Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Diana Tattarakis leads the line. Micaela Colace / The National
Diana Tattarakis leads the line. Micaela Colace / The National

Get in line for some boot scootin' in Abu Dhabi

It's tempting to sit out the summer in an air-conditioned apartment, but Diana Tattarakis wants you to come dancing instead.

There's a long summer ahead of us, and what better way to fill the stifling evenings than with a new hobby? Line dancing may not be the hippest activity around, but, as we found out when we went along to the first of the new fortnightly sessions being held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi, it's a lot more fun than it sounds.

The dance

Say "line dancing" and most people think of cowboys in checked shirts stomping in unison around a community hall to country music. It's not, shall we say, cool. In fact, say you're going along to a line dancing evening and there will probably be a few raised eyebrows and a wry chuckle.

However, it's time to adjust our perceptions, says Diana Tattarakis, the native New Yorker and long-time line dancer who hosts the sessions. "People have the wrong idea about line dancing," she says. "They think it's strictly cowboy country and western. OK, I'm wearing the boots and the hat, but line dancing has really changed a lot and many line-dancing clubs now dance to disco music, pop music, Arab music and salsa."

The great thing about it, she adds, is that it is inclusive. "You don't need to be a dancer," she says. "You can be any age, any fitness level. You don't need a partner and it's very sociable, so you can meet people."

The teacher

Tattarakis has lived in Dubai for 29 years and founded The Dubai Liners, the city's only line dancing society, in 1998. She leads the sessions from the front, equipped with a face mic and wearing rhinestone-encrusted cowboy boots. She choreographs most of the dances herself.

The music

OK, so there are a couple of country numbers, but of the Faith Hill variety rather than the Willie Nelson one. Mostly, though, it's songs such as Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger and Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees.

The steps

There is a small amount of instruction before each number, where Tattarakis takes the group through the moves. They are, as she claims, simple. Two steps to the left, clap, two to the right, clap. The odd kick and hip swing remind us of the dance's cowboy roots. I struggle with one foot-swinging move, but mainly it's idiot-proof. I wish I had worn cowboy boots. Stomping in ballet pumps just isn't the same.

The verdict

Since the venue is a restaurant (Taverna at the Armed Forces Officers Club) complete with diners, I was worried that I would feel self-conscious boot-scootin' around the room while people ate their nachos. Far from it. In fact, I had the distinct feeling that many of them were longing to join in. In the end, a few of them did.

I may have begun the evening wryly chuckling to myself, but they had me when Moves Like Jagger pumped out of the sound system. Tattarakis had mentioned the inevitable smiling ("in all my photographs of the trial session everyone is smiling") and I for one couldn't stop. In fact, I had this inane grin spread across my face the whole night. Even my husband, who is usually allergic to dance floors, admitted he was enjoying himself. I plan on going back in a couple of weeks with a group of friends. And next time I'll be sure to bring my cowboy boots.

The details

The next event will take place on Thursday 9 May, and every second Friday after that, at Taverna Restaurant at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi. The cost is Dh50 per line dancer. Call 02 441 5900 and speak to Rudy at the Taverna restaurant for more information

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 This four-bedroom villa covers 4,790 square feet and is part of a new compound in Umm Suqeim.

In photos: Beachside villa in Umm Suqeim, Dubai for Dh800,000

Taking a closer look at a four-bedroom villa in Umm Seqeim, Dubai.

 Suresh Raina is part of the the IPL's Chennai Super Kings team, which take on Kings XI Punjab on April 18 in Abu Dhabi. Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images

Chennai Super Kings cricketer Suresh Raina spotted at Ferrari World

One of the top batsmen and bowlers of the Indian Premier League’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Raina spent a day at Ferrari World with some of his team mates, and seemed to particularly enjoy the world’s fastest roller-coaster.

 Shah Rukh Khan plays a shot during a friendly match between the members of the support and administrative staff of Royal Challengers Bangalore and his Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team. Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP

When the worlds of Bollywood and cricket collide

With the first game of the Indian Premier League beginning today in the UAE, we explore the league’s Bollywood connections, which are as glitzy as they are controversial.

 A rendering of People Abu Dhabi by Crystal. Courtesy People Abu Dhabi by Crystal

People Abu Dhabi by Crystal to open on Saadiyat Island

Abu Dhabi’s nightlife scene just gets better and better. After venues such as O1NE Yas Island and Iris in Yas Marina opening last year, it’s Saadiyat’s turn with the launch of the glamorous People Abu Dhabi by Crystal.

 Dumyé Dolls’s fashionable rag dolls. Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane / The National

Top takeaways from Fashion Forward and where to find them

The ideas and designs that caught our attention and where you can learn more


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National