It is nearly impossible to discover the roots of line dance. Its beginning is covered in doubts. We miss any written information and the oral version is not too united and it is said to be incomplete. OK. It may be because there is no really significant person whose name would be connected with the history and publicity of the world-wide movement of line dance. The line dance history is full of guesses.

            We can start quite early in our historical enumeration. The first dances that we would call line dance today we can find in already the 30`s of the 20.century. It is possible to say with a piece of courage that one of the first dances of this group was Charleston. Among the predecessors of the present line dance we can daringly classify both bop or twist and other dances that fulfil the imagination of active relaxation.

        The first “real” line dance seems to beHully-Gully, which appears in 1962 for the first time (wow, finally a stable date!). There have appeared several modifications of it since (today it has been danced also with the music of “The Little Black Book”).
            Hully-Gully has helped other two dances (Amos Moses and Alley Cat) to popularity at the beginning of the 70`s. Both of these dances are quite often used at square dance clubs and also by American P.T. teachers. The last named have started an avalanche together with their pupils. The effort to adapt the choreography to their needs led to forming other dances. And that is the real beginning! The new choreographies go hand in hand with popular music.
        It is the truth that the beginning can be dated even earlier. On 13 March 1957 the Diamonds broke with the single “The Stroll”, the record devoted to madness. Hundreds of dancers dashed to the parquet and showed confidentially known steps together. Nevertheless lots of lecturers call that dance only to called fullness of the time that real line dance.
        The first real centre of the line dance is Rhode Island. Thousands of people between the age of thirsty and seventy fill churches, schools and rent halls to learn about 40 line dance routines by heart.
        Line dance was also danced in the 80's but it was not a hit any more. Maybe we could add line dance and disco dance to that period. But the real madness has only been quietly prepared.
        In 1992 Billy Ray Cyrus comes with the hit “Achy Breaky Heart” and starts a newage fever of line dance. Hundreds and maybe thousands of dancers have been learning an unprecedented routine. Line dance appears on Country Music Television and every singer has at least one videoclip where line dance is danced. The fever spreads across the ocean. Europe and especially Germany accepted this style very quickly. Line dance is labelled as a western dance very quickly. It is danced in all clubs.
        What is so revolutionary in Achy Breaky? Most of the dances were danced in quite arranged forms of easy steps and with a minimal cooperation of hands. Achy Breaky brings into line dance an amount of kicks, breaking in knees, jumps and claps. A new style is here. It is more lively, quicker and much more bright.
        A timed bomb seems to be a new hit “Macarena” in 1996. This dance, based in fact on the work of hands, brings a real revolution into line dance. It is true, that the meaning and the classifying of that dance are similar to the routine of The Stroll. Both the mentioned dance stays on the frontier of the line dance.

original text in czech language is from Medved LineDance webpages  www.sweb.cz/linedance
 

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Michal „Dingo“ Janák