Modern Jive: Putting the Steps Together
The term Modern Jive was originally coined in 1990 by Christine Keeble on a programme called 'How To Jive', designed to promulgate this new style of jive. At that time the dance was known variously as Ceroc, LeRoc or French Jive, although Ceroc was the original. Since Ceroc had a trademark, Christine Keeble used the term 'modern jive' to encompass all of these names.
The term 'modern jive' was adopted, despite the absence of chase or triple step (typical of "real" jive forms). Various clubs promalgating the name as the dance spread out from its two earliest centres of London and Bristol and it later became accepted as a generic term for the dance. It is now used by a large number of independent teachers across the UK and internationally. It is also used by many of the franchise operators, although though these companies still prefer to use their own branding.
While all these forms of Modern Jive have Swing and Rock-and-Roll dance moves in common, moves from many forms of dance including Salsa and Tango may be included, according to the specific franchise or even the particular dance teacher. Because of its eclectic nature there are hundreds of moves and variations that can be learnt, introduced or adapted
Although dance routines are developed and rehearsed for competitions, Modern Jive is most frequently danced freestyle, providing additional challenges to more advanced dancers in terms of musical interpretation and expression.
Different franchises or teachers often have different names for identical moves, and different signals to indicate the next move. The Man's Spin taught by Ceroc Enterprises is identical to the Man's Pass taught by The Rock Dance Company (TRDC). Due to its origins, Modern Jive moves may be similar to moves from other dance styles; the First Move Triple Steps in Modern Jive is similar to the Lindy Hop Jockey, for example. Despite this there is rarely a problem dancing with people who have been taught other styles, at least with the less advanced moves.
Step footwork vs Rock footwork
Many of the Australian offshoots of ceroc transitioned to a footwork coined "Step" in about 1995.
The original "rock" footwork specifices a step back with either foot, transferring the weight to the moved foot on each of the odd numbered beats (1, 3, 5, 7) The moved foot is returned to its starting position on the even beats. (2, 4, 6, 8).
"Step" footwork specifies that the leader takes a step back with the right foot on the half beat or "and" count and "closes", stepping backwards with the left foot on the numbered count. "closing" implies that the feet end up close together. On the next count the leader steps forward with their right foot on the "and" count and closes with their left on the numbered count. The follower mirrors this by stepping back on their left and "closing" with their right and then stepping forward with their left and closing with their right.
Rock footwork was originally offered as a "beginner" footwork in Australia. More recently it has been dropped. The reason for it being dropped is pedagogical. The problem appeared to be that the transition from beginner to intermediate dancer (so-called) meant one had to "unlearn" one and then "re-learn" another rhythm and weight change components of the dance. Unfortunately, the "rock" footwork is actually more suited to fast music (leaning towards "advanced" dancers) as it reduces the number of weight changes required during any rhythm unit. Thus, the preference for "step" footwork has reduced the "terminal velocity" modern jive can be danced at - because it forces a weight change every beat.
Modern Jive is generally danced to music with four beats to the bar (4/4 or Common time), from latest chart hits to big band music and everything between, in a wide variety of tempos from slow to very fast. Some teachers or franchises may concentrate on particular musical styles, such as swing. Music is typically between 108 and 160 bpm. Experienced jivers occasionally dance to music outside those broad constraints
How To Jive & Rock n Roll / Kav Kavanaugh
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