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.