by Bill Larson
This is the second in a series of articles written by Bill Larson aimed at choreographers1. Dance Name:
Examples: Cowboy Cha Cha – Woolshed Waltz – Tulsa Slide2. Choreographer Name:
|Choose a good name which reflects the style of the dance and a link or phrase from the song.
|If possible search the Web to check that your chosen title has not been used before.
that when someone is searching for your dance, it is better to have a
unique title. Placing punctuation in the title will make it more
difficult for those searching for the script.
Example: Choreographer: John Doe, Sydney, Australia. Jan. 2012. Version 2 - firstname.lastname@example.org. Music:
|The name or names should be clearly shown.
|Indicate your country - i.e. UK, France, Australia, USA, NZ
|Add the date that the dance sheet was released - i.e. May 2007
|Contact details of web address, email or phone number.
|Where applicable add the version number if the sheet has been amended
after the release. This will help instructors identify the correct
version of sheet.
|Signing your final draft qualifies you as the author and that the sheet is deemed correct by you.
Example: Music: Its now or Never by Chris Isaak. CD: Beyond the Sun – 127bpm (3:20) Available itunes4. Dance Information:
|Name the title of the Song, Artist and Album (CD).
|Include the Beats Per Minute (BPM) of the music, and the total duration of the track (3:46).
|If the music is difficult to get, then include information as to how the song may be legally obtained.
|If you have alternate music suggestions, include details of those too.
the dance has a very long musical introduction, maybe suggest movements
while waiting for the dance to start, ie: clapping / shimmies to the
music. Check for a shorter version of the song.
|Music that is readily available will give your dance a better chance of survival than hard to find / out of print music.
how many other dances and levels have already been choreographed to the
music you intend to use. The more dances choreographed to that level
you intend to use, the less chance your dance will get off the ground.
Example: 4 Wall 32 count Intermediate Line Dance - CCW5. Introduction & Start Position:
|Nominate the number of walls (1,2 or 4) and the counts per sequence (wall) i.e. 32, 48, 64
|Indicate if applicable if the dance is a phrased one. (the dance is phrased if it contains a tag(s), restarts, or bridges).
|Include the suggested Difficulty level – i.e. Beginner, Easy Intermediate, Intermediate or Advanced.
|Add the style if its not already included in the Dance Title – i.e. Line Dance, Waltz, Cha Cha.
|Indicate the direction that the dance rotates from wall to wall – i.e. clockwise (CW) or counter clockwise (CCW).
Example: Intro: 32 counts (24 secs) Start on Vocals. Feet Together, Weight on Left foot6. The Section Headings:
|When introducing the dance to the song, indicate a count or time or
both as a place to start the dance. This starting point is very
important information, as starting in the wrong place of the song will
potentially offset any phrasing of the dance, especially when it comes
to any Tags or Restarts. The time is also useful to the instructor when
the count is difficult to determine and when it is not so obvious
whether the dance is performed to the fast or slow beat.
|Indicate also the initial start position of feet and where the weight is placed.
Example: Shuffle Forward, Step Recover, Coaster Back, Step Pivot7. The Step Instructions:
|Keep the headings brief as they are a quick guide only.
|Use the descriptions of step groups in general use. Display them as
Bold or CAPITALS in order to be clearer for the reader & to
distinguish the headings from the main step instructions. i.e. Coaster,
Sailor, Lock Step, Monterey, Shuffle, Pivot Turn
8. Tags, Restarts or Bridges:
|The steps are numbered, and the step numbers (representing the timing)
should be separated by punctuation marks. This is usually by a comma or
hyphen. – i.e. 3,4 or 3-4.
|Where the dance has steps in between the main beats a '&' symbol is
Example: 3&4 Step instruction 3, Step instruction &, Step
In this case there are Three instructions which coincide
with Three timing numbers.
|Insert a "Tab" between the step numbers and the step instructions. This helps with clarity.
Example: 1,2 Step right to right side, Close left beside right
|Advise the reader regarding the direction they should be facing after each instruction involving a turn.
Example: 1,2 Make 1/2 turn to right, Step forward on left (6:00)
(6:00) is the clock position relative to the start wall for that
sequence and is best added at the end of the line where the turn is
mentioned. This will also assist the instructor in confirming they have
executed the turn correctly and are facing the correct wall.
the end of the sequence i.e. Begin again, Start again, Repeat from the
beginning. This also segregates the main step instructions from any
Tags, Bridges, Restarts or suggested finishes.
|Note: Step Variations / Options. If there is a degree of difficulty in the
dance, bear in mind not everyone will be able to execute all the steps
as choreographed. If you choose to have a triple turn or complex step,
offer a step variation option, i.e. shuffle, walk, rock/coaster. This
ensures everyone can still enjoy the dance at their individual level.
|The instructions should show where in the dance they occur and on which wall or after which wall.
|The reader should be instructed on what to do at the end of the Tag.
