History of Jive

A lot of people believe that dancing is the hidden language of the soul and jive would be one of them. The dance is characteristic of a fast movement with a lot of feet movements. This includes bending, knee lifting, the rocking of the hips, and an overall energetic flow of movement that seems to invoke happiness.

Jive Dance

The jive is considered the fastest of all the Latin dances even if it has a lot of flicks and kicks in the routine. Not to mention that women incorporate a lot of twirling into their dance steps. It is also notable to point out that dancers performing jive rarely move around the floor and utilize only a small portion of the dance area for their energetic number.

At present, Jive is part of the repertoire of professional dancers and is included in the competitions such as the International Style Latin division. But how exactly did the Jive come to be one of the most entertaining forms of dance? Here is a brief history.

History of Jive

A lot of people would be quick to point out that the Jive started out as a variation of Jitterbug in the 1930s. It is a form of a swing dance that a lot of people knew at the time. Surprisingly, not a lot of people would know that the Jive actually originated in the United States.

It was during the 1930s when African-Americans started to dance the Jive. As many of the patterns would remind you of an east coast swing dance, it is danced to staggering speeds of up to 176 beats per minute. Though there are times where it is slowed down to about 128 to 160 beats per minute.

Person responsible for the Jive

Cab Calloway is a singer and a band leader and is considered to be one of the most popular performers during the 1930s. He was the one who first demonstrated the Jive and the United States dancing scene caught on. Since then, it was influenced by a lot of other dance routines such as the rock & roll, Lindy hop, and even the Boogie.

It is important to realize that in the United Kingdom, Jive is the term used to describe the dance routine of Swing. Because of the origin and Latin application, the Jive is usually grouped with Latin dances during formal and professional competitions. Though the dance is usually down with Western music.

Jive evolving

Dancers had a way of incorporating different dance steps in routines all to improve their showmanship. They would add in a few jazz or even tap steps into Jive and some would even have acrobatic routines in their dance number. It also helped that as American GIs poured into Europe during World War II, people saw more and more of the Jive. Fast forward to the 1960s and the Jive formally became part of international dance competitions as a form of Latin dance.

Jive costume


As the dance requires fast and precise movements, the costumes were put together to help dancers perform with ease. The women had attractive presentable dresses with flowing skirts. The men, on the other hand, would be seen wearing lightweight pants to keep them cool.