How to Jive Dance

Originated in the early 1930s by the African-American community, the lively jive is a popular dance style used across ballrooms in America.

A variation of Jitterbug, in International Style ballroom dancing competition jive is considered as a Latin dance.

At the first glance, jive dance is full of energy with plenty of leg movements. This includes kicks and flicks, pumping and bouncy action.

Though jive dance is the fastest of the five Latin dances, the basic movement is easy to learn. If you’re new to this energetic dance and curious about how it works, read on to find out the basics jive steps.

1. The 6-Beat Pattern

Basic jive involves the 6-count or 6-beat pattern. This means there are 6 beats that sound like 1-2-3-a-4, 5-a-6.

– Beats 1 and 2 are “rock steps” or “link step”.
– Beats 3 and 4 are triple step, also known as “chasse” to the left.
– Beats 5 and 6 are triple step, or “chasse” to the right.

2. How to Dance the Basic Jive

The “Link Step” or “Rock Step”

During counts 1 and 2, step one foot behind the other. Specifically, the woman steps her right foot backward while the man steps his left foot backward. The front foot should be lifted up.

The gist of rock steps is about shifting the weight of your body to your back foot, then to your front foot as your body moves backward and forward.

The “Chasse” Movement

The “chasse” steps consist of a three short and smooth side movement.

At beat 3-a-4, the man sidesteps to the left while the women sidestep to the right.

At beat 5-a-6, the man sidesteps to the right while the women sidestep to the left.

In specific, at beat 3 the man steps to the side with his left foot. Then he brings his right foot across next to his left at the “a” count or the second count in the “chasse” step.

Next, at beat 4 he takes another sidestep with his left foot and shifts his weight back to his right foot at beat 5.

At last he glides to the right with his left foot. This is another “a” count. Then he glides to the right with his right foot at count 6 and finish the basic jive.

Putting Everything Together

In a jive, the man and women face each other. The man always takes the lead while the woman follows his movement.

The man puts his right hand on the left side of the woman’s upper back. The woman’s left hand should be on the man’s right shoulder, her arm above the man’s arm.

Relax and don’t stiffen the arms. Allow your body to freely move without bumping onto your partner. To achieve this, rotate your body position so your foot is slightly turned away from your dance partner’s.

When you first start out, say the counts out loud for better guidance. Avoid practicing with music as it can be distracting. As you get better, try to move at a faster tempo.

Once you feel more confident, you can start dancing with music. Try to get familiar with the rhythm. This means you listen to the beats, not the melody.

As you get used to the music and become better, jive will certainly become your favorite dance in no time.

For more helpful tips on different dance moves, visit here.

Learn the Charleston Dance

Remember the iconic “The Charleston” used in the Broadway show “Runnin’ Wild” in the early 1920s?

When it comes jazz music, we can’t help but mention the Charleston dance.

Believed to be born before the 1920s, the Charleston is greatly influenced by the African-American culture, especially during the slavery period. Indeed, it has become a symbol of freedom and uninhibited enthusiasm.

The dance is particularly popular among young, rebellious people who want to express their sense of selves. It’s typically associated with the image of a woman with a bob cut, wearing a short dress and listening to jazz.

Known to have medium to fast tempo, the Charleston was the first social dance one could do without the need of a partner. That said, you can experience the Charleston with or without a partner, or in a group.

While the Charleston comes in different variations, the basic dance involves four basic steps. Whenever you’re ready, let’s get started!

1. The Legs

Take a rock step back with your left foot. You’ll feel your weight briefly transferred from one foot to the other. Make sure to touch the floor with only the front of your foot.

Lean forward slightly and bend your knees a little. Then swing your left leg head in a kicking motion and bring it ahead of your right foot.

Next swing your right foot forward and make sure only the heel of your foot touches the ground. You should feel your body weight on your left foot.

Then step back and bring your right foot behind your left foot. Keep it loose. Your weight now should be on your right foot.

Repeat from the beginning until you get a good feel of the basic moves.

2. The Arms

The Charleston was also known as the “Flappers” in the 20s. This is because the arm motions like a bird while dancing.

