Modern Jive: Close Moves

Published on by CMe

New York


Modern Jive: Close Moves already noted, there is no definitive Modern Jive technique, the steps and styles here are suggestions — although some plausible explanations are provided. For example, there are a number of reasons why the man moves forwards before leading turns (and then steps back):

  • Stepping forwards helps to ensure that the hands can be raised high enough above the lady's head — which is more difficult if partners are stepped apart.
  • Similarly, stepping in helps the man keep an upright posture, rather than having to lean forwards to compensate.
  • The man stepping forwards helps in case the lady travels unintentionally — similarly, it's good practice if the man does lead a travelling turn, or a comb, etc.
  • Stepping in (and out) can help keep a count and it also keeps the man moving (and hopefully dancing) rather than just standing on the spot.
  • As a style point, if the man steps in and out it helps when both partners mirror each other as they both step back.
For simplicity, it's assumed that a man will act as the leader, and the lady will act as the follower — this is simply a convention for convenience and shouldn't imply any particular assumptions — it's always useful to switch leader and follower roles to get a better appreciation of the other partner's skills.

Leads are generally given at least one musical beat (or half a Modern Jive count) before the next step — hence, in the move descriptions, the lead for the “next” step is indicated as part of the previous step, to show the linkage between the steps.

The diagrams follow a number of conventions that should be understood before dancing:

  • diagrams are stylised, for example, the arms are drawn without crossing either of the graphics representing the man or lady, and so all overhead handholds are shown slightly displaced.

  • Although steps are shown in isolation, they are typically combined to form a complete “smooth” move. For example, most of the turns in this document are typically shown as a single turning step, followed by a step where one or either partner steps backwards — in practice, most Modern Jivers combine turning and stepping back — this blurs the distinction between the steps, whereas a separate turn and step backwards will be a snappier style.

  • I prefer to dance a more “compressed” slotted style, with the man moving out of the lady's slot as she moves within it, rather than stepping out of the slot in the previous step.

    The main leading style shown in the diagrams is a “slow slotted” one, where the lady moves in a slot, with the man moving out of their way on the previous step. This style was since it is simpler to lead and the man's and lady's movements are easier to describe

    There are other styles of Modern Jive where the man stays more in-place, and the lady moves diagonally, but these are more complicated to lead and describe. For example, there are several ways partners can go from facing directly in front of each other, to a side by side position. For example:

    • The man can move forwards and lead the lady to move diagonally forwards-left, so that she ends at his right side.

    • The man can move diagonally forwards-left and lead the lady diagonally forwards-left, so that she ends at his right side.

    • The man can move left (off of the lady's line) and lead the lady forwards, so that she ends at his right side.

    The first two options (and especially the first) make the lady “run around” the man.

  • The last step shown is used to depict the ending position, but doesn't normally form part of the move.

  • Moves with spins can be caught left or right handed (or even some double handed combination), and hence moves in this section are shown being caught in either the left or right hand.

  • Note in this guide the Return is considered as a separate move — and hence the move descriptions don't include the “traditional” Return ending.

 To Jive & Rock n Roll / Kav Kavanaugh
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