Jive is a fast swing that requires a lot of bounce and energy. In a Latin Ballroom competition, Jive is the last dance performed out of all five Latin dances. Having to do Jive last is a true test of stamina. After competing and performing as a Latin Ballroom dancer for ten years, I know first hand that if there’s any dance that will get your heart racing, it’s the Jive! The Jive not only gets your heart pumping, but it’s also super fun. These basic steps can be danced alone or with a partner. When dancing alone like I am here, you can really get your arms moving for a full body workout.
I will demonstrate 4 Jive moves that we can eventually build on to create more intricate steps and routines to practice. The lady’s step will be shown here which will always begin with the right foot. The only difference between the man’s part in these steps is that he will begin on the left foot, mirroring everything the lady does. When watching the back view, you may do exactly as I am doing as the follower and when watching the front view, you may mirror me if you want to practice dancing the lead part. Jive can be danced to any song with an 8 count, which is most songs. I’ve found that the easiest way to learn Jive is by saying the actual steps to each count of music in your head. Have fun following along to these 4 basic Jive moves and before you know it, you’ll be working up a sweat.
1. Rock Step, Triple Step– In Jive, you want to always keep your knees soft and inner thighs engaged. Your core will always be activated as you use your abs to shape your torso in the direction your body is going. For the first rock step on the right foot, place your weight back onto the heel so that the hip rotates. Replace the weight back onto the left leg. Triple step to the right, using your torso to lean into the right side as if your body was a pendulum and then lean into the left when you triple step back to the left. Jive is characterized by high knee actions so use your abs to pick your knees up in every step you make.
2. Kick, Kick, Triple Step– Jive is notorious for fast leg kicks. The key to Jive kicks is accenting the rebounce rather than just the kick out. Using your abs to quickly pull the knee back up after a kick is what differentiates a Jive kick from any other. For this move, pick the knee up and kick your right leg down towards the ground slightly in front and to the left of your body. Kicking in this direction is imperative when dancing with a partner so that you do not kick each other. Rebounce the right knee back up and kick down to your right side. Then repeat the triple step basic to the right and left before doing the kicks on the left leg. The standing leg continues to have a small bounce to it with each kick so that you are never at rest. To really increase the cardio here, kick your butt with your heel every time your leg rebounces before and after a kick.
3. Kick Ball Change– The same concept applies here with the kick. Once you kick your right leg down towards the ground in front of you, place the ball of the right foot on the floor and then replace your weight onto the left to complete the step. Keep your knees soft and keep repeated the kick ball change for 8 counts. To make things more fun, you can travel in a circle with this step for another 8 counts.
4. Up and Down Twists– This step will really get you to use your obliques. Go up on the balls of both feet as you rotate your knees to the right for one count. For the second count rotate your knees to the left and go down lower to the ground by bending your knees more. Your torso must stay square facing your partner so you need to use your abs to get a good twist from the waist down.
Once you have all 4 moves down, you can combine them into a short routine that can be repeated as many times as you’d like. For a real cardio challenge, start practicing the dance to faster music. I was already working up a sweat from doing these videos to this slower jive song. For maximum cardio benefits, keep your bounce going, arms moving, and knees high. Remember, practice makes progress!
Also by Crystal: 5 Dynamic Stretches for Long Lean Legs
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Video: Crystal Chin