They key to the Charleston is the complementary movement of the arms and legs.

As the right leg swings backward, the right arm should swing forward. When your left leg goes backward, your left arm should swing forward. This may happen naturally as if you’re walking.

These moves might not impress you at first, but they can get tricky once you increase the tempo and add other variation. Keep on practicing until you’re completely comfortable with the basic Charleston.

3. Different Styles of the Charleston

Once you feel entirely at ease with the basic Charleston, you can check out other styles.

The 20s Solo

This is an expressive and fast-pace form of the Charleston. Often danced in large groups, this genre was very popular in the 2000s.

It’s usually danced at high tempos (about 200 to 250 beats per minute). It’s also ideal for dancers who want to involve more improvisation and creativity in their moves.

The 20s Partner

The feet in this variation follow the same movement as in the basic Charleston. However, the arms and torsos follow the traditional formal dance pose.

This means there’s a close proximity between the dancers. As a result, the backward and forward motion in the 20s partner is smaller than in the solo form.

Though once considered scandalous, the Charleston has definitely proven its charm and popularity among contemporary cultures. Have fun and enjoy the move!

For more useful tips on other dance moves, visit Dancer Mag.

Mambo Dance

The mambo dance is an intricate Latin dance invented in the 1930s in Havana, Cuba and has developed to become an important part of Cuban culture since.

The dance itself ranges from a few basic steps to complicated moves for the really advanced mambo-ers.

Today, we are breaking down the mambo for you to learn in a few simple steps.

Learn the difference between Mambo and Salsa

At first glance, these two dances look very similar, but once you get into it, you’ll find that the mambo is a much more rigid dance, quick paced dance.

Some things the dances do have in common are flashy hip movements, similar four count and overall fluidity. It is recommended that you wear suede footwear.

Forward and backward basic step

The key is to remember to step on beat number TWO. It will help to count aloud.

Start by taking your left leg and going forward, stepping it out on two and placing your weight on that foot whilst picking up your right foot. On three, place your right foot back down and on four bring them both together.

Then do the same with your right leg but in a backward direction. Here it is again:

One: stay put with legs together

Two: Left foot out (put all of your weight on it)

Three: step back onto your right leg

Four: bring the left back to meet the right

Then do the same going backward on the right foot.

The challenges of the mambo

Right off the bat, you’ll probably notice how hard it is to not move on the first count! Allow your body to feel the movement by doing this basic step and counting aloud over and over again.

It is important to remember that you move on count TWO.

On the one count, your feet are always together and your weight is shifting from left to right and right to left. So while it may not look like you are moving a lot on this count, the weight shift is an integral part of you landing this dance!

Eventually, you will be able to quicken the pace and perhaps even add more advanced moves. For example, you can take this same step side to side and even add turns!

The upper body

Maintain good posture and a happy face. At least make it look like your enjoying yourself, even if your brain is thinking really hard about these moves!

A good place to start is to have your arms on your hips and then slightly lift them off the body. Having your arms at this bent angle and moving them with the body is the goal.

The arms follow the legs in a natural way. However, if adding arms is too complicated for you, in the beginning, just keep them on your hips until you are down with the fancy footwork.

Final notes before you get dancing

Keep your steps close and compact underneath your body so that you don’t lose balance and can keep up with the music.

That being said, the mambo is a fast and fun dance and having music alongside your rehearsal can help you nail the moves faster.

We taught this dance as if you are a solo dancer, but if you are lucky enough to have a partner, remember that you will be mirroring each other.

Typically the male starts moving backward on the right and the woman going forward (towards him) on the left.

Good luck and happy dancing!

How to Samba Dance

The Samba dance, one of the World’s most popular dance styles, originated from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil during the late 19th – early 20th century.

The history of the samba is rich yet humble. The dance has roots in early & former slaves within the region. By the turn of the century, it became influenced by other geographical locations such as Cuba and even Germany!

Bossa Nova would go on to spark a second renaissance of the samba during the 1950’s. In the 1970’s it was a worldwide sensation.

Today we find the samba throughout the World.

