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The jive is a dance style that originated in the United States from African-Americans in the early 1930s. The name of the dance, jive, comes from the name of a form of African-American Vernacular slang, popularized in the 1930s by the publication of a dictionary by Cab Calloway, the famous jazz bandleader and singer.[1] In competition ballroom dancing, the jive is often grouped with the latin-inspired ballroom dances, though its roots are based on swing dancing and not latin dancing.

Jive evolved from the popular American dances of the 1930’s such as Jitterbug, Boogie-Woogie, Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Shag, Rock “n” Roll etc. Eventually all of these styles of dance would be coupled under the Hat of “Jive”, but in the 1940’s a combination of these styles was given the name “Jive” and the dance was born.

During World War II American G.I’s took the dance to Europe where it soon became very popular, especially among the young. It was new, fresh, and exciting. It was adapted by the French and became very popular in Britain and eventually in 1968 it was adopted as the fifth Latin dance in International competitions. The modern form of ballroom jive is a very happy and boppy dance, with many flicks & kicks. The Jive music is written in 4/4 time and should be played at a tempo of about 38 – 44 bars per minute. A spot dance not moving along the Line of Dance. Relaxed, springy action is the basic characteristic of the International Style Jive with lots of flicks and kicks in the advanced style.

Today, the Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. In competition it is danced at a speed of 176 beats per minute, although in some cases this is reduced to between 128 and 160 beats per minute.

Many of its basic patterns are similar to these of the East Coast Swing with the major difference of highly syncopated rhythm of the Triple Steps (Chasses), which use straight eighths in Jive and hard swing in ECS.


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