How to Jive

N.B. Learning to dance by reading a text is not always the easiest and most straightforward way ! So these guidelines have been kept as simple as possible (it would have been unproductive to go into more comprehensive and technical detail). Below are just the basic steps. Click on the links below for the guidelines to 3 popular jive patterns.

THE BASIC STEPS

The lady and man stand facing each other. The man’s left hand holds the lady’s right hand. The hand-hold should be loose at all times to allow freedom of movement. As in all types of dancing the man leads and the lady follows his movements.

The following patterns are based on a simple 6-beat – slow (2 beats), slow (2), quick (1 beat), quick (1) – sequence: The man leads with his left foot. He takes a small step to the left [slow], then transfers his weight in a small step to the right [slow]. He then takes 2 quick steps, backsteps with the left then forward with the right [quick, quick]. The 6-beat pattern then re-commences with the man leading again with his left foot.

The lady does the same but mirrors her partner’s movements. She takes a small step with her right foot, transfers her weight to the left, then takes 2 quick steps, a short step back on the right then forward with the left. Once this is mastered – and you’ll find it is easier than it may appear in text – the dancers can concentrate on what is really important when dancing the jive – keeping to the beat of the music and putting on a real show.

After you try the above steps if you still need help on them send an S.O.S. e-mail to Co-op-Jive !

ROUND THE WORLD

The man raises the lady’s hand above their heads. She then dances around the man in a flashy way – it is really up to her how she does this, she may kick out her legs or wave her arms. The important thing is to be flamboyant. The man continues to face forward and dances on the spot – he may do little kicks or twist on his feet. Once the lady has gone full circle (or maybe after circling twice) the couple can return to the basic six-beat sequence.

THE AMERICAN SPIN

Once again the lady’s hand is raised (on the first slow step of the six-beat routine). This time she spins around on the spot with the weight on her right foot (on the second slow step). A simple movement which can look very effective.

CHANGING PLACES

Here as the name suggests the man takes up the lady’s position and vice versa. The movement should be completed in the first 2 slow steps of the basic six-beat routine. The man moves into the lady’s position turning clockwise and raises the lady’s arm. The lady moves across turning in an anti-clockwise direction. The movement is completed with the 2 quick steps (backwards then forwards) and the dancing continues.

Good Luck!