The 2/4 timed dance (and accompanying music) is easy to learn but hard to master. Making it a popular dance style for couples and, recently, exercise!

The Samba: Get Moving!

Samba requires a basic form from two individuals (leader and follower).

The form has both individuals near with the leader holding the followers left hand up high. The leader typically places their hand on the back of the follower. The follower reciprocating by placing theirs around the shoulder.

Samba is done by doing three steps every two beats.

The basic routine goes as follows:

  1. Left foot forward (leader)
  2. Right foot slightly back with weight on right side (follower)
  3. Slide right foot forward without touching the heel to the floor (leader)
  4. Slide left foot back without touching heel while weight on right side (follower)
  5. Shift weight back to right side and complete right footing (leader)
  6. Shift weight back to left with left foot now in place (follower)

It’s much like walking toward/away from another while moving those hips and body. Try using the following infographic for the basic steps.

The middle shifts in the dance routine can be thought as if you’re stepping over an object. You aren’t quite making full contact with the floor though you’ll want to do one fluid motion — this will take practice.

As you progress you can begin to add new moves to the basic styles:

  • Volta – A side-step/cross which follows the basic mirroring and bounces which give you and the partner a horizontal movement on the dance floor
  • Plait – A quick, quick, slow drive toward either leader or follower. Follow basic moves but do so rapidly.
  • Side steps – A basic one-two (like the volta) but without the bounce
  • Whisk – Sidestepping but bringing the leading foot behind you
  • Walk – Hold with two hands (extended), left leg extended behind (leader), right leg extended behind (follower) followed by the basic routine but with greater flair and distance in the legs

As for the finish?

Top it all off with a grand, dramatic fashion! Flourish the dance with your arms spread wide and head cocked back. Perfecto!

Practice Makes Perfect

The samba is a rather simplistic dance but requires a degree of commitment and practice on your behalf. There are structures to the routine yet freeform is welcome to add extra flair.

Consider joining a dance studio or take private lessons. Watch YouTube videos or follow a professional dancer on social media. Get on out there to events and nightlife gatherings which allow you to show those samba moves!

With time — you will perfect the moves and flow.

Practice makes perfect. This is one new routine you’re bound to love!

How to Tango Dance

What is the dance of love?

There is no competition. It can only be the Tango!

This sensual style of dance has an Argentinian heritage and is impressive to watch.

Tango dancing has been featured in many Hollywood movies including Take the Lead (Antonio Banderas) and Moulin Rouge (Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman).

While it can be a little tricky to master, there are some basic moves you can try at home.

1. It’s all about the music

For any dance routine to be successful it is essential you have the right music. Try putting on some Carli di Sarli and close your eyes. Let your body move freely and get familiar with the genre.

2. Master the Tango basics

The 8 count basic step is the first routine you need to work on. Get familiar with the saying “slow, slow, quick, quick, slow”. Each “slow” is worth 2 counts, and each “quick” is worth 1. Repeat this in your head until it sticks!

Start without a partner and see if you can remember what comes next without overthinking each move. Don’t forget to check your posture!

3. Know where to move your feet

When you start you might feel as though you have two left feet, but you will get the hang of it. We promise!

As there are two positions, your foot movement will depend on whether you are leading or following. The follower will ultimately be a mirror image of the leader.

How to lead:

  • Start with the left foot, moving forward one step.
  • Move forward with the right foot to meet the left
  • Take another step forward with the left foot
  • With the right foot, take a step to the right
  • Move the left feet to meet the right foot
  • Start again

If you are gradually going around in circles you are doing it right!

4. Grab a partner

As Tango is a passionate dance, you will eventually need to work with a partner. The right embrace will help to support your dancing and keep your moves flowing.

Maintain strong eye contact with your partner.

If you are leading, be confident. Make your moves strong so they can predict where you are going next.

If you are following, let your partner guide you.

How to embrace:

The leader places their left hand in the followers right hand. The leader then places their right arm around their partner with their hand sitting on the back. The follower does the opposite.

The correct placing of the second hand should be under the shoulder blades in a centered position. You should both feel comfortable and supported.

