The A-B Series
The A-B Series is a set of seven linedances designed for absolute beginners and is specifically designed to teach them TO LINEDANCE and about linedancing. It is the first part of a longer programme of 40 dances - the beginners dance programme.
The dances in the A-B Series are called A-B to distinguish them from other beginner dances, as they are so basic. The letters A-B have two meanings. They stand for Absolute Beginners and also take beginners from A to B, i.e. from the beginning to the next stage.
It is intended that the seven A-B Series dances are taught BEFORE general beginner dances such as Cowboy Strut or Flobie Slide etc.
The A-B Series allows absolute beginners to be dancing almost instantly as well as learning some basic steps.
A-B “L” - Get Dancing Fast
A-B “L” is the easiest possible linedance. It is intentionally choreographed as an “Absolute Beginner’s” first dance. A-B stands for Absolute Beginner. It is simple and short (16 count sequences) and there are no turns. The dancer faces the front and can always see the teacher. It takes A-B’s from zero to first base, also hence A-B.
With A-B “L” even someone who has never linedanced will be dancing in JUST A FEW MINUTES and be moving, smiling and warmed up, avoiding a long first teaching session. Therefore it is also ideal for non linedancers to be linedancing quickly.
“L” stands for “Learners” and A-B “L” is danced making an imaginary L shape. For the new dancer, a great deal can be explained at this point: grapevines, the organisation of lines, the count in, dance direction, etc.
A-B “L” introduces grapevines.
Teaching Tip: Generally A-B “L” will only be needed for the first 2-4 sessions and can then be dropped in favour of more complex dances. However, it is the perfect warm-up dance for Absolute Beginners.
A-B Corner - aka The Handbag Dance
- Learn to Turn
(Published in Up Country, March 2006).
A-B Corner is a one wall dance like A-B “L”, meaning every sequence starts again facing the front. The dancer can always see the teacher. Like A-B “L” it is easy and short (16 count sequences) again allowing the Absolute Beginner to be dancing within a few minutes. In A-B Corner there is one 1/4 pivot turn and some Absolute Beginners may have problems with this. It is wise to start practising pivot turns at this stage.
A-B Corner introduces step touches and turns.
Teaching Tip 1: To help grasp the 1/4 pivot turn in A-B Corner, imagine the Sentries at Buckingham Palace making a 1/4 turn and high-stepping RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT. This helps with the weight changes.
Teaching Tip 2: Stomps are better performed as “slightly exaggerated steps” avoiding heavy stomps which are, potentially a physical risk to knees, spine etc.
El Corner - The Combination Bonus Dance
A-B “L” and A-B Corner are combined together to make one complete bonus 32 count dance called “EL CORNER”. Not only does this add fun, it adds value to the learning achieved at this stage. Like A-B “L” and A-B Corner it is a one wall dance. Since, there are no new steps or movements, only a few minutes are needed to learn it.
Teaching Tip: EL CORNER can be used for some time as a 32 count dance.
A-B Ticket - The Long One
(Published in Linedancer, November 2002).
A-B Ticket introduces heel struts, hip bumps and a first taste of syncopation. The hip bumps or “sexy bit” are the fun part and introduce syncopated movements in the easiest possible way. Like El Corner it is a 32 count dance.
Teaching Tip 1: The trickiest part of A-B Ticket is for the dancer to keep the weight on the right foot after walking backwards - right, left, right, in readiness for the stomps which are left, right, left. This can be explained as follows:
After the struts the steps are consistently Right, left, right, touch followed by left, right, left, touch - i.e. the same as in A-B “L” except instead of the movement being 1) forwards 2) backwards 3) right 4) left as in A-B “L”, in A-B Ticket the movement is 1) backwards 2) on the spot 3) right 4) left.
Teaching Tip 2: Have fun with the “sexy bit!”
A-B Waltz - The Relaxer
A-B Waltz introduces the waltz step or 3-4 timing. Some beginners have some difficulty with 3-4 timing at first - especially if they have no experience of it and need easy waltzes initially to acclimatise to the timing. A-B Waltz includes the basic waltz step, twinkle steps and reinforces turning and facing two walls
Teaching Tip: A-B waltz is best used as the “slower and relaxing” dance within the series and is ideal for ending sessions.
The Freeze is a very old “classic” dance - published in Linedancer magazine in March 1997. It is very similar to and in the same cluster of dances as Electric Slide, Elvira and California Freeze. It is the shortest and easiest being just 16 counts. Absolute beginners tend to find The Freeze very much easier than Electric Slide as the movements are totally consistent and repeated - i.e. Right, Left, Right, Hitch followed by Left, Right, Left, Hitch throughout the dance. In Electric Slide the movement varies on counts 13 - 18 to step touches which added to the orientation difficulty - being a four wall dance - often gives Absolute Beginners problems.
The Freeze is the first FOUR wall dance in the programme and introduces the Absolute beginner to four walls moving anti-clockwise in the easiest possible way.
The Freeze is invariably very quickly learned by almost all dancers - i.e. the “teach” is very quick - much quicker than Electric Slide - so again the Absolute Beginner is dancing quickly and exercising and not undergoing a long teach.
Additionally, The Freeze - being 16 counts - phrases perfectly with many tracks. Electric Slide - being 18 counts rarely phrases - if ever.
The stepsheet instructs the dancer to hop with each hitch but for Absolute Beginners it is best NOT to initially dance it using the hop. This can be introduced later - if useful - but is definitely not essential.
A - B Whirl - aka “the TWO by TWO dance”
- Two walls - here we go!!!
(Published in Linedancer, October 2004).
A-B Whirl is the final dance in the A-B series. It introduces heel and toe touches and the jazz box. It is a two-wall dance which means that the dance starts initially facing the front, and then the second sequence starts facing the back and so on. Everything in the dance comes in “Twos” - two walls, two struts, two jazz boxes, two turns etc. The movement of “step, 1/4 pivot turn, stomp right, stomp left” that was used in A-B Corner is now repeated and re-enforced in A-B Whirl.
Teaching Tip: A-B Whirl is specifically intended as a “building block” towards two classic beginner dances; “Cowboy Strut” and “Flobie Slide”. Once the two jazz boxes in A-B Whirl have been mastered the two turning jazz boxes in Cowboy Strut will be much more easily mastered and similarly the pivot turns will have been mastered ready for Flobie Slide.
The dances in the A-B Series are ideal for warm-ups and/or warm-downs for any class, including mixed ability classes, as the whole group can dance them, both beginners and experienced dancers alike.