step and shuffle

The world at our feet in line dancing

The line dancing world of stomping, sliding, and kicking cowboy boots creates a lively and popular escape for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students.

With an agriculture-based environment consisting of endless fields and the aroma of manure, it’s no question that line dancing and country music has a strong fan base on the campus of Cal Poly.

“Line dancing gives me an outlet from school having done theater since I was seven and it gives me an excuse to dance and get creative,” sophomore electrical engineer Kaylynn Rothleder said.

Students can get their line dancing fix every Thursday at country night at The Graduate and twice a quarter at the Barn Dance held on the Cal Poly campus in the University Union Chumash Auditorium.

Dancers line up at Cal Poly’s Barn Dance held in the University Union waiting for the first line dance to start

As an avid attendee for one year to line dances at both venues, sophomore aerospace engineer Wes Zimmerman prefers dancing at The Graduate for multiple reasons.

“There’s no beating the atmosphere at The Grad.  I will say I learn more at the barn dances though because there is more room off to the side to practice,” Zimmerman said.

Walking into The Graduate is overwhelmingly warm–and not because of how stuffy and humid it is inside from all of the hard-dancing people.  It’s warm in a sense that everyone has common interests in line dancing, whether if you’ve been doing it for years or learning your first steps.  It’s loud with buzz of dancers and country music.  The light is dark enough not to show the beads of sweat building on your forehead from constant moving, stepping and sliding.

“I love learning new moves and teaching people new moves, and the harder looking the move, the more motivated I am to learn it,” Zimmerman said.

The fun part about line dancing  is dancing all night and showing off learned moves, Rothleder said.

“I get to express my country side and I love getting dressed up and rocking out to country music,” Rothleder said.

Line dancers at both The Graduate and the Barn Dance range from beginners to experienced

The moving and sliding on the dance floor is filled with mostly feet in cowboy boots.  Cowboy boots go hand-in-hand with line dancing more so than any other type of shoe worn to line dancing.

“Cowboy boots have an advantage since they don’t slip on the dance floor, and when there’s line dances with stomping, you can stomp super loud and obnoxiously,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman chose not to wear his cowboy boots to the Barn Dance because he didn’t want to wear his boots two nights in a row after wearing them at The Graduate the previous night

However, not all dancers wear cowboy boots, so they’re not absolutely necessary, but definitely add more to the whole line dancing experience, sophomore statistics major Martha Mejia said.

“I don’t own cowboy boots, but I wish I did because line dancing just doesn’t look as cool without cowboy boots,” Mejia said.

Line dancing is a great way to meet new people, become part of a new and fun activity, and learn new dance moves, Zimmerman said.

“I love going line dancing and seeing all the same people I’ve come to know every week,” Zimmerman said.

Although it looks hard at first and intimidating, line dancing should be on the list of to-do’s if you live in the San Luis Obispo area.

“Some moves take learned coordination, but after practicing, most moves are easy to pick up,” Mejia said.

Girls excitedly waiting in their seasoned cowboy boots for line dancing

Top 10 Country Line Dance Songs According to Taste of Country:

  1. “Good Time”
  2. “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”
  3. “Watermelon Crawl”
  4. “Dizzy”
  5. “Get Into Reggae Cowboy”
  6. “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”
  7. “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”
  8. “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”
  9. “Baby Likes to Rock It”
  10. “Footloose”