So technically, (no flames please!) The Jive dance is European, NOT American. However, it did have it's roots in America. Today, (in the USA) it is taught by the ballroom dance studios only in the Latin (Rhythm) section. It is basically a backwards or rock first "East Coast Swing," with an exaggerated bounce and kicks using a Latin flair. However, it is a fun swing form to learn, and is fun to watch :P
In 1937 Glenn Miller released the song "Doing the Jive" which tagged the Word Jive with the dance we know as Jitterbug/swing.
Most Europeans do what they call the "American Jive" a name that came briefly from WWII when the Jitterbug was called Jitterbug-Jive. When the war ended, the term Jitterbug-Jive ended as well in the States but the Europeans however, kept using the term "Jive" without the American part attached, which in reality was always their version of what is done here in the states, (which is way off -- "A bunch of Jive", we do not do Jive anywhere here, except in Ballroom circles"). Jive was also a slang term used by musicians to describe a certain
type of "jamming:" the Blues/Jazz/Boogie Woogie etc. (Jive = Bullsh*t), Faking It, example is: "Don't hand me that Jive, don't Jive me.
- In this clip (on the right,) Josephine Bradley introducing the Jive as well as comparing and teaching it to Europe.
- Two things ... 1) in Bradley's words are that Amercan Jitterbug needs to be tamed and the other is
- 2) That the Girl starts on her Left Foot and Boy starts with his Right foot. (the two "four counts" she uses are an eight count ie:1-2-3&4|| 5-6-7&8.) This Jive looks actually cool, don't know where it went wrong over the years.
Another reason that the ballroom associations use Jive is it can not compete with the other street versions (Lindy, Jitterbug, WCS, Push, Whip, Shag) taught by independent studios / teachers. They fear they will lose that business to the independants if they "promote it". However, they are wrong, many people look for swing dancing and would learn just as much from them as they do now, and probably would much more. The ballroom vision is dance being called a sport (dancesport) and Ballroom being possibly held in the Olympics - which is fuel for one 'international swing style' ... YOU GUESSED IT, it's called the Jive that all countries can use,
The Modern Jive or "French Jive" in the UK was introduced In the 1980's to make it easier to teach people to do swing in the clubs. The dance is taught with no footwork, just a walking of the patterns which can be many. The names of modern Jive usually come from the club or association that taught the version being done and usually leads into a more structured form of American swing dance or Ballroom Jive as time goes on. It is similar to what people do here in the states before they learn a structured form of swing which we call just 'winging it' or "make it up as you go", which has no form, lead or follow skills etc., although in the Modern Jive it is taught with patterns, lead and follow, timing rather than just the 'winging it' above takes over, so there is some structure to modern Jive in a sense, more than one might think. The Modern Jive music is similar to the West Coast Swing format of dancing to all styles of music rather than just one specific genre/era with their dances or socials being called Freestyles.
In the clip on the left a young Nick and Debbie do a "Ballroom Jive" in 1982 at a swing contest at Happy Daze Disco. As we can see, Jive does have it's moments. Nick and Debbie do a great job here, despite the floor being to small for them. Nick and Debbie went on to become a very talented, well decorated and awesome BALLROOM dance team.
Note: There is a small but growing faction of the U.K. and other countries, that do West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop etc. Nevertheless, the American Ballroom community needs to update their syllabus and use real swing (Lindy, West Coast, Carolina Shag, Push/Whip), to that which the MAIN USA POPULATION does here in the states, rather than try to force the world (Ballroom Studios and Comps only Teaching/ Competiting Jive) to do this FOREIGN version of a dance that was born and bred in America .... swing ("which hardly anyone does Jive here in the states ... for good reasons.") The Ballroom community has gotten lazy over the years and is too focused on a universal International style, (like the Euro), or cookie-cutter swing, out of only Seven / Ten dances. These real forms of swing "can and are more than sophisticated enough" when done well to include into their syllabus, but we Americans don't control the Ballroom world (aka European Ballroom). Jive is an empty, fake, weak form of swing dance when compared to the others !!! (note: please don't get me wrong, I like Jive for what it is, I just don't need/want it, as I know various, real swing styles and a few others)... My Rant's over, ... nuff said! : (
- Some Guiness Jive records:
- Gordon Lightfoot and Kathleen Fowler - 4/22/1960 -- danced the Jive 40 hours non stop.
- Terry Ratcliffe and Christina Woodcroft - 5/28/1965 -- danced the Jive 40 hours non stop.