What is Street Jive?

Street Jive

Anyone familiar with Modern jive in all its forms (Ceroc, Leroc, Swing Jive) will recognise Street Jives(SJ) influences. SJ has similarities and differences that make it both easier and more challenging.

In typical modern jive, the emphasis is on what you do with your arms, and the rest is up to you. This has an important advantage. It makes the dance simpler and quicker to learn. The practitioner has a less challenging task whilst learning the ropes, and for men at least this is very appealing. There is however a downside.

Generally skills that are not taught are not practiced. Neglecting footwork in the taught material, results in neglected footwork on the dancefloor. How many times have you seen someone dancing jive from the waist up with hardly any movement below? It diminishes the dance somehow. This is SJ's appeal and challenge.

I try to take the basic framework of moves of Jive and make them more interesting by encouraging participants to add and develop their own style in order to make the dance their own. I will at least teach my students what they can do with their feet, their knees their hips and shoulders but if what emerges from their own imagination is something novel then all is well. An example of what I mean might help to make myself clear.

I remember sitting at a table with half a dozen ladies at a working mens club ten years ago watching them watch the male dancers on the floor. Their unanimous vote of best dancer went to the one man who seemed to have mastered jive for the whole of his body. Okay in this case it was just the pendulum action of his hips that so entertained the female audience. It took me a while to realise what all the fuss was about.

SJ is just jive with some optional extras and omissions: