed by putting your heel out in front and then with toe turned in a little turn toe out to the side.

back to top

16. Heel Jack

A Heel Jack is just putting your heel out in front and tapping your heel on the ground. But the video below shows how it might typically fit in with other steps, in the case shown, a grapevine.

17. Heel Split

With the weight on the balls of your feel swivel your heel out, away from each other and then swivel them back together!

18. Heel Strut

This is very simple! A Heel Strut is basically walking, but you start with what is a Heel Jack; tapping your heel out in front of you, and then completing a step. Just looks like a more dramatic step and also takes up 2 beats of music to complete.

19. Hitch

Pulling your knee up (can happen after a walk forward or backward).

20. Hold

This is obviously the easiest “step” on this list. This just means “freeze” stop for a designated amount of beats in the music. Usually just one, but possibly more depending on the choreography of the line dance.

back to top

21. Hook

A Hook step is bending the knee of one leg and then crossing it in the air in front of and just below the other knee. A common line dance where you’ll see this is Slappin’ Leather, with which you’ll often see people slap the side of their boots as they do this. Also in Slappin’ Leather, you’ll notice you can hook in front of or behind the other leg. Notice Cindy in the video tapping her foot in both instances.

22. Hop

This is what it sounds like: a tiny hop forward with one foot and then you’ll bring the other foot together with the first step. These are quick steps, so it would include a 1/2 beat as in “&-One.”

23. Jazz Box

A Jazz Box, also known as a Box Step is a way to basically make a box or a square with your steps.
You begin with crossing over your right foot in front of your left (first corner of the box)
Now step back a little with your left foot (2nd corner of the box)
Then return your right foot back next to your left foot (3rd corner of the box)
Lastly, cross over your left foot in front of your right foot (4th corner of the box).
This would be a Right Jazz Box, but to do a Left one, just start with the left foot crossing over the right.

A good, quick demonstration of the basic Jazz Box.

24. K-Step

The K-Step is a little like the Jazz Box, in that we’re sort of drawing something on the floor with our steps. In this case we draw a “K.” It is performed by stepping out at an angle with the right foot, then bringing the left foot to the right foot for a touch, then step back with the left foot, bring the right foot to the left foot, then step back with the right foot, again diagonally. Step touch the left foot again to the right foot and then return it. Below is a quick demonstration video of the K-Step.

A quick demonstration of the K-Step.

25. Kick-Ball Change

A Kick-Ball Change is super common in line dances and a good beginner step to be familiar with. It is performed by a low kick of the right foot forward, then return and step weight on the ball of the right foot. Then change weight back to the left foot.

So, hopefully, that’s clear! I remember when I first started line dancing I kept hearing the teachers shout out “Kick-Ball Change!” I had no idea what they were talking about! But it’s just a kick and then shifting your weight from the right ball of your foot back to the left.

back to top

26. Lock Step

A Lock Step is like a shuffle step, but you step forward and step behind the first step. Then you stop your first foot out again. I’ve seen this done straight forward or at a diagonal, like in the line dance “Dirt On My Boots.”

TIP: Don’t lock your foot too tightly behind the other, as you could cause your self to trip!

27. Lindy Step

A Lindy Step is a side shuffle step, but then with an added back cross rock step. Or also described as a Chassé with the added rock step. Below is a quick video demonstration of a Lindy Step. I’ve also added below a video of a line dance that incorporates a Lindy Step. This is a group of my friends that have been line dancing in a park lately.

A quick demo of the Lindy Step.
Here’s a line dance that has a Lindy Step in it. Amarillo by Morning. That’s me in the front with the hat & black mask by the way! See if you can notice the Lindy Step!

28. Mambo Step

Can be done 4 ways:
With weight on your left foot, (R) rock forward and back (the “and” is just returning weight to your left foot without moving it)
With weight on your right foot, (L) rock forward and back
With weight on your left foot, (R) rock back and forward
With weight on your right foot, (L) rock back and forward
You can also do the Mambo step to the side to the right or to the left & the different kinds of Mambo steps at times are combined together.

29. Monterey

The Monterey Step is a series of point & step moves with a 1/4 or 1/2 turn thrown in. Think point, turn (or spin), point, step together. Here’s a slower breakdown:
1. Point the toe of your right foot to the right side
2. As you pull your right foot back to the left foot, pivot 1/4 turn or 1/2 turn (spin) on the ball of your left foot and step down on your right foot, next to left foot.
3. Point toe of your left foot to the left side
4. Pull left foot in and step next to right foot (together)*

*Thanks DS Russel for your “Pocket Guide to Line Dance Terminology, A Guide for Beginners”

The below video and other videos seem to just demonstrate this with a 1/4 turn, I tried doing it with a 1/2 turn, (more of spin) and its possible, you just need to really crank and get that momentum going a little stronger.