Example: Restart the dance from the beginning, or, continue from step 16.
|A set number of steps less than the total number of sequence (i.e 32 count dance). Added
at the end of a sequence to fill particular phrasing in the song and
normally consisting of up to 8 counts. If any more than 8 counts are
involved in the phrasing maybe look at building them into a restart.
a nominated sequence is shortened at a given point to phrase with the
song, before the sequence is started again from the beginning.
a nominated sequence is interrupted at a given point to phrase with
music, and then a tag is inserted before the sequence is continued to
its nominated finish.
a nominated sequence is interrupted at a given point to phrase with
music, and then a tag is inserted before starting the sequence again
from the beginning.
choreographers like to end their dances on the front wall. This
sometimes involves a short sequence or modification of some steps to
achieve that result. The steps should be described in the same way as
the preceding main part of the dance. Remember that the script is often
the only information the dancer has available, so make it as clear,
precise and well presented as possible. This will all maximise your
chance of the dance being adopted by the largest number of people. In
most cases, it may only get one chance from an instructor searching for
new material for a class and have a selection of sheets to choose from.10. Final Check List:
the dance script for spelling / timing and direction mistakes. Where
possible ask others to check as well. Once you are happy with the final
draft Sign the sheet as approved and then proceed to circulate.11. Video The Finished Product:
12. Suggestions on how to Promote Your Dance:
|Think about displaying your dance globally on the internet. This
teaching tool obviously is not a practical option for everybody, but is
an enormous aid in helping instructors decide immediately on whether to
teach the dance based on the visual and audio demonstration. These
videos are and will be your silent salesman in getting your dance
recognized and performed.
|If possible instruct / walk through the dance steps yourself as the
choreographer, or use an instructor, group of dancers who can demo the
dance. This visual and audio aid will lessen the chances of step
misinterpretation. You will have access to a world wide audience which
will give your dance a better chance of being seen or discovered.
|Remember, the video is just a visual/audio guide allowing others the
ability to quickly see if the music and style is to their taste, and to
cross check, direction changes, flow, restart walls & tags. And of
course, if those performing the video look as if they are enjoying it
and having fun, then the dance is more likely to be embraced by those
|Video editing should be as informative as possible, advising of… name
of dance / choreographer / dance counts / number of walls / music /
artist / with tags and/or restarts as they occur. Study other videos
for ideas or examples. Once you are happy with the editing of the
video, proceed to upload it to the internet. In time with more
experience in shooting and editing videos you will be able to fine tune
your presentation into a smooth demo of your dances
|Post the dance on YouTube.
|Email the video link & step sheet to as many instructors (National
& International) as you know. Many workshop instructors are always
looking for new material for upcoming workshops. (Remember to BBC all
contacts to ensure their privacy). Don’t forget to submit copies to linedance
websites set up for dance sheet archives (ie. Copperknob, Yipee and
Aussie Dancesheets to name a few) and don’t forget the line dancing
magazines, (The Beat, NZ and Linedancer Magazine UK). Don’t be offended
or discouraged if your offer to the magazines isn’t taken up every
time. Its usually because they have limited space to publish in each
edition and many scripts to choose from.
|Participate in local or National Choreography competitions judged by
well known and respected Choreographers & Instructors. This will
give you great exposure as a choreographer and an opportunity to
showcase your dance in front of many instructors who attend these
events looking for new material.
|Ask if you and your group can demo the dance at local socials. This is
a great way to showcase your dance. Have your music available and
signed dance scripts available for distribution if successful in your
hope this has been of some help and guidance. I have put my best
thoughts forward as a guide only to assist other choreographers and
ultimately to make life easier for the instructors. These thoughts have
come from many months searching the net, talking to a large selection
of instructors who are struggling to understand some of the sheets
being written today. It’s not an easy thing to sit down and put your
creative thoughts onto paper in a way that others may understand. I do
think there are many ways of giving your sheet its best chance of being
successfully adopted by a large audience and I hope I have been able to
show how these suggestions will help. With the growing number of
choreographers in the industry now and with strong marketing tools such
as the internet to assist, a dance sheet usually only gets one
opportunity to help sell your dance. It’s appreciated that not all have
access to the internet nor the confidence to become involved with it.
Even more reason that your dance sheet must be clearly read and
understood and contain as much information as possible without becoming