How to Shuffle Dance for Beginners

Published April 30, 2018
Female dancer dancing in abandoned building

You can learn how to shuffle dance by practicing the basic steps. Shuffle dancing isn't a specific dance, but a style with roots in other dance types like jazz and swing. These moves are great for beginners who are just learning the ropes or for veterans who want to improve their shuffling technique

The Running Man

The running man is the foundation of your shuffle dance training. Master this first before moving on to any other steps.

  1. Begin standing with your feet together, toes pointing forward.
  2. Lift your right knee up until it is about waist level or higher.
  3. As you bring your right foot back to the floor, hop and slide your left foot back. At the end of this step, your weight should be on your right foot.
  4. Repeat this move on the left and continue alternating sides.

Kick Side Step

Taken from the top rock style, the kick side step is completed in a slight lateral motion. Although it builds on the running man, it may be even easier than the basic move for some beginners to complete.

  1. Begin with your feet together.
  2. Lift your right leg and kick your foot out in front of you.
  3. As you bring it back, hop off your left foot and onto your right. At the same time, draw your left knee up to the level of your waist.
  4. Kick your left foot out to the side. You have the option to tap your toe down or keep you foot off the ground.
  5. Repeat on the other side, then continue alternating from one side to the other.

The kick side step can be completed staying in place or moving forward. If you're a beginner, focus on getting the steps down first. Then, add some flare by extending your arms up and out to the sides.

The T-Step

The t-step is also a lateral move. Its name comes from the starting position, in which your feet are placed in the shape of the letter t, or what in ballet is called second position. It requires a bit more coordination and balance.

  1. Start with your feet together, toes turned out to the sides.
  2. Simultaneously lift your left foot off the floor, drawing your knee up toward your hip, and spin on the heel of your right foot, turning your toes in.
  3. As your bring your left foot down to tap lightly on the floor, spin your right toes out again.
  4. Repeat this step as many times as you like, traveling to the left, then switch to the right side.

Since this move is a bit more complicated than other beginner shuffle steps, you might want to practice the technique slowly at first to get the move into your muscle memory. Once you feel more confident, speed it up and practice it to music.

The Charleston

This move has been incorporated in a variety of dance styles from swing to hip hop. Consider it a two step with a twist.

  1. Begin with your left foot slightly in front of the right, toes turned out to the side.
  2. Lift your right foot. As you do this, rotate both feet in towards the center so that your toes and knees are pointing towards one another.
  3. Tap your right foot to the floor in front of you, rotating both feet so that your toes are pointing away from each other.
  4. Repeat step number two, bringing your right leg alongside the left, foot off the floor.
  5. Replace your right foot behind the left, toes of both feet turned out.
  6. Lift your left foot this time, again rotating both feet, toes pointed toward the center.
  7. Tap your left foot behind the right, both feet turned out.
  8. Repeat step number six.
  9. Replace your left foot in front of the right.
  10. Begin again.

Repeat this as many times as you like, then start again with your right foot in front of the left, moving the left foot forward first.

Practice and Build Your Shuffle Moves

Get started learning the shuffle by rehearsing these basic moves. The more you practice, the better you will get. Once you've mastered each step, build upon what you've learned by creating combinations. They can be danced in any order, so be creative when putting together your own routines. Then add some personality and flare to make it your own.

How to Shuffle Dance for Beginners