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Basic Boogie Woogie Steps

Updated July 20, 2017

Boogie Woogie is a swing dance style that is danced both socially and professionally. It is recognisable by energetic yet smooth footwork. DanceTeamUSA.com describes the Boogie Woogie basic as an elastic, powerful step---danced flat and without jumps---to a six-count step structure. Yet StreetSwing.com states that Boogie Woogie was initially more of a piano music style than a dance. It was originally known as "barrelhouse." TexasEscapes.com maintains that the fast, rolling bass tunes of Boogie Woogie music are produced through power piano playing.

Boogie Woogie Style

The Boogie Woogie is a couples dance that is usually performed in a slot. A dance slot is a type of alignment in which the leader remains mostly stationary to the follower. The follower moves back and forth along an imaginary rectangle---creating a movement called a slot. Dancing in a slot keeps the dancers in a straight line the entire time. Dancers tend to adopt and invent various moves which add to the richness that Boogie Woogie steps are known for. According to DanceTeamUSA.com, "The musical interpretation and dancing done by couples shall appear to be spontaneous. A dominant lack of spontaneous interpretation in Boogie-Woogie dancing is not desirable."

Social & Competitive Dance

Boogie Woogie is danced primarily to music from the late 1940s and '50s. Typical music for Boogie Woogie dancing is Rhythm & Blues, Rock'n'Roll, Rockabilly and of course music of the same name. In competitions, Boogie Woogie is a led dance meaning the follower is guided into each move by the leader. Boogie Woogie is danced according to the "feel" or interpretation of the music without fixed choreography.

Breakdown of Steps

Boogie Woogie is danced in a six-beat dance pattern. The dance pattern can be counted as "step, step, triple step." The word "step" represents one whole beat. The parts "tri" and "ple" equal half of a beat separately and together they make up a whole beat. "Triple" represents a syncopated step. The part "ple" is slightly delayed from being the halfway point between the beats which match the syncopated music of Boogie Woogie. The dancer travels in a forward pattern while performing these counts.

Dancing Boogie Woogie

Start the dance by taking a step back with the left foot while shifting a bit of weight onto it. Lift the left foot up and step down hard on the floor. Replace the left foot to the starting position. Touch the left toe lightly to the ground. Shift all of your body weight onto it. Touch the right foot lightly to the floor. Step down hard with the right foot. The speed of the steps will depend on the speed of the song. Remember a step by thinking of it as a "da" and every tap as a "ta." Sing in your head as you practice the steps, "da, da, ta-da, ta-da, da, da, ta-da, ta-da."

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About the Author

Trinise L. Castro has been writing on a variety of topics since 1995. Her work has appeared in "Healthy Families Rappahannock Area," where her health-related articles are published, and online at Gadling.com where she is a published travel writer. An expert real-estate writer, she has also contributed to AchieveRealEstateSolutions.com and SFGate.com. Castro is also a spokeswoman and entrepreneur.