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What is Jive Dance?

What is Jive Dance?

The Jive is a lively and energetic dance that is typically danced to swing or contemporary music. It’s usually done to upbeat music, like jazz or rock.

In the competitive ballroom dancing communities, the Jive is considered a Latin dance, but it also belongs to the swing dancing family. It’s a popular dance on shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars.”

The Jive is characterized by its lively footwork and high kicks. The dancer must be able to perform intricate footwork while maintaining balance at all times. This style of dance requires quick reflexes and coordination in order to avoid falling over while performing complicated movements on one foot.

History Summary of Jive

The dance known as jive first rose to popularity as a Black American social dance in jazz dance halls and swing clubs in the United States in the early twentieth century. Its name is derived from “jive talk,” which was a vernacular slang term used in some community at the time meaning “deceptive talk.”

The jive is a form of swing dancing that originated in the 1930s. It was originally called jitterbug, but later became known as jive. Jive dancers like Cab Calloway attracted large crowds of people at big band venues like New York’s Savoy Ballroom.

Later on, jive became the generic term that referred to several forms of swing dancing, including jitterbug, boogie-woogie, and the Lindy hop.

By the 1940s, jitterbugging had evolved into a new dance called “swing.” At this point, jive had become a synonym for swing. And while swing dances like Lindy Hop and East Coast Swing took hold in different parts of the United States, jive remained popular across the country.

In 1968, jive became accepted as one of five International Latin dances in competitive ballroom dancing. And in the late twentieth century, French jive emerged as a modern version of jive—it's typically performed to popular music today!

How to Dance Jive: 

The basic jive step (jive basic) is a 6-beat pattern:

  • The man and woman face each other with arms in the closed position and the man leads.
  • Rock step (counts 1 and 2): Step one foot behind the other and lift the front foot up. The man steps back with his left foot while the woman steps backward with her right foot.
  • Chasse to the left (counts 3 and 4) The man goes left, the woman goes right.
  • Chasse to the right (counts 5 and 6) The man goes right, the woman goes left.

A few distinctive Jive steps:

  • American Spin
  • Throwaway
  • Comb
  • Chicken Walks
  • Arm Breaker
  • Jig Walks


Here is a brief video about how to Jive Dance ;

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