This Is Carolina: Grand Strand line dance instructors share their secrets ahead of CCMF

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:43 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Gear up for this year’s Carolina Country Music Fest by boot-scootin’ your way into line dancing classes. You can step your way into any old honky-tonk thanks to choreographer Hana Ries.

“You can start at nothing and make it quite far,” said Ries.

Ries is from the Czech Republic and said she didn’t know anything about line dancing, but it helped being a fitness instructor. She first learned how to line dance in Australia and years later, got reintroduced at the legendary Beach Wagon Bar in Myrtle Beach before it closed for good.

“Same atmosphere. A bunch of people on the dance floor doing the same thing and yes it was line dancing, and I was in love. This was it. This was my home,” she said.

Since then, Ries has perfected her positions and now teaches online and on cruise ships. She’s even been nominated for the Line Dance Association’s Best World Wide Country Line Dance Choreography award. She said she also loves this type of dance because everyone can understand it.

“You can go anywhere in the world and if a certain song will start playing, people will all meet on the dance floor and do the same steps, the same routine, the same dance,” said Ries.

No cowboy boots needed.

“As long as you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing you can wear absolutely anything,” she said.

We donned heels and Crocs for her lesson at the Carolina Forest Recreation Center.

“Every dance has a different length and different steps,” said Ries.

She first walked us through the moves before adding the music.

“Every song has its own dance and it’s challenging. You always have something new to learn, she said. “The only way to learn how to be able to dance the night away is to keep going and taking these classes.”

Just ask Conway line dance instructor Roger Seafus. He started dancing in 2014 all thanks to a persistent friend.

“She says ‘I’m on my way to line dancing, why don’t you know join me?’ So, I said ‘You know, I’m going to go in here and then she’ll quit bugging me;’” said Seafus.

Instead, he got the bug to learn how to line dance.

“I didn’t want to be outdone. That’s how it got started,” he said.

Seafus now teaches where he learned at Conway Sports and Fitness Center. His upbeat personality and his own hands-on guidance leaves his classes packed.

“I have this thing called each one, teach one. That means if you know something and you can help somebody, help them,” he said.

Between teaching the rock step and the grapevine, both instructors said it’s the friendships that they’ve enjoyed the most.

“The people. The camaraderie. These people here, they treat me so good,” said Seafus. “I’m here. Anytime you want to come by, come see me.”

“That’s the most amazing part of line dancing. Besides the dancing and hanging out on the dance floor, we also become friends and it’s friends for life outside of the dancing and I love that very much,” said Hana.

Click here if you’d like to attend Hana’s 8th Annual Dance in the Sand beginners workshop. Click here for a list of Grand Strand instructors.

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