30. Pivot Turn

A Pivot Turn can be a 1/4 turn or 1/2 turn, even occasionally a 3/4 turn.
1. Step forward and with weight on the balls of both feet…
2. Keeping both feet on the floor, and using the ball of the forward foot as a “pusher,” pivot 1/2 or 1/4 shifting your weight onto the other foot.

The interesting thing to note about this is that whichever foot takes the forward step to begin this there is only one direction you can turn and still keep both feet on the ground! If you step forward first on your right foot, you can only pivot to the left. If with the left, you can only pivot to the right. Try it! You’ll see this is actually a very simple and natural move and easy to do when part of a line dance.

back to top

31. Point

This is an easy one! Just touch the toe of one foot out to the side, but don’t put weight on it, just touch the toe to the floor. Obviously, there’s pointing a toe to the right or to the left.

32. Rock Step

A Rock Step is just stepping forward (R or L) and then shifting weight back to the other foot. This gives you a rocking chair feeling.

33. Rocking Chair

This is really just two Rock Steps combined to fully give you that rocking chair feeling! But the second one is a step back and then recovering forward. See Gail Eaton’s video below at 13:00 for a good explanation and demonstration of it.

34. Rolling Vine

A Rolling Vine is just a Grapevine, but you add a spin while you’re doing the Vine. You basically add two 1/2 turns while you’re doing the grapevine.
Here’s a good clear break down of the steps to roll right:
1. Step right foot to right side with toes pointing to the right turning you 1/4 turn to the right.
2. Step left foot forward with the toes to the left foot pointing to the back wall (when you pick up your right foot you should now be facing the back wall).
3. Continuing to turn to the right, step back on the right foot, making a final 1/2 turn to bring your body back to the starting wall.

This can be done the same way to the left.

Here’s a good demonstration of the Rolling Vine (also known as a Rolling Grapevine).

35. Sailor Step

A Sailor Step is a 3 count combo of steps that consists of a backward cross step (like the 2nd part of a weave), and then two more steps: just the first, stepping out, and then the other also steps out to sort of untangle the first cross (an “out-out”).

When performed there is a drunken stagger feel to it, hence the name “sailor” like a drunken sailor! I think there’s an excellent example of this fitting a song with the “I’m getting drunk on a plane” line dance. Also, see Gail Eaton’s video below at 41:00 for a great demonstration of Sailor Steps.

back to top

36. Sailor Turn

A Sailor Turn is the Sailor Step mentioned above, but now add a 1/4 turn to it. You do the 1/4 turn part as you finish or on the “out-out” part. The video below covers all Sailor Steps, but see 2:27 in the video for the Turning Sailor Step (or Sailor Turn). Kari does a great job breaking down all things Sailor Step and makes it pretty easy!

37. Scissor Step

This involves another cross. First with either foot rock step to the side, recover and then step in front & across the other foot.

38. Shuffle

The Shuffle step is also known as a “Triple Step” or “Chassé.” So, as you come across those in my list you’ll see the same instruction! This is just 3 steps, but the key is that it is done with syncopation. That is, the 2nd step is taken quickly on the “and” beat or 1/2 beat. What this means is that it is 3 steps in 2 counts of music. “One-&-Two, Three-&-Four, Five-&-Six, Seven-&Eight”

I’ve included a few videos at the very end from good instructors out there which go over some of these basic steps. See the 2nd one for the shuffle. Patti Leathers goes over 10 steps and the Shuffle is the first one she covers!

39. Side Rock

Side Rock – A Side Rock Step is really the same as a Rock Step, but you just step to the side and shift weight back to the other foot. So, again it gives you that rocking chair feeling, but you’re just rocking sideways.

40. Side Shuffle

A Side Shuffle is another triple step. (3 steps in two beats of music). Step the right foot to the right, then quickly bring the left foot next to the right foot and step the right foot to the right again. This is the same for either right or left.

back to top

41. Side Together, Side Touch

This is similar to a Grapevine in that it is a way to travel to the left or right in 4 counts. It’s done alternatively to the Grapevine because it’s just easier. Instead of stepping behind on the 2nd count, you just follow for another sidestep bringing both feet together. Then a 2nd side step (left or right foot depending on which way you are traveling) and then touch.

42. Skate Step

A Skate Step or Skater’s Step is just a step (R or L) diagonally to resemble the movement a skater makes.

43. Slide

A Slide is just a side step, lighter dragging or sliding your foot out to the side and then bringing your other foot to join it, but not transferring your weight on it (until, perhaps the choreography says so!).