It may be awkward when beginning with a new partner, but just remember you are both there to dance!

5. Add some interest

Once you have worked out how to coordinate the basic “slow, slow, quick, quick slow” with your partner you can begin to mix it up. You can even start to add turns and dips to your routine.

The style of music allows you to move your hips and go with the flow. There is a reason the Tango is so popular! It is fun!

Once you have learned the basics you can explore other moves and routines by joining a dance class. Dancing is great fitness and a way to get out there and meet new people.

Have you tried the Tango?

How to Dance Salsa and Master Salsa Dancing

There’s really no secret to dancing like a pro. Like any other skill, if you want to be an expert at it, you first have to master the basics.

Salsa dancing is no exception.

That said, let’s break down the basic steps to salsa dancing and then we’ll move on to the fancier stuff.

Salsa Dance: Basic Steps

You’ll probably come across terms such as “New York Style” or “Colombian Style” over the course of your salsa dancing lessons. But since we’re focusing on the basics, we’ll just talk about On 1 or LA Style.

Now, when we say On 1, we’re referring to your initial movement. Simply put, this means starting on the first beat. Puerto Rican Style, on the other hand, starts on the second beat and is sometimes called On 2.

Here are the basic moves for On 1:

  1. Whether you’re a leader (L) or a follower (F), start with both of your feet together.
  2. 1st Beat/Count 1: L – With your left foot, step forward. F – With your right foot, step backward.
  3. 2nd Beat/Count 2: L – Rock back on your right foot. F – With your left foot, step forward.
  4. 3rd Beat/Count 3: L- With your left foot, step backward. Make sure to put the weight on the ball of your foot. F – With your right foot, step forward. Similar to L, use the ball of your foot.
  5. 4th Beat/Count 4: L – Let the heel of your foot carry the weight. Hold the beat. F – Do what L did in reverse – hold the beat, let your heel carry the weight.
  6. 5th Beat/Count 5: L – With your right foot, step back. F – With your left foot, step forward.
  7. 6th Beat/Count 6: L – On your left foot, rock forward. F – With your right foot, step backward.
  8. 7th Beat/Count 7: L- With your right foot, step forward. Move the weight on the ball of your foot. F – With your left foot, step backward. Place the weight on the ball of your foot.
  9. 8th Beat/Count 8: L – Without lifting your right foot, keep the weight on it. F – Place the weight on your heel. Hold the beat.

The Fancy Stuff

Once you’ve mastered the basic moves, you can try doing a solo turn. You can do this on the 2nd beat. Instead of rocking back on your right foot, you can do 180-degree turn.

You can also try turning right on the 6th beat or turning left on the 7th beat if you’re a follower. Remember to hold the beat on Count 8.

There’s also the cross body lead, where L allows F to cross in front on Count 5. L will step forward on Count 6. Again, hold the beat on Count 8.

And finally, if you really want to look like a salsa dance pro, you should learn how to do an open break. Keep at it until you’re ready to learn other salsa dance styles.

Want More Tutorials?

If you loved our step-by-step salsa tutorial, don’t forget to check our other posts. We also have easy to follow lessons on tango, the macarena, and more to keep you dancing like a pro.

Learn How to Do the Macarena

The macarena made the 90s a crazy fun dance fest.

Cruise ship gatherings, weddings, and nights on the town all became lasting memories when dancers joined together to do the macarena.

Sadly, a whole generation doesn’t know the joys of doing this dance. But don’t worry.

We’re bringing back the macarena!

The Perfect Dance to Bring Back

The macarena is:

  • easy to learn
  • high-energy
  • timeless.

The dance comes from the first track on the album A Mi Me Gusta by 90s duo Los Del Rio.

The song was a massive hit that took the world by storm.

The dance is still being done at a lot of events, but many young dancers don’t know how to fall in step with the fun.

It’s time for them to learn.

How to Get Your Macarena Groove On

Throughout the whole dance, keep the hips and shoulders moving in time to the music.

Add the following steps.

Extend Your Hands

Extend your right arm forward in front of your body, palm facing down.

