Encyclopedia of Dance: Jive


Clockwork and cheerful jive will not leave anyone indifferent! Do you want to learn how to dance it? Don’t waste your time — jive requires a lot of effort!

Jive (jive) is a type of swing with free movements. This is a rather fast, energetic Latin American dance, which includes many elements — throws. Jive is one of the most difficult ballroom dances. With its incendiary movements and energetic music, the dance creates a very bright spectacular spectacle, bringing great pleasure not only to the performers, but also to the audience.

The history of the origin of the dance

The history of the jive begins in the 19th century. This dance originates from the ritual dances of African blacks. There is also a version that the jive is a dance of the Seminole Indians of Florida, and it was performed around a captive pale-face or the victim’s skull.

During the Second World War, the jive came to Europe and immediately gained great popularity among young people. But for quite a long time this dance was banned in dance halls because of its characteristic athletic movements, jumps and risky climbs. It was because of these prohibitions that the jive was mainly performed only at original competitions and dance evenings.

Jive was recognized as a competitive dance only at the beginning of 1880. This led to the emergence of classes and schools for training, official competitions. Over the years, jive has gone through significant development stages and has become one of the most popular ballroom dances in the world.

Jive, in the history of its existence, has changed and improved many times:

  1. in 1910 from ragtime to swing
  2. in the 1920s to Lindy Hope
  3. in the 1940s to rock
  4. in the 1950s k boogie
  5. in the 1960s to be bop

And only after the “beep bop era” did the dance begin to take on the outlines of modern jive.

What is jive?jive

The word «jive» is similar to the South African word «jev» — «to speak disparagingly». But in the American translation it sounds like «mockery», which is very consistent with the nature of the dance.

Jive is a rather difficult dance to perform, requiring excellent physical shape. It differs significantly both in character and technique from other Latin American dances. A fast, energy-consuming jive must be performed with great impact to be effective.

Early versions of the dance consisted of two parts:

  • pair representation
  • basic fast composition

The modern version from the first seconds of the dance is a fast rhythm and very energetic, rather graceful movements and gestures. Jive can be compared to real bright fireworks.


Today, jive is performed in two styles: international and swing. Quite often you can find a jive form in which both styles are combined in different figures. There are a lot of complex elements of Rock and Roll and Jaterbug in this dance.

Jive Features

The modern version of jive includes basic steps that consist of a fast syncopated chassé. The hips are counted «and» after each step. Body weight is in front in all steps. All dance steps are done from the toe. During the chassé, the foot of the foot from which the step is taken rises to the level of the knee of the supporting left leg, while the right leg rises also strongly and the illusion of «lunar» steps is created, while the dancers seem weightless, as if they are floating. The jive is played at a fast and very fast pace. The dance score is 1-2, 3 and 4, 3 and 4 with an emphasis on the score 2 and 4. The time signature is 4/4 and the tempo varies from 40 to 46 beats per minute.

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