Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum—
Introduction To Jive
(aka East Coast Swing, Triple Swing)
History of Jive :During the 1920s - 1940s, a new type of music, “jazz”, swept the land and people wanted to dance to it. “Swing” dancing was born in many different forms. In the 1930’s, the “Lindy Hop” and “Collegiate Shag” were popular. In the 1940’s there was the “Jitterbug” and the “Boogie-Woogie” and in the 1950’s came “Rock and Roll”. Ballroom studios eventually codified the “East Coast Swing” or “Jive” which borrows from many of these variants. East Coast Swing is also called “Triple Swing”.
General Characteristics:Most basic East Coast Swing figures follow a six-beat pattern as follows: 1, 2, 3a4, 5a6. The first two steps on beats one and two are often a Rock and Recover. In the “3a4” and the “5a6” we have steps that are twice as fast as the first and second steps (the 3a and the 5a) and since these groupings come three steps at a time, they are referred to as “triples”.
You can add a slight bounce when you dance the East Coast Swing. For instance, in a triple such as “3a4”, soften your knees and lower slightly when taking the first step of the triple, straighten the knees and rise on the second step of the triple, and then soften the knees again on the third step of the triple before rising back to normal height.
Most figures begin with lead foot free, man’s left (L) and lady’s right (R), and end with lead foot free.
Figures:Chasse Left & Right: Triple step to man’s left (L/R, L) and then triple step to man’s right (R/L, R). Note that lady’s footwork is opposite (i.e., R/L, R, L/R, L ;)
Basic Rock: Start with a rock apart and recover, then chasse left & right.
Fallaway Rock: Rock behind with man turning ¼ left face and lady turning ¼ right face, and then recover to face partner again. Then chasse left and right.
Right Turning Fallaway: Do a Fallaway Rock except turn right face half way around as you do the chasse left and right. The man maneuvers in front of the lady as the couple turns right face.
Left Turning Fallaway: Do a Fallaway Rock except turn left face half way around as you do the chasse left and right. The lady picks up in front of the man as the couple turns left face.
Windmill: Rock apart and recover, then turn left face (counterclockwise) half way around as you chasse left & right. Hold both of partner’s hands in Butterfly Position during the Windmill.
American Spin: With lead hands joined, rock apart L (W apt R), recover, sd/cl. On this beat 3 of the first measure, give a little tuck with lead hand, moving it between your bodies and turning the woman just a little LF. On beat 4, finish the chasse by stepping side L (W sd R and spins full RF to face). Finish with a Chasse Right.
American Spin Both Spin: With lead hands joined, rock apart, recover palm-to-palm, sd/cl tucking a little RF (W LF), side spinning LF (W RF) full turn to face. Finish with a Chasse Right.
Tim Eum has prepared many Round Dance Tips for Calls 'n' Cues, WASCA, for his weekly Rocket Rounds email reports, and for other publications. DRDC is grateful for permission to collect and reprint. A Tim Eum archive.
If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.
If you are not a member of DRDC, do consider joining. The group sponsors triquarterly weekends with great dancing and teaching, and the newsletter is one of the most informative available.
Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.
Aditional articles and dance helps by
Sandi & Dan Finch
Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)
Go beyond this site. Find other references on our Sources and Links pages.