The Jive originated in the United States from African-Americans in the early 1930s and was initially presented to the public in 1934 by Cab Calloway, an American jazz singer. It is a lively and uninhibited variation of the Jitterbug, a form of Swing dance. Glenn Miller introduced his own Jive dance in 1938 with the song “Doin’ the Jive,” which never caught on. The Jive is one of the five International Style Latin dances. In competition, Jive danced at a speed of 176 beats per minute. In some cases, speed is reduced to between 128 and 160 beats per minute.
Many of the Jive’s basic patterns are similar to those of the East Coast Swing. The only major difference is the highly syncopated rhythm of the Triple Steps (Chasses).
The Jive is a very happy, boppy, energetic dance, with plenty of knee-lifting, bending, and rocking of the hips. The fastest of the International Latin dances, Jive incorporates lots of kicks and flicks, even twirling the woman, and doesn’t move around the dance floor like other dances. Although Jive dancers may be moving their feet haphazardly in every direction, the feet are well-controlled under the body with the knees close together. The Jive and the East Coast Swing share many figures and the same music style and tempo. The basic look and feel of Jive are lots and lots of energy, with the legs portraying a pumping action. Both the East Coast Swing and the basic Jive consist of two triple steps and a rock step. The Jive differs in that the count begins with the rock step, counted “1,2.” The two triple steps are counted “3 and 4” and “5 and 6.”