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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Jive
Powell and Astaire doing Jive Kicks
Streetswings dance History Arvhives - Jive Swing Dance page

    The Jive Dance was first popular in the 1940's. The Jive was originally the European's (U.K.) "Tamed" version of the American Jitterbug and/ or East Coast Swing during WWII (who keeps trying to re-sell us something we already have.) Cab Calloway's "Hepsters Jive Talk", made the term Jive be associated with the Swing Dance. During the war, much of this Jive Talk was being spread around, even in Europe. The Jive Speak, The Swing music, The Jitterbug dance, the coolness all lead to the Europeans seeing American Swing as the American Jive. (Note: Jive as a word was around a long time before it was a the dance, it was no relation).

   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, (bummer!).

    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.

Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

USO 1940s n/a Swing Dance
       

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music preview clip

Jive Titled Music

Black Thunder Swing A Nickels Worth Of Jive Video Clip not available at this time 47th. Street Jive
Cabin in the Sky (Swing Movie) G.I. Jive
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Are You Hep To The Jive (Cab Calloway)
Chick Webb and Ella Savoy (Swing)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Doin' the Jive (Glenn Miller) 1937
Daddy-O (Swing Movie)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
G.I. Jive (Johnny Mercer)
Groovie Movie (Swing Movie)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Hit That Jive, Jack
Hellzapoppin' (Swing Movie Poster) 2  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Java Jive - Manhattan Transfer
HI-DE-HO (Cab Calloway)   Video Clip not available at this time $ Jive - Page One - Hepsters Dictionary (Cab)
Hot Mikado (Swing Play)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Jive After Five (Carl Perkins)
Juke Girl (Swing Movie)   Video Clip not available at this time Jive Stomp (Ellington)
Keep Punchin' (Swing Movie)   Video Clip not available at this time Jive Stomp (Ellington)
Micheux Swing (Swing Art Print)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Jukebox Jive (Rubettes) 1974
Prisoner Of Swing (Swing Movie)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Jumpin' Jive (Andrews Sisters)
Private Buckeroo (Swing Movie)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Jumpin' Jive (Cab Calloway) w/ Nicholas Bros.
Rock, Rock, Rock (ECS Swing Movie)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Jumpin' Jive (Lionel Hampton)
Stormy Weather (Bojangles, Horne)  
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Killin' Jive - (Cats & The Fiddle)
The Girl Can't Help It (Swing Movie)   
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
No Jive (Buddy Rich) non Jive dance
    Video Clip not available at this time No Name Jive - Glen Gray
   
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Tired of You Jive (B.B. King)
    Video Clip not available at this time Yoddelin' Jive - Hughie Prince

Night Clubs

Theatres / Contests

Locations

Savoy Ballroom (1950s-NY) Harvest Moon Ball Championships n/a
     

Video Clips (pop-up)

Films / Music / Soundies

Television

Ballets / Stage

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1939 - Jumpin' Jive (Cab Calloway) n/a n/a
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - A Little Jive is Good For You    
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
1941 - Jumpin' Jive        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1942 - Bli-Blip (Marie Bryant & Paul White Jive)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1942 - Get Hip to Love (Jivin' Jacks and Jills -Jitterbug)        
Video Clip not available at this time 1942 - Jive Comes to the Jungle        
Video Clip not available at this time 1942 - Jivin' Jam Session (Louis Da Pron Tap's)      

Publications

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1943 - Java Jive - Ink Spots       9/1943 Dance Mag (Jitter-Jive)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1943 - Jive Junction (Lindy, WCS)            
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1943 - Jiveroo (Henry Day & Delis - Eccentric)            
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1943 - Jungle Jamboree (Junge Jivesters) no jive            
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1944 - Goldilock's and the Jivin' Bears (WB Animation).            
Video Clip not available at this time 1944 - Jordan Jive            
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1944 - Jungle Jive (animation) boogie woogie            
Video Clip not available at this time 1944 - Junior Jive Bombers            
Video Clip not available at this time 1944 - Sonny Dunham's Jive Busters            
Video Clip not available at this time 1945 - Jive Busters            
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1946 - Jivin' in Be-Bop (mainly freestyle /Jazz)            
Video Clip not available at this time 1946 - Jivin' The Blues            
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1950 - Jitterbug Jive (Popeye)            
Video Clip not available at this time Jive - The dance of the Rising Generation (w/ British Lindy Hoprs)            
               
               

Other Related Dances of the time...

Apple Jacks Charleston Jazzjive LeRoc Suzy Q
Ballin' The Jack Collegiate Dances Jitter-Jive Lindy Hop Swing Jive
Boogie-Woogie East Coast Swing Jitterbug mo'jive Swing Roc (M. Jive)
Bop European Rock and Roll Just Jivin' (M. Jive) Modern Jive (=M.Jive) Texas Tommy
Blitz (M. Jive) French Jive Latin Shag Truckin'
Breakaway Hand Jive LeJive Skip Jive West Coast Swing
CeRoc        

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

British Lindy Hoppers 'Killer Joe' Piro n/a
Jungle Jivesters?    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title

Author

Date Published

Publisher

n/a n/a n/a n/a
                       

Musicians

Singers

Apparel

Poets / Writers

Duke Ellington Andrew Sisters $ Mo'Jive T's n/a
Roy Milton Band Cab Calloway    
Most 1950's artists            

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Links

Ballroom Europe Kick Ball Change U.S.O Mo'Jive - UK
Dance Sport Hitch Kicks Rock and Roll   Modern Jive - UK
Ebonics Jive Speak Rockabilly    
         

Other...

n/a