Extend your left arm the same way.

Keep time with the music when performing both hand extensions.

Rotate Your Hands

Rotate your right hand to the ceiling.

Rotate your left hand to the ceiling.

Keep time with the music when performing both hand rotations.

Touch Your Shoulders

move your extended right hand to your left shoulder.

Move your extended left hand to your right shoulder.

Keep time with the music when performing both shoulder touches.

Touch Behind Your Head

Move your right hand behind your head, elbow facing out.

Move your left hand behind your head, elbow facing out.

Keep time with the music when performing both head touches.

Move Your Hands to Your Hips

Place your right hand on your left hip

Place your left hand on your right hip.

Keep time with the music when performing both hip touches.

Your Hand Are on Your Hips So Give Those Cheeks a Squeeze

Things switch up here.

Your hands are on your hips with your arms crossed low in front of your body.

Reach your right hand to your right tush cheek and give it a squeeze.

Reach your left hand to your left tush cheek and give it a squeeze.

Keep your hands in place on your cheeks then shake your hips.

Jump Up and Turn Around with a Clap

At this point in the song, you’ll hear the intensity building. That means it’s time to

  • do a light jump
  • turn clockwise in the air
  • land softly on your feet with a clap

and start again!

The song keeps playing until you jump your way back into the same direction you started in.

Don’t be afraid to show off during each turn.

Give Your Version Some Flair with Dancer Mag Tips

When doing the hand movements, keep the arms strong.

Make your hand placements matter. Never let the hands flap.

Here at Dancer Mag, we know a lot of tips that can make your version of the macarena unique.

Contact us to learn more!

How to Swing Dance and the Art of Swing Dancing

One of the most popular types of dancing is swing dancing.

This exciting dance form was born in the roaring 1920s at the peak of the jazz age in New York City. It’s a vibrant, fast paced and a lot of fun!

But there is one drawback… Many beginners can feel intimidated by attempting this style of dance and may feel out of their comfort zone.

Don’t worry, that’s why we have put together this short guide for you so that you can get into the swing of things and show off your swing dance moves.

Let’s get to it!

How to swing dance the charleston

Did you know that the charleston was actually a song that inspired the world-famous dance style? After appearing on a broadway show the rhythm spread its way off the stage and into the mainstream dance scene.

The Charleston looks like a complicated swing dance but in reality, the foundations of the move are incredibly simple and only require you to learn 4 feet positions.

Step by step swing dance

1. The starting point: Nice and simple, start with both feet together.

2. Step your left foot forward with the right foot slightly back, level the left heel with the right toes.

3. Step the right foot forward so that it’s heel is level with the left toes (this is the reverse of the previous step.)

4. Come back to the starting position.

5. Step the left foot back level with the heel of the right foot.

6. Step back to the starting position.

Congratulations, you have learned a basic charleston! Keep practicing these steps until they become second nature to you.

Initially, it may not look like you are dancing the charleston but after adding in some extra movements you will really look the part.

Bonus moves

To really bring this form of swing dance up to a jazz age quality you will need to add a few more ingredients.

The hop

Add a hopping or bouncing motion to each step to add to the energy of the dance.

The pivot

By pivoting your feet inwards and outwards slightly with each step you will have that famous shuffle movement that you have seen on old videos of the jazz age.

The kick

This is where things get serious. Replace the forward step motion with a short kick. Don’t feel like you have to kick every time or that a rigid pattern has to be followed. Pepper the swing dance with a kick here and there to your liking.

The arms

When you first start with the charleston it can be easy to be so focused on your feet that you forget to do something with your arms!

Just be natural and don’t be afraid to get them involved to follow your movements.

The partner

This is optional as the charleston is an excellent solo dance.

However, if you are dancing with a partner you can choose to stand opposite each other and mirror your movements on dance side by side and dance in unison (just be careful you don’t kick each other!)

Learn to dance

Dancermag exists to not only to become a better dancer but to help you fall in love with dancing even more.

For more great tips on how to swing dance or to learn some other types be sure to check out our dance guides.