Jive Dance Styles

Jive Dance Styles

Modern Jive, sometimes called French Jive is a dance style that that originated in the 1980s. It derives from Swing, Lindy Hop and Rock and Roll and others, the main innovation being to simplify the footwork.Modern Jive is split into a wide number of essentially similar styles (often for commercial reasons) including:

  • LeRoc
  • Ceroc
  • leJive
  • Mo'jive
  • Swing Jive
  • Jazzjive
  • Swing Roc
  • Blitz (dance)

While all these three forms of dance have Swing and Rock-and-Roll moves in common, moves from many forms of dance including Salsa and Tango may be included, according to the specific style and even the particular dance teacher.Similarly, identical dance moves often have different names in each style, and different signals to indicate the next move. For example the Lindy Hop Swing Out is similar to a First Move in Ceroc. Despite this there is rarely a problem dancing with people who have been taught another styles, at least with the less advanced moves. Because of it's ecclectic nature there are hundreds of moves and variations that can be learnt.

Modern Jive move descriptions can be found at a number of sites, including:

Modern Jive is generally danced to music with 4 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 styles may concentrate on particular musical styles, such as swing.

How does jive differ from swing?

Characteristic

Jive Swing (Lindy-hop)
Music Any music with a beat, 100-180 bpm 2/4 or 4/4 time Always swing music (8 beats), can be much faster
Formality/precision Only the arms defined Steps, posture and arms defined
Footwork Usually none! One step per half count 6 beat (rock step triple step triple step) or 8 beat (rock step triple step step step triple step) or Charleston
Speed One turn in 8 beats approx One turns in 12 beats approx
Basic move? No basic, although man-spins and shoulder slides are "fill-in" moves Yes, the basic triple-step
Posture More Upright More bent
Interpretation Limited by the music and opportunity at the speed of the dance Breaks and mood part of music and time to interpret.  There are many standard specific moves for breaks.  A false happy-clappy-smiley sort of world - each dance is "acting".
Move type The synchronisation between partners comes from an in-out compression and tension. Suddenly blocking and changing direction common Generally more twirly and smooth with synchronisation on the rock-step
Difficulty Easier than Swing! Needs perseverance - difficult learning curve
Partnership Always partnered Sometimes side by side or mirrored

There is some snobbery around, both from Lindy-hoppers looking down on jivers, as some jivers look down on line-dancers! Lindy-hoppers would argue that the music jivers dance to leaves no room for interpretation, one just goes from one move to the next. Whilst jivers do seem in general to interpret the music less so than Lindy-hoppers, if that is what they are comfortable with, then why not! Jive is not a well defined dance. That is deliberate so everybody with a little sense of rhythm can do it. A little effort can give lots of satisfaction in jive. Other dances take much more effort to get anywhere - the learning curve is much steeper, steeper than some people can be bothered with. They thus serve different audiences.