Dance Spotlight: The Jive!

September 15, 2018

One of the beauties of ballroom dance is that a once-popular style never needs to go away. It can continue in its original form, or it can grow and change and remain a fixture among savvy dancers.

Which brings us to jive.

Once upon a time, this lively style of dance was known as the jitterbug. It was extremely well-known in the early part of the 20th century as a swing dance that had roots in the African-American community. Cab Calloway made the dance popular in 1934 and his band essentially gave the dance its name. It has much in common with the Lindy Hop and East Coast Swing. American GIs took the dance to Europe during World War II, where it caught on.

And now it’s jive.

It’s lively and fun, energetic and a real workout for the hips and legs. It doesn’t wander all over the dance floor, yet the feet never stop moving. We are talking as many as 200 beats per minute.

It’s jive. And you’re going to love it.

The music – generally swing but suitable to jump blues – speaks to the peppy pace of jive. As do the basic steps, which fit a six-beat pattern. It is grouped in Latin dance in international competition and it has some African roots, but its entrée to the world began in America.

The basic dance steps are much like those of East Coast Swing, though the rhythm can be different. The six-count pattern is derived from East Coast Swing and it’s a popular one to learn because it is, at heart, fairly simple and can be danced to slow, medium or fast tempos (up to 176 beats per minute). Another great aspect of this dance is its close relationship with so many others – if you learn East Coast Swing, you can dance jive, or the Charleston or the Lindy Hop. That’s flexibility!

You’ll have a lot of fun with moves. How many dances have the American spin, throwaway, comb, chicken walks, arm breakers, and jig walks? That’s some jive talkin’ there.

Your local Fred Astaire Dance Studio can teach you any and all of the jive dances. All you need to do is stop by, chat with an instructor and sign up for lessons that will get you movin’ and groovin’, rockin’ and reelin’, jivin’ with the feeling.

At Fred Astaire studios, we pride on ourselves in our ability to make every form of ballroom dance fun and easy to learn. You will enjoy working with our highly-qualified teachers, expanding your dance repertoire and dancing with the other students at our practice parties and events.

Stop in now. Learn some jive dancing. Give yourself an exciting, new social outlet that will make you look like a hep cat. Did we just say hep cat???

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