how to count in country line dances part 1 imageDo you find yourself standing around not sure exactly when or how to count in country line dances?

You are not alone!

It is pretty easy when you know what you are looking or listening for.

Most popular music today, whether it is county or pop, is standard 4/4 time and follows a pretty basic formula and once you know this formula, it becomes easy to count in country line dances.

Simply put it means there are 4 beats to every bar.

So a 4 bar count would be;

1, 2, 3, 4 – 2, 2, 3, 4 – 3, 2, 3, 4 – 4, 2, 3, 4


Nearly all popular music is

  • in multiples of 4 bars
  • each with 4 beats.

In its simplest form a song usually consists of

  • An introduction or “intro” followed by
  • A verse or 2
  • Then a chorus.

The last bar (or two) of the intro will often have a change in instrumentation, however subtle, and may be distinguished by a drum fill or absence of instrumentation (maybe a held note).

The end of the intro is where you would start line dancing and is nearly always where the singer begins to sing.

NOTE the singer may come in before or after beat 1


Most intros, verses and choruses are 4 bars or multiples of 4 bars.

Simply knowing this will help you count in country line dances.

Intros will most likely be

  • 4 or 8 bars long,
  • Occasionally 12 and
  • Sometimes stretching to 16.

It would have to be an exceptionally good and interesting intro to be longer than 16 bars and find its way onto a record or country line dance CD.

Of course there are always exceptions.

So to count in many country line dances all you need to do is

  • Count in multiples of 4 and
  • Listen for a change in the music. May also be where the singer starts.


  • Listen for the Snare or Rim to get your beats in the bar.
  • Don’t listen to Hats (Cymbals) as they can be double time.
  • Sometimes you will hear a song you think is fast but in reality it is half the speed.


Let’s look at a few country line dance songs and analyse them. Once again you can hear them on the video.

* Track on THE Line Dance CD are noted for each Example.

“Bootscootin’ Boogie” by Brooks and Dunn
*(Equivalent Track 11 (swing) “Hurry Up”
2 beat lead in and a 4 bar count in

1, 2, 3, 4  –  2, 2, 3, 4  –  3, 2, 3, 4  –  4, 2, 3, 4 à  Dance

“Neon Moon” by Brooks and Dunn
*(Equivalent Track 6 (Even) “Can’t Decide”.
4 bar count in (Used for Cha Cha line dances)

“Love Somebody Like Me” by Keith Urban
*(Equivalent Track 6 (Even) “Can’t Decide”.
8 bar count in (seems faster than 100 bpm)

“Should Have Been a Cowboy” by Toby Keith
*(Equivalent Track 14 (Even) “Teach Me To Ride”.
12 bar count in

“Who’s Your Daddy” by Toby Keith
*(Equivalent Track 10 or 12 (Even) “Nothing In Particular” or “Mandy Lynn”.
16 bar count in

“You’re Not in Kansas Anymore” by Jo Dee Messina
*(Equivalent Track 6 or 8 (Even) “Can’t Decide” or “Just You and ME”.
10 bar count in
(could be considered a 2 bar lead in plus an 8 bar Intro).

In no time at all you will be able to count in country line dances like a pro – All it takes is just a little practice.

* Tracks on THE Line Dance CD are noted for each Example.

Watch Part 2 – Waltz 3/4 time
Line Dance Signature