|A line dance team at a competition in Austria, 2005. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber|
By Ruth Ellen Gruber
Reuters runs a feature on the line dancing phenomenon -- and how it is used now as a "redneck aerobics" exercise... (I once sat through a line dance competition in Austria, where each group had to perform to Achy Breaky Heart....)
Though deeply rooted in Irish and German folk traditions, line dancing was off most urban grids until 1992 when Billy Ray Cyrus, father of teen idol Miley, stomped upon the stage with his megahit "Achy Breaky Heart."
Today line dancing is a worldwide phenomenon. Devotees have formed organizations as far away as Singapore and Australia.
Adam Herbel, a.k.a. the Dancing Cowboy, teaches country line dancing at The Rodeo Club in San Jose, California. He said some come for the exercise, some for the music and atmosphere.
"We have a funny thing called redneck aerobics," said Herbel, described as a series of five or six upbeat line dances strung in a row.
"When the DJ calls out 'its redneck aerobics,' everybody knows what's coming," he said. "Sometimes the fitness gals will do pretty advanced line dancing."
Line Dancers in Berlin, March 2009.