The bass begins to pluck a beat, and the feet around the room start to tap. Then the fiddle cries, and the whole band chimes in. Suddenly, you’ve joined the twirling and weaving on the dance floor. After all, it’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re dancing.
As the cooler weather sets in, the dance floors around town heat up. Mid-Missouri offers a variety of dances, including traditional country styles. Hook arms with a partner, learn the counts to a Triple-Step, or follow the line, and do the Fake ID line dance to keep things fresh this fall.
Traditional couples dancing
Two of the most popular country couples dances are the Two-Step and Triple-Step. There’s less structure to country dancing, says Christine Walker, president of the Midwest Country Connection Dance Club. “Country (dancing) is a little more raucous,” Walker says. “I think it is a little livelier.” To add variety, Walker says the East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Cha Cha and Nightclub Two-Step can all be danced to country music.
Start simple: The East Coast Swing is probably the most universal dance and doesn’t move around the floor much.
When: 4 p.m. every Sunday
Location: Sunrise Optimist Club, 2410 Parker St., Columbia, MO
Cost: $30 membership fee; $3 additional fee every Sunday; free, first lesson
Although the style was grounded in New England, it made its way to the Midwest in the 1970s. Sharing roots with square dancing, contra dancing is a traditional western European country dance with a good ol’ Americana twist. Couples are divided into two lines and go through a series of figures with another couple before continuing down the line. There are about 20 different figures, which yields many possible dance combinations, says Jim Thaxter, caller for Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers.
Start simple: Circle Left and Circle Right are some of the easiest figures to learn.
When: The first, third and fifth Friday of each month from 7–10:30 p.m. Beginners’ lessons begin at 7 p.m.
Location: Ballroom Academy of Columbia, 3910 Peachtree Drive, Columbia, MO
Cost: $8, adults; $5, students and ages 16 to 26; free, kids under 16
Line dancing became a country dance staple after Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” choreography. Line dancers perform a specific step sequence repeatedly until the end of the song, and they usually turn to face different walls throughout. Some of the most popular dances are Copperhead Road and the Electric Slide, but owner Kirt Kleindienst says that on any given night, there are at least 20 different dances. “(With) almost every song we play, besides any kind of ballad or slow song, everybody’s line dancing — every song, all night.”
Start simple: The Tush Push can be danced to several songs, Kleindienst says, so try that out first.
When: Saturday nights from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., or Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. for a free line dancing lesson
Location: 400 Gaylord Drive, Fulton, MO
Cost: $8, ages 12 and up; $5, ages 6 to 11; free, kids 5 and under