44. Step

Place foot on the floor and shift weight to it. (Most obvious and easy thing in line dancing!)

45. Step Turn

The Step Turn is really the same thing as a Pivot Turn, so scroll back up or click here to see the instructions for it.

back to top

46. Stomp

Just what it sounds like! A Stomp is one step and uses just one beat. Just stomp your foot down in place. Generally, letting your heel hit first is the loudest and most satisfying way to do it.

But here’s a step that you might just want to be careful with since it might not be great for your knee! And if your dancing on a hard floor that doesn’t have much give to it, especially be careful. You can always just step down lightly while everyone else stomps noisily.

47. Sweep

A Sweep is performed by your foot tracing a semi-circular pattern on the floor as you cross it in front of (or behind) the other foot.

48. Swivel

A Swivel seems like a cousin of Apple Jacks to me, but easier to do! With the weight on the ball of both feet, swing out your heels (in either direction). Then lean back on your heels to sing out your toes (in either direction). Then shift your weight back to the balls of your feet. You can use Swivels to move across the floor if the dance calls for it.

49. Toe Strut

A Toe Strut is just digging you toe into the floor and then without lifting your toe, dropping you foot onto the floor.

50. Triple Step

As mentioned in several places throughout this list a Triple Step is three steps in two beats of the music. Also known as Shuffle Step. A step and then a 2nd quick step before the third step (“One-&-Two, Three-&-Four, etc.).

back to top

51. Twinkle Step

As we get to the end of the list here, there’s been a lot of simple steps mentioned, but not the Twinkle Step! The Twinkle Step is 3 counts and it used when the beat of the music calls for a Waltz tempo.
1. Cross your left foot over the right and put your weight on it.
2. Step right foot the right side.
3. Step left foot next to right foot.

In the video below the instructor refers to it as a 6 count step. I think it is just because she is doing two sequences on the pattern, first to the left, then to the right.

52. Weave

This is a 4 count combo of steps and is accomplished by first crossing over one foot in front of the other (1) side step away from the crossed over step (2) crossing over the first foot again by behind this time (3), then the other foot stepping to the side (4)

53. Wizard Steps

Wizard Steps are really just Lock Steps, but putting two together of alternating directions starting with R or L foot crossing behind and then the other will step behind the opposite (for help with this and a good demonstration see 44:00 in the Gail Eaton Video below).

back to top

Some Great YouTube Video Lessons of Some Important Line Dance Steps

In conclusion, I’ve included some of the YouTube videos I found that don’t focus on any specific line dance, but just teach you the names of so steps and how to do them. These are from some popular teachers out there, but it’s great to just have the steps broken down!

Gail Eaton’s video below gives a great demonstration of a lot of these steps. Watch this and follow her. Gail goes beyond just teaching some steps, but then combines some of them together which really is the essence or secret of line dancing! Line dance choreography is just the combining of steps that we may already know!

It cracked me up how she said that usually at a line dance lesson “the steps are taught first.” Well, I never experienced that really. Seems like, at least at the bars, you are just thrown into learning the line dances themselves. Well, at least there’s these videos.

Next are a couple of Patti Leather’s videos where she goes over some basic line dancing steps. The first one covers the concept of triples really well along with Coasters and Sailors. Then the second one goes through 10 common line dance steps.

These are just really clear and helpful lessons especially if you are a beginner at line dance. I love how she says to start shuffling around your house and to always have music on!

So, further, in conclusion, I hope this list is a great help as a quickly scannable list of some of the main line dance steps out there that probably thousands of line dance choreography used and mixes up to create their dances. Learn some or all of these steps and you’ll be very prepared for any line dance lesson.

back to top

Brian Sheridan

I'm the owner of CDT. I live in Fullerton, California, and enjoy country dancing with my friends at least once a week.

5 thoughts on “53 Line Dancing Steps You Need to Know!

    1. You’re welcome! It helps the way you shot it looking down! I recently learned the swivet step which is similar, but toes both point the same way. Julia Wetzel’s new dance Give Me Shivers begins with it. https://www.copperknob.co.uk/stepsheets/give-me-shivers-ID154073.aspx

  1. Thank you for the great list of steps. Too many classes dont show you how to do the dance. They play the music, give you a steep sheet and say you should be able to do that now. I have a beginners/Improver class and I love teaching that part of dancing. Thank you again Robyn

  2. I’ve just started line dance at sessions at our local health club which only cater for the more advanced. Your step descriptions and videos are life savers. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    1. I’m so happy you found this useful! I think it does help to focus on these steps as building blocks. I recommend picking up the pocket guide too as a nice handy reference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts