Line it up

Tina Baltimore, center, and fellow soul line dancers tear it up at Juneteenth.

Tina Baltimore, center, and fellow soul line dancers tear it up at Juneteenth.


The Sacramento Soul Line Dancers offer a Thursday night class, ages 21 and older, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at A Touch of Class, 4217 Stockton Boulevard; (916) 451-1786;

A Touch A’ Class

4217 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95820

(916) 451-1786

It’s a party. There’s music playing and about 40 people are dancing in unison, laughing, having a great time. But there is an ulterior motive in play: For Tina Baltimore, leader of Tina B. and the Sacramento Soul Line Dancers, her goal is exercise that is fun and easy. She helps people forget the fact that they are actually working out. In conjunction with the American Heart Association, the Soul Line Dancers are ambassadors of healthy living, spreading the message of “dancing your way to good health” throughout the region. Soul line dancing was born out of several popular dances from the ’70s and ’80s, such as the hustle and the electric slide. Not everyone is cut out for rigorous exercising, but almost every one has a good step or two left in them. Party on—and get fit at the same time.

Explain the difference between regular line dancing and soul line dancing.

Soul line dancing is basically dancing to soulful music, such as Motown, old school, jazz, gospel and more. It makes people feel good because they are dancing with a group of people, and learning to do the same steps. It’s about being involved in something bigger than your self.

What about those people who don’t know how to line dance?

We have a “no feet police” in line dancing. Just jump in where you fit in and have fun. People are coming to my class because I have some of the best line-dance instructors in Sacramento. Most of my instructors started as students. They all have a passion for dancing and helping others.

What do people get out of doing line dancing both physically and socially?

Dancing allows people to have fun, make new friends and get healthier at the same time. You’re not dancing with a partner, you are dancing with a group. Most people that come to my classes say that they can tell that they’ve gotten a good workout. It gets your blood circulating and your heart rate up. It also helps to improve their memory and it gives them more energy. As ambassadors for the Power to End Stroke campaign for the American Heart Association, our message is that it is important to do as least 30 minutes of some type of physical activity each day. It might as well be something that you love to do, like dancing.

How is line dancing different from other forms of exercise?

You don’t need special equipment or fancy clothes to do it. You can come and learn the line-dance steps along with your friends, or even with your kids at home. We are starting to notice that more seniors are coming to our classes. Soul line dancing helps to get them off the couch, away from the TV, and up and moving. It’s a more relaxed way to get your exercise.

Is there a basic step that you teach people when they are first learning?

Yes, the electric slide is part of the basic foundation for line dances, but line dancing has grown so much, and there are many people from different countries/cities/states that are doing a lot of variation off the basic foundation. Soul line dancing has it own language, and you will find that a variety of steps are being taught.

Describe some of the other steps.

Among them are the cha-cha, sailor step, kick ball change, half turn, three-quarter turn, pivot, grapevine, jazz box … which you may hear in some country line-dancing classes. No, you don’t have to know any of the dances before you come. It’s easier to teach a dance when the students are familiar with the basic steps in the dance, but we have dances for beginners, intermediate or advance soul line dancers. We teach you step by step. Our instructors are there to encourage you, not criticize or make you feel self-conscious.

Do you have a lot of gigs?

Yes, we try to spread our message wherever we can. We have appeared on breast cancer awareness programs, at the [Samuel] Pannell [Meadowview Community] Center, the George Sim Community Center. We’ve also appeared at several Juneteenth celebrations in William Land Park, where hundreds of people danced. We even opened a Sacramento Kings game. We teach line dancing at family reunions, parties and churches.