Changing Places while Jiving
In International style Latin dancing, the Jive is one of the five Latin competition dances. It's sometimes called the International Style version of Jitterbug or East Coast Swing. As with East Coast swing, the basic consists of two triple steps and a rock step. However, in Jive, the count begins with the rock step. The rock step is counted 1,2. Next, the two triple steps are counted: 3-a-4, 5-a-6. Jive has a very energetic look. Danced correctly, the legs exhibit a pumping action. The technique of all of these International style Latin dances was set down by Walter Laird. The Jive and the East Coast Swing share many figures and they share the same music style and tempo.
So technically, (no flames please!) The Jive dance is European, NOT American. However, it did have it's roots in America. Today, (in the USA) it is taught by the ballroom dance studios only in the Latin (Rhythm) section. It is basically a backwards or rock first "East Coast Swing," with an exaggerated bounce and kicks using a Latin flair. However, it is a fun swing form to learn, and is fun to watch :
Most Europeans do what they call the "American Jive " a name that came briefly from WWII when the Jitterbug was called Jitterbug-Jive. When the war ended, the term Jitterbug-Jive ended as well in the States. The Europeans however kept using the name Jive, which supposedly is their version of what is done here in the states, (which is way off -- "A bunch of Jive", we do not do Jive anywhere here, except in the ballroom circles"). Jive was also a slang term used by musicians to describe a certain type of "jamming:" the Blues/Jazz/Boogie Woogie etc. (Jive = Bullsh*t) example is: "Don't hand me that Jive."
Another reason that the ballroom associations use Jive is it can not compete with the other street versions (Lindy, Jitterbug, WCS, Push, Whip, Shag) taught by independent studios / teachers. They fear they will lose that business to the independants if they "promote it". However, they are wrong, many people look for swing dancing and would learn just as much from them as they do now, and probably would much more. The ballroom vision is dance being called a sport (dancesport) and Ballroom being held in the Olympics - which is fuel for one international swing style called Jive that all countries can use, (bummer!).
Modern Jive or "French Jive" in the UK was introduced In the 1980's to make it easier to teach people to do swing in the clubs. The dance is taught with no footwork, just a walking of the patterns which can be many. The names of modern Jive usually come from the club or association that taught the version being done and usually leads into a more structured form of swing dance as time goes on. It is similar to what people do here in the states before they learn a structured form of swing which we call just 'winging it', which has no form, lead or follow skills etc., although in the Modern Jive it is taught with patterns, lead and follow, timing rather than just the 'winging it' above so there is some structure to it more than one might think. The music is similar to the West Coast Swing format of dancing to all styles of music rather than just one specific genre/era with their dances or socials being called Freestyles.
Discover Dance Combinations: The Jive - Series 2 (2008)
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