Entertainment Performing Arts Country Western Dancing Share PINTEREST Email Print DIGITALproshots/Getty Images Performing Arts Dance Styles Basics Gear Singing Acting Musical Theater Ballet Stand Up Comedy By Treva Bedinghaus Treva L. Bedinghaus is a former competitive dancer who has studied ballet, tap, and jazz. She writes about dance styles and practices and the history of dance. our editorial process Treva Bedinghaus Updated March 07, 2019 Known as "kicker dancing" by Texans, country dancing refers to a variety of dance styles, techniques, and moves that are set to country-western music. Country and western dancers practice in country western dance bars, clubs, and ballrooms. If you enjoy listening to country-western music or country music -- and wearing cowboy boots, of course -- you may get a kick out of country western dancing, literally. Keep in mind that it's different than simply dancing to country music. We're talking about line dancing at its finest. The Basics Country and western dance can be broken into two categories: partner and group dances. Partner dances include both lead and follow dances (in which one partner leads and the other follows) and pattern dances. Group dances include line dances and square dances. Known to be an informal and relaxed style of dance, country dancing is not meant to be sloppy. Country dancers emphasize smoothness on the dance floor, and often scoot or glide around the dance floor. Some movements are exaggerated. Most hip movement is discouraged, as is bouncing or jumping in time to the music. Once you begin to learn country dancing, you will probably start by learning moves such as the two-step. From there, it's easy to get into the pretzel, the basic dip, and the sweetheart. Advanced moves include trust fall and even a backflip. The moves may seem similar to line dancing, but pairs dancing is different from line dancing. Line dancing follows distinctive patterns and is a choreographed dance with people moving in lines or rows while facing each other. They don't make physical contact in line dancing. Attire You don't have to dress like a cowboy to enjoy country dancing, but many people feel more comfortable wearing cowboy boots or hats on the dance floor. Country western attire varies by region, but one suggestion seems to be universal: dress for comfort. Dancers wear jeans, slacks, skirts, cotton or silk shirts, boots, sneakers, and cowboy hats. Try to stick with informal clothes that allow freedom of movement. Lightweight clothing is also recommended, as crowded dance floors tend to become a little stuffy. Learning How to Line Dance Country dancing is enjoyed worldwide in country and western dance bars, social clubs, dance clubs, and ballrooms. Many western dance halls offer free lessons for beginners, usually early in the evening. Check with local colleges and universities for country dance or line dance lessons, as most schools have dance clubs on campus. Once you get a few lessons under your belt, you will have enough confidence for a night of dancing. Relax and have fun... you've chosen a dance style that's fairly easy to learn, great exercise, and lots of fun.