"Reflections on Country Line Dancing"
"Don't tell my heart, my achy breaky heart; I just don't think you'd understand." Who knew that the 1993 smash hit, "Achy Breaky Heart," by Billy Ray Cyrus would be the turning point that would cause country line dancing to become a worldwide phenomenon. Despite differing opinions on the exact history, it is evident that country line dancing is an extension of past social dance forms and is representative of the social, economic, and political state of the United States. However, one thing is for sure. Country line dancing is not just a fad, but rather seems to be a mainstay in the culture of the United States, as seen by the thousands of clubs like the Boot Scootin' Saloon throughout the country. First, while line dancing at the Boot Scootin' Saloon on Saturday, November 7, 1998, I had the opportunity to interview two interesting women, Jill Babinec and Lesley Rafferty. First, Jill Babinec, a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, became interested in line dancing a few years ago after she began listening to country music by such artists as Billy Ray Cyrus, Garth Brooks, and Shania Twain. Ms. Babinec likes to line dance not only because she loves to dance and finds it fun, but also because she believes it is a good form of cardiovascular exercise. Jill has taught line dancing several times at Broncos and on Thursday nights at the Lockwood United Methodist Church. However, in addition to line dance, Ms. Babinec also participates in other social dances such as clogging, the two-step, and square dance. Jill's favorite form of social dance is clogging because of the fast foot tapping that is involved. Ms. Babinec's favorite form of country western dance is line dancing because as she states, "Being single, it is nice to know that I can just go out with my friends for an evening of dancing, without worrying about needing a male partner for each dance. I can just have fun." Lastly, Jill Babinec is a dentist who owns her own practice. According to Jill, most of her friends that line dance are professionals in such occupations as medicine, business, and education. Next, Lesley Rafferty, a resident of Boardman, Ohio, became interested in line dancing simply by watching others line dance at such establishments as Broncos, Mustangs, and the Boot Scootin' Saloon. Mrs. Rafferty loves to line dance because she not only finds it good exercise, but also loves country music. Also, Lesley Rafferty likes to line dance because she believes it is a good way to meet new people who share similar interests. In addition to line dancing, Lesley likes contemporary dancing at area nightclubs. However, she prefers line dancing because as Mrs. Rafferty states, "It requires uniformity among the group, but also leaves room for individuality. Every time I perform a new dance, I come away from the dance floor feeling that I have learned something, not just that I did what I wanted to, as in contemporary dance." Next, Lesley has taken dance lessons in the past. Also, her favorite form of country western dance is fast line dancing, in particular the "barn dance" because of the constant changing of partners. However, she would love to learn to do traditional couple dances if she could just find a partner. Lastly, Lesley Rafferty is an English teacher at Boardman High School. She said her friends' occupations include education, blue-collar jobs, and business. My interest in learning to line dance stemmed from my desire to improve my overall dancing abilities and self-confidence about them, but also from my growing interest in country music by such artists as Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, and Bryan White. Next, although I enjoy contemporary dance at nightclubs, I like line dance in particular for two reasons. First, the obvious one is that it is simply a very fun and invigorating experience. Secondly, I particularly like it because line dance does not require a male partner to participate. In fact, when...
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