Linedancer WikiDance

How to define the level of a dance

Naturally choreographers will determine which dance level applies to their own dances. However, without accepted principles in setting suitable levels, many Line dances have been incorrectly classified over the years.

In this section we have sought to address this by providing a written guide and a list of step patterns appropriate for each level of dance.

It is the content of the choreography and not the experience or ability of the dancer that determines the level of a dance.

We hope that choreographers, dance teachers dancers will find this section helpful.

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Dance Levels

Absolute Beginner (AB)

This classification refers to a line dance routine that is choreographed to suit those who have had absolutely no previous dance experience.

The routines will contain a short sequence of easy steps (Standing Steps e.g. touches, sways, heel digs, kicks, stomps etc.) plus easy Travelling Steps e.g. forward, backwards, sideways).

Generally at this level choreography should be without syncopations, tags, restarts and would have no more than one turn - perhaps one 1/4 or one 1/2 turn.
They will be moderately paced and use a strong 4/4 beat or 3/4 beat. Ideally they would have no more than 16 counts although some routines with mirror image steps may increase the count without increasing the steps used.

An AB routine will give a very basic understanding of how to dance different steps to different music. Those absolutely new to dancing should be able to perform an AB routine after brief instructions without stress or panic. It is at this stage that correct dance terminology and dance floor etiquette should be introduced.

Beginner (BEG)

This classification is referring to a line dance routine that will build upon the skills learned at the Absolute Beginner level. Routines will be suitable for those who have some previous dance experience.

Beginner level choreography will introduce additional step patterns and may use up to two turns for example two 1/4 pivot turns in sequence or two 1/4 turns at the end of a travelling pattern e.g. chasse or grapevine. Routines may also include different rhythms like Waltz or Cha Cha and the tempos may range from slow to moderate. Routines at this level will show how different steps flow one into the other and provide some basic styling principles - looking up and body posture.

At this stage, cross body movement such as cross rocks and weaves could be introduced. Generally dance routines at this level would not be more than 32 - 48 counts but may contain more than one direction change as in two 1/2 turns in opposite directions.

Routines will use different rhythms and dancers should begin to feel the music and gain self confidence.

Improver (IMP)

This classification is referring to choreography that will assume some previous dance experience and basic skills. Improver level dances will introduce additional step patterns, such as Electric Kicks, Rolling Grapevines, Ronde Sweeps, Swivets, and Figure Eight turns. Syncopation like Anchor, Coaster, Mambo, Sailor, steps will be used together with more turning techniques. At this level choreography will use various rhythms and tempos. For example Samba, Tango, Swing, Rumba reflecting different timing and styling.

Dance routines at this level could be up to 64 counts and will almost certainly have several turns. If not already achieved, dancers would be introduced to routines that feature tags and restarts.

Intermediate (INT)

This classification will feature dance routines suitable for experienced dancers. Those who have mastered a comprehensive range of step patterns and movements. An Intermediate routine is likely to feature interesting step combinations, pauses, syncopations, body movements, timing variations and styling.

Routines could embrace any amount of turning techniques and run up to 64 counts as normal but, at this level, counts can be considerably more as routines may be phrased to the music and contain tags and bridges.

This is the most popular dance level. It is where experienced social dances feel the most comfortable. It offers a wide variety of dance routines that should satisfy most dances and often feature new challenges that will be fun as well as rewarding.

Advanced (ADV)

Choreography at this level contains the full spectrum of step patterns in any combination and will embrace all tempos and rhythms. The routines are likely to include complex dance moves that push the boundaries.

Advanced level dances can range from a quite short routines, to very complicated, lengthy or totally phrased choreography.

Invariably they will feature a range of turns and direction changes and a host of step patterns all of which will require good technique and co-ordination.

Choreography at this level will be challenging for most people but very satisfying when mastered. Dances can go beyond a social dance routine and feel and look like an accomplishment dance performance.