Step into country line dancing

Dance instructor Kat Painter keeps everyone’s boots in line at the Stoney Inn.

Modern line dancing originated out of necessity. Women who didn’t have dance partners weren’t going to be wallflowers, so dances like the Charleston and line dancing evolved to accommodate singles.

“Women on the sidelines kind of tapped their feet and moved along. … A lot of guys got on the bandwagon, too,” says Kat Painter, the dance director at Stoney Inn, one of Sacramento’s most popular country line-dancing spots. “You don’t have to go through the nervousness of asking someone to dance.”

Located in north Sacramento, Stoney Inn is a magnet for line dancers from as far away as Woodland, Auburn, Lincoln, Fairfield and Modesto. The draw is the music: 60 percent country with dashes of Lady Gaga, ’NSync and ’80s rock music mixed in.

Kat Painter

PHOTO BY WILLIAM LEUNG

Painter, a Sacramento State University graduate with a bachelor of arts in dance, has taught it all: jazz, ballet, African-Carribean, waltz, fox-trot and cha-cha. Country dance is where she started 14 years ago, and she’s been teaching bargoers to line dance at Stoney Inn since it opened in 2007.

Until last year, she was the bar’s only instructor. Now she’s joined by Kurt Senser, who won a world-champion title from the United Country Western Dance Council in 1997. Senser commutes to Sacramento from the East Bay twice a month to teach country two-step and West Coast swing, waltz, cha-cha, and cowboy swing—depending on what’s popular with the crowds.

Senser believes line dancing is accessible and a great way of breaking the ice with dance. He recommends beginners take a workshop, because students get an hour and a half to learn dance steps and break down a dance. “You can get the basics in one lesson,” Senser says.

At Stoney Inn, line-dance parties happen Wednesday through Sunday. There are free dance lessons before the open dancing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with a $5 cover charge after 9 p.m. Check Stoney’s online calendar for a dance-workshop schedule.

Stoney Inn, 1320 Del Paso Boulevard; (916) 927-6024; www.stoneyinn.com .

A.W.

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About Amy Wong

I'm a story-chaser.
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