Basic Boogie Dance Steps

By Marjorie Gilbert ; Updated September 15, 2017

Boogie Woogie began as a musical style in the 1900s. It was characterized by quick piano rolls and repeated notes. Songs that epitomize Boogie Woogie are "Shake, Rattle and Roll" played by Big Joe Turner, or the "Swanee River Boogie" recorded by Fats Domino (see References). The dance style could more properly described as swing and can be either fast or slow depending on the music's tempo.

The Beginning

Start with your feet next to each other and stand facing the center of the room. Step back with your left foot and step in place with your left foot. Bring your left foot forward and tap with your toe beside your right foot, then step in place with your left foot. Tap with your right toe and step in place with your right foot. As you tap your toe and step with each foot, try to turn your feet out a little so your toes are pointing a little away from your body. The rhythm should sound like this: "step, step, tap-step, tap-step, step, step, tap-step, tap-step". Gradually pick up speed as you feel comfortable doing these steps.

The Turn

Do the same steps as described in the first section. Add a turn by taking advantage of the "tap, step" patterns. Step back with your left foot, step in place with your right foot, and tap your left foot beside your right foot. Instead of stepping in place with your left foot, turn your body to the right and place your left foot to the right and at a 90-degree angle. You will be facing the back of the room. Tap with your right foot and as you step with your right foot, continue turning clockwise so that you are now with your right shoulder toward the center of the room. Step back with your right foot and continue turning clockwise so that you are facing the center of the room. As you continue with the pattern by tapping and stepping with your left foot, turn counter clockwise so that you will end up turning completely around the other way and end up facing front again.

One way to think of the turn is that it is similar to a yo-yo on a string. Once you spin the yo-yo in one direction it stops, then begins turning in the opposite direction. With this turn you go in one direction, stop, then turn back in the direction you came. Practice the turn until you can do it up to tempo.

Add a Partner

While the man does the basic boogie steps back and forth described in section one, the woman can do the turn described in section two. As the man lifts his arm, the woman can turn beneath it, mirroring his steps and adding the turn as she does so.

About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.