Jive is one of the liveliest dance styles in Ballroom dancing, which originated in the United States. The dance form is credited to the African-Americans in the early 1930s. Jazz singer and band leader Cabell “Cab” Calloway III introduced it to the public in 1934. It is considered an uninhibited version of the Jitterbug and one of the five International Latin dances. In dance competitions, the Jive is danced at speeds between 128 to 176 beats per minute.
The Jive is similar to the East Coast Swing although the highly syncopated Triple Steps rhythm is what sets it apart. The dance form was synonymous with the Swing in the United States while styles such as the Boogie-Woogie and Swing Boogie were variations which gradually emerged as the Jive, which is also strongly influenced by the Lindy Hop and Rock & Roll. While the boogie became popular, it was criticized as being a foreign, vulgar dance. English dance instructors set about creating an elegant and lively ballroom form of the Jive, which is danced to slower music. Its modern form is a boppier dance, where the rocking of the hips and lifting of knees is common.
The Jive is one of the most energetic dance forms with the legs portraying a pumping action. Like the East Coast Swing it also features two triple steps and a rock step. The count begins with the ‘1,2’ rock step. The two tripe steps are “3 and 4” and “5 and 6. The basic step is a 6-beat pattern that includes the rock step on counts 1&2 followed by the Chasse to the left on counts 3&4 and then Chasse to the right on counts 5&6. Some of the few distinctive Jive steps include the American Spin, Comb, Chicken Walks, Jig Walks, and Arm Breaker, to name a few.
Being one of the liveliest dance forms, the Jive can be danced to a variety of fast music like the Rock & Roll, Swing, and Boogie-woogie, depending on the style preferred. It can be danced to jump blues at around 200 beats per minute. For any beginner, it is important to be familiar with the rhythm. Listening to the drum line is the best way to get acquainted with the dance steps rather than concentrating on the melody. So if you are ready for a whole lot of knee-lifting, bending, kicks and flicks, and twirls, the Jive is just the dance for you. Don’t get fooled by those fast moving feet that may look like haphazard to the naked eye. The Jive is all about keeping the feet well controlled under the body.
Should you have additional questions or want to signup for one of the dance classes, please call us at (212) 473-2623!