Learn to Jive Dance

by Ocean Malandra Google
Jive is still popular among swing dancers.

Jive is still popular among swing dancers.

Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

A bouncy, bopping, fun dance that has its roots in the early day of jazz and swing, the Jive is named for a slang term meaning "foolish or light talk" and "just messing around." Jive dancing is still popular among American and European swing and ballroom dancers and has become a permanent part of the repertoire in international ballroom dancing. There are at least two different styles of Jive, so figure out the one you want to learn and get on the floor.

Ballroom Jive

Officially put on the roster in 1968, Jive is considered the fifth ¨Latin¨ style of international ballroom dancing and is taught all over the world. Competitions are held in which all the Latin styles, including Jive, are done. To learn ballroom Jive, all you need to do is find a traditional ballroom studio and enroll in classes. Jive is usually taught alongside other international or Latin forms, but often dance studios hold workshops in particular styles, such as Jive. If you take a full ballroom program at an international ballroom academy, you will automatically learn Jive as part of the program.

Traditional Jive

Traditional Jive dancing is still danced by fans of swing dancing and big-band music, which has a big following in many major cities around the world. Because traditional Jive is basically a variation of the jitterbug, those who dance East Coast Swing will usually also know how to do the Jive. To learn from club dancers, find a swing dancing group in your town and join it for classes and outings. Even if the group is not currently practicing the Jive, you may hook up with other people in the group who are interested and you can learn and practice together.

History of the Jive

Becoming popular in the early 1940s, the Jive was first actually danced in Europe as an imitation of the American jitterbug and swing. In the United States, Jive was little more than an uninhibited form of East Coast Swing, used to dance to several upbeat songs. Gradually, as the Boogie became the dominant form of dance in early American rock 'n' roll, the Jive become its own entity, still used to describe a fast upbeat style of East Coast Swing.

Dancing the Jive

In a kind of reversal of the East Coast Swing, Jive begins with a rock step that involves a quick shift of weight and then chasses to the left and to the right. The Jive is danced in partners and is danced to a basic six-beat step in 4/4 time. Many of the same under-arm turns and swivels used in East Coast Swing are also used in Jive, and the two dances can be creatively combined.

About the Author

I have worked as both a freelance writer and a SEO sales consultant.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images