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The most lively, quickest and playful dance in the Latin-American program.
Learn about the interesting history of its name and the everlasting fame of the dance...

Jive - a short story of the dance


Beat: 4/4.
Temp: 42-44 MPM.
Count: "1-2", "1-a-2", "1-2-3-4" and other combinations.
Developed around 1927.

The origins of the word "jive" are unknown. It may refers to "jive talk" or badmouthing. This word reflects the character of the dance. It is sassy and loud. The first hints of Jive came from African-American slaves.

Jive's correct name is Jitterbug Jive.
It is named after a 30's Mickey Mouse cartoon where Mickey and Minnie danced a country style Jitterbug. The name came from Jitterbugs being the dancers and Jive meaning "fake" or "not right".

Earlier we mentioned Afrcan-American slaves. These slaves danced several native dances that had triple and single steps. Their music had a continuous drum bass, and several hints of jive rhythms. Jive itself has now split into two parts, one based on this original African beat and the other based upon its evolved style.

Nowadays Jive can be separated in two groups: a dance with an authentical African sound or a more contemporary variant.

Jive can be known by many different names. It is sometimes called Swing, the Jitterbug, Lindy hop or the Charleston , although it is a completely different dance. These dances are all similar, and their steps are interconnected.
In the 1880's, the dance was performed competitively amongst the Negroes in the South, and the prize was frequently a cake, so the dance became known as the Cake Walk.

Jive is most directly related to Swing. This is because it evolved from many of the competitions that were held in America and several parts of Europe during the early 1900's. Jive's music eventually developed its own flavor in the 1950's and 60's.
Even back then the dance had the kicks (also specific for today), flicks and interesting gestures.
The turns and overhead moves are a direct descendant of some very old English country dances where couples cross over in a diagonal.

In the 30's jive dancing was very smooth and with sliding footwork whereas later the footwork was not as smooth due to the dancers lifting their feet so as not to trip on rough floor boards or the local rough country entertainment establishments.

American soldiers brought these dances to Europe around 1940, where they swiftly found a following among the young.

After the war, the Boogie became the dominant form for popular music. However, it was 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 Jive, danced to slightly slower music.
In Britain the closed position was considered by many to be indecent, and sometimes the lady wore "bumpers" to preclude body contact.

In 1968 it was adopted as the fifth Latin dance in International competitions.

It is considered that Jive is not to be further developed into another dances or styles even though there are some steps that could be seen in Rock'n'Roll performances and which are typical for Jive.

The basic step (Jive Basic) is an 8-step pattern. Man:
Counts "1 - 2" - Rock step: left foot step back, right foot replace;
Counts "3-a-4" - Chasse to the left;
Counts "3-a-4" (or "5-a-6") - Chasse to the right;
The follower's steps are mirrored.

A famous song with Jive-rhythm is Elvis Presley's "Jail House Rock".

Jive is the last dance in a competition, and is also one of the hardest dances to perform. For this reason, many dancers save their energy for one last burst at the end of a night of competing. Good couples' performances are easy to be differentiated from the mediocre ones by the audience.

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