More than two decades ago, a catchy hit called “Electric Boogie” introduced a new generation of young African-Americans to “The Electric Slide.”
The dance was a must at clubs, wedding receptions and any large gathering in the early 1990s. Like most dance crazes, The Electric Slide came and went, but in the last few years a new crop of urban soul line dances has emerged. New dances are being created all the time.
This summer, the sounds of “The Wobble” and “The Biker Shuffle” will likely be blasted from wedding receptions, festivals such as West Fest, and nightclubs throughout the city. The Wobble and The Biker Shuffle are just two of the dances that have made line dancing popular again.
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Line dancing is so popular now that Charlotte has a few line-dance clubs. Many black churches offer line-dance classes for aerobics. The Purple Charlotte Steppers teaches a variety of dances.
“Soul line dancing has definitely gained a lot of momentum,” the Purple Steppers’ Demond Carter said. “I was just shocked to see how many line dances were out there.”
Sheila Funderburk founded Queen City Groove Soul Line Dance a couple of years ago. The group offers classes twice a month and averages about 20 people per class, she said. Funderburk started line dancing five years ago, and continues because of the fellowship with other dancers.
“It’s the friendship you develop,” she said, “and the camaraderie.”
Kemel Patton agrees. He’s the self-proclaimed King of Line Dancing in Richmond, Va. Patton has been teaching people how to line dance for a dozen years. He started it as a class in Richmond gyms, and it exploded. Kemel said clubs started paying him to come and lead the line dances. He also leads lines at expos, such as Women’s Empowerment.
“It brings a crowd together,” Kemel said. “They’re doing it in unison. We’re all one now.”
Line dancing is also a way for women to dance alone and not feel self-conscious. Visit any club or party, and women often outnumber men. Line dancing allows the women to dance without a partner.
To get you ready for summer, the Charlotte Observer has compiled videos of popular line dances that you’ll likely see this summer.