Country line dancing comes to Hampstead every Wednesday night

April 27, 1994

Country-style line dancing has arrived in Hampstead. Every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hampstead Fire Hall, country tunes bring spinning dancers to the floor.

Two instructors, Joe McCoy and Duffi Crone, with disc jockey Bob Sigmund teach new line dances for an hour and fill the second hour reviewing the dances taught the week before.

This is a shoulder-to-shoulder style of dance, in which a pattern of steps is repeated by everyone in a line. Its popularity grew with country singer Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy-Breaky Heart." Now TC there are more than 700 dances.

"We started them off with the Cowgirl Hustle, took 'em into Down and Dirty and the Sleazy Slide -- and we're supposed to be good, clean country," Mr. McCoy said, laughing as he mused about the unconventional titles.

"We put them into Reggae Cowboy last week. They loved it. I've got 30 or 40 more we'll be walking them through."

Line dancing is popular because any age can dance -- the Hampstead regulars include a few 8-year-olds and some retirees, too -- and you can dance all night without a partner and any number of friends can dance with you.

"Right now, we have 60 people" who have come since the dancing began April 13, Mr. McCoy said. "From the phone calls, we'll be hitting close to 75 people" at tonight's dance.

Mr. McCoy and Ms. Crone, who live near Manchester, travel to Howard and Baltimore counties, to Frederick and to York, Pa., for country line dancing. After Ms. Crone joined Mr. McCoy's Carroll County Country Dancers, they teamed up to teach. They've taught country line dancing at Tully's in Westminster for 14 months. You'll find them after 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays with 30 to 60 folks who want to dance.

They decided to bring dancing closer to home. Mr. McCoy thought line dancing would be popular in North Carroll, and proposed teaching at the Hampstead Fire Hall. The fire company sells refreshments during the dance.

Teaching is strictly a hobby for the dance instructors, who enjoy dancing so much that they've choreographed their own dance, the Billy Bob Shuffle.

"It's really more pleasure than anything. Any money we receive is for tapes and transportation," said Mr. McCoy, who like Ms. Crone, has a full-time job.

"We don't do this for a living," said Ms. Crone. "It's just for fun

and it makes money for the fire department. That's important in ** this area . . . we're an all-volunteer county."

"Line dancing is a series of steps or patterns in straight lines," explains Ms. Crone, who enjoys its exercise potential. "A true line dance is a four-wall dance, the first four steps facing the wall, and somewhere there's a quarter turn. In aerobics, you do eight leg lifts in a row. In a line dance, you do eight leg lifts, but in a different repetition" because the lifts are interspersed with other steps.

"It's a lot of fun and great exercise," she said. "I've dropped two sizes in a year."

"We do quality dance lessons," Mr. McCoy said. "We stay with it until everybody's comfortable. If they need a repeat, we'll do it. In just two weeks, we've learned five dances."

As Mr. McCoy calls the steps, Ms. Crone illustrates them on the dance floor. They teach four steps at a time until the dance is complete.

Most likely, the line dancing will remain a weekly event at the fire hall -- except during the August fund-raising carnival -- through the end of the year.

Information: Joe McCoy, 239-3462.

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Do antiques, homemade crafts, baked goods and yard sale items interest you?

On May 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, Dover at Pleasant Grove roads in Boring (about seven miles south of Hampstead), will have a community flea market. Spaces are available.

Information: 429-1981 or 429-3922.

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Lazarus Lutheran Church on Church Street in Lineboro will hold a hymn sing Sunday at 7 p.m., with a prelude at 6:45 p.m.

The Rev. O. F. Kibbe will lead the songs, and David Livingston will play piano. Several churches will participate. Donations received during the hymn sing will benefit Carroll Hospice.

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