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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Weekly line dancing at Woodchuck Cider House cultivates community in Middlebury

“It brings my soul back to life every time,” said Warren, the instructor and owner of Good Time Line Dancing.
“It brings my soul back to life every time,” said Warren, the instructor and owner of Good Time Line Dancing.

Since Middlebury-based Good Time Line Dancing began its first event at the Woodchuck Cider House in Middlebury a year ago, the partnership has fostered a tight-knit line dancing community of locals and students alike. 

The event has since become a weekly dance every Thursday from 7–9 p.m. It attracts a variety of people from eight to 80 years old, with varying levels of line dancing experience. 

“People drive up to an hour to come line dancing with us, and it’s truly such an incredible environment,” Andrea Warren, instructor and owner of Good Time Line Dancing, said. 

Katie Rosa ’24.5 has attended line dancing twice so far during her penultimate semester at Middlebury. 

“I think that being in your fourth year here, you've experienced a lot of what the area has to offer, and it was really exciting to find something new,” Rosa told The Campus.

When community members come to the event, they are met with a warm-up dance — usually the “Cupid Shuffle” — followed by a full beginners lesson. During the lesson, Warren teaches the dance by the eight-count before adding all the moves together and reviewing. Attendees then take a “cider break,” with cans of Woodchuck cider available for purchase throughout the night, of course, before practicing again. 

“Line dancing is more of a pattern memorization type of dance,” Warren noted, emphasizing the importance of consistent review. 

Rosa added that she enjoys the active, structured nature of line dancing. 

“You just arrive and you’re learning something. It’s very engaging,” she said.

The second half of the class is reserved for open line dancing, where Warren mixes between beginner dances for the community to pick up and intermediate dancers that she previously taught at Porky’s Place & Backyard BBQ in New Haven, Vt. prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. She encourages folks to learn these more advanced steps by reviewing the instructional videos on her website. 

Warren’s weekly Thursday lessons at Woodchuck consist of primarily beginner-friendly dances. 

“I encourage people to go home and learn some of the harder ones that I’ve taught in the past,” she said. 

Warren began line dancing in college in Rochester, NY. after a friend invited her to give it a try at their local line dancing bar. Soon after, she began taking line dancing lessons both at the local bar and her college. 

“I learned as much as I could as quickly as I could and I was hooked right away,” she said. “So it was kind of my thing.” 

When Warren, originally from the Addison County area, moved back home after graduating college in 2014, she learned that while line dancing had been popular in Vermont in the 1980s and 90s, there was essentially no visible line dancing culture anymore. She began teaching line dancing in 2015 and found success in 2019 at Porky’s until the pandemic forced her to shut down the event.

“I restarted in March of 2023 and it just really took off,” Warren said. On May 5, 2023, she began periodically hosting events at the Woodchuck Cider House, and eventually transitioned to more frequent weekly events at Woodchuck after Porky’s sold in August 2023. 

Over the past few months, line dancing at Woodchuck has begun to attract a significant portion of Middlebury students. Warren said she was grateful that word of the event has finally spread to the college community, given that she had been trying to advertise to the student demographic for a while. 

“I had come to a few of the Thursday night ‘college nights’ at Two Brothers to try and spread the word and we did a couple line dances, but it didn’t really catch on,” Warren recalled. 

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Word did eventually spread earlier this spring, perhaps through a couple of students promoting it by word of mouth, Warren said, and it now attracts a significant portion of students every week.

Some of these college students have taken on the task of learning the more advanced dances. 

“They get to come out and enjoy it during open dance, which is really cool to see,” Warren said. 

Charlotte Shapiro ’24 is one such frequenter of Thursday night line dancing. She began attending earlier in the semester after she heard about the event through friends. 

“It’s a fun event to be doing with your friends…where you’re really getting good at it and then can do it together… It’s a fun atmosphere,” Shapiro said. “And also I love country music, so that is fun to be around for sure,”she added. 

Shapiro and her friends have enjoyed practicing some of their favorite dances such as “Shivers,” choreographed to the song of the same name by Ed Sheeran, along with “The Wolf,” choreographed to the song by the Spencer Lee Band. 

Warren has enjoyed teaching these popular dances, along with one she recently choreographed herself, entitled “When She Moves,” to the song “Been Like This,” by Meghan Trainor. She also enjoys throwing on “Dancing in the Country,” for the period of open-dance for beginners. 

When asked what her favorite part of line dancing is, Warren said the people. 

“It’s always good vibes and people are always so encouraging and helpful—everyone’s there to dance and have fun. There’s not a bad seed in the bunch that I’ve found so far,” she said. 

Warren also noted that she loves seeing the smiles on dancers’ faces and watching the crowd click with a song.

“It brings my soul back to life every time,” she said. “It sounds cheesy but it’s truly become my calling.” 

Line Dancing.jpg
Line dancing has become increasingly popular among Middlebury students this semester.

Emily Hogan

Emily Hogan '24 (she/her) is a Local Editor.   

She is studying Environmental Policy with a minor in Math. In addition to writing and editing for the Campus, she also dances with the On Tap dance troupe and serves on the Environmental Council. She has previously worked with the Sustainability Solutions Lab at Middlebury.