Jive (dance)

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Jive is a dance, one of the five International Latin ballroom dances. It originated in the United States from African-Americans in the early 1940s. It is a lively and uninhibited variation of the earlier forms of Swing dance such as the Jitterbug.

Jive is danced in 4/4 time, and in competition at a speed of 44 bars per minute. It differs from Rock 'n Roll (dance) in having a syncopated chassé. Steps are counted 1, 2, 3 & 4, with 3 & 4 as the chassé.

History[change | edit source]

American soldiers brought Lindy Hop/Jitterbug to Europe around 1942, where this dance quickly became popular among the young. In the United States the term 'Swing' became the most common word used to describe the dance.[1] In the UK variations in technique led to styles such as Boogie-Woogie and Swing Boogie, with 'Jive' gradually emerging as the generic term.[2]

After the war, the boogie became the dominant form for popular music. It was, however, never far from criticism as a foreign, vulgar dance. The famous ballroom dancing guru, Alex Moore, said that he had "never seen anything uglier". English instructors developed the elegant and lively ballroom Jive, danced to slightly slower music. In 1968 it was adopted as the fifth Latin dance in International competitions. The modern form of ballroom jive in the 1990s-present, is a very happy and boppy dance, the lifting of knees and the bending or rocking of the hips often occurs.

Basic step[change | edit source]

The basic step (Jive Basic) is a six beat pattern, comprising eight weight changes.

Leader: Normally the male
  • Counts 1 2 - Rock step: left foot step back, right foot replace
  • Counts 3 & 4 - Chassé to the left
  • Counts 5 & 6 - Chassé to the right
The follower's steps are mirrored.

Other websites[change | edit source]

  • Alan Tornsberg & Serena Lecca dance the basic jive (bit slower than competition speed): [1]

References[change | edit source]

  1. Murray, Arthur 1947. How to become a good dancer. Simon and Schuster. revised edition. page 175.
  2. Paul Bottomer. 1998. Let's Dance. Black Dog & Leventhal. page 157. ISBN 1-57912-049-0