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Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. A lively, and uninhibited variation of Jitterbug, many of its basic patterns are similar to those of East Coast Swing.

Characteristics of Jive

Jive and East Coast Swing share many figures, as well as the same music style and tempo. The basic look and feel of Jive is lots and lots of energy, with the legs portraying a pumping action. Both the East Coast Swing and basic Jive consist of two triple steps and a rock step. The Jive differs in that the count begins with the rock step, which is counted "1,2." The two triple steps are counted "3 and 4" and "5 and 6."

History of Jive

Originating in the United States in the 1940s, Jive was influenced by the Boogie, Rock & Roll, African/American Swing and Lindyhop.

Jive Action

Jive is a very happy, boppy, energetic dance, with plenty of knee-lifting, bending, and rocking of the hips. The fastest of the Latin dances, Jive incorporates lots of kicks and flicks, even twirling of the woman, and doesn't move around the dance floor like other dances. Although Jive dancers may appear to be moving their feet haphazardly in every direction, the feet are actually well-controlled under the body with the knees close together.

Distinctive Jive Steps

The basic Jive step (Jive Basic) is a 6-beat pattern:
  • rock step (counts 1&2)
  • chasse to the left (counts 3&4)
  • chasse to the right (counts 5&6)
A few distinctive Jive steps:
  • American Spin
  • Throwaway
  • Comb
  • Chicken Walks
  • Arm Breaker
  • Jig Walks

Jive Music and Rhythm

Jive can be danced to swing music and jump blues in the tempo range of about 200 beats per minute. Depending on the style preferred, Jive can be danced to a variety of upbeat music including Boogie-woogie, Swing and Rock and Roll. The most important thing for beginners is to get familiar with the rhythm of the music. Listen to the drum line rather than the melody...the drum provides the beat.
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