Modern Jive

Modern Jive

Modern Jive is a dance style derived from Swing, Lindy Hop, Rock and Roll, Salsa and others, the main innovation being to simplify the footwork - by removing syncopation such as chasse. The term French Jive is occasionally used instead, reflecting the origins of the style. The word modern distinguishes it from ballroom Jive.

Modern Jive is a male-led dance.



Modern Jive was developed in the United Kingdom during the 1980s at three London-based clubs, 'Ceroc', 'Le Roc' and 'Cosmopolitan Jive'. The style was based upon a type of Jive that had evolved in France in the aftermath of World War II, when American dances such as the Jitterbug had been popular due to the presence of the American military (but the French were entirely unable to comprehend).[1][2]


The term Modern Jive was originally coined in 1990 by Christine Keeble on a programme called 'How To Jive', designed to promulgate this new style of jive. At that time the dance was known variously as Ceroc, LeRoc or French Jive, although Ceroc was the original. Christine Keeble used the term 'modern jive' to encompass all of these names.

The term 'modern jive' was adopted, despite the absence of chasse or triple step (typical of "real" jive forms). Various clubs promalgating the name as the dance spread out from its two earliest centres of London and Bristol and it later became accepted as a generic term for the dance. It is now used by a large number of independent teachers across the UK and internationally. It is also used by many of the franchise operators, although these companies still prefer to use their own branding.


In the English-speaking world, Modern Jive classes and events are often franchised or run under various brand names - including,DanceJive, ViBe Dance Nights "Revolution Dance" Northwest, Ceroc, LeRoc, Mo'Jive, Cloud9 | Modern Jive in Bath & Bristol], Jive Nation, South Coast Modern Jive The Thing, and others.[3] Beyond the bounds of the English-speaking world, modern jive has still to make an immpact. In Europe there are a number of Modern Jive institutions notably PARTYdanceSTYLE in Poland and M-Jive in Germany which are slowly bringing the dance style to a wider audience.

Following a different but parallel evolutionary path, dance styles such as Discofox (found in Germany and Switzerland) and Bugg (found in Sweden) can also be considered to be forms of Modern Jive and may be indistinguishable from those found in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.[4]

Dance moves

While all these forms of Modern Jive have Swing and Rock-and-Roll dance moves in common, moves from many forms of dance including Salsa and Tango may be included, according to the specific franchise or even the particular dance teacher. Because of its eclectic nature there are hundreds of moves and variations that can be learnt, introduced or adapted.[5]

Although dance routines are developed and rehearsed for competitions, Modern Jive is most frequently danced freestyle, providing additional challenges to more advanced dancers in terms of musical interpretation and expression.

Move naming

Different franchises or teachers often have different names for identical moves, and different signals to indicate the next move. The Man's Spin taught one venue may be identical to the Man's Pass taught by a different venue. Due to its origins, Modern Jive moves may be similar to moves from other dance styles; the First Move Triple Steps in Modern Jive is similar to the Lindy Hop Jockey, for example. Despite this there is rarely a problem dancing with people who have been taught other styles, at least with the less advanced moves.

Lead Variations

Like many Western partner dances, Modern Jive is most often a male-led dance.

Modern Jive is also occasionally danced by three dancers, with one lead and two followers (a variant known as "Double Trouble" in the UK or "Triples" in Australia/New Zealand).

Also it can be danced with a change of male lead with one female follow, known in the UK as Tag.

Step footwork vs Rock footwork

Many of the Australian offshoots of ceroc transitioned to a footwork coined "Step" in about 1995.

The original "rock" footwork specifices a step back with either foot, transferring the weight to the moved foot on each of the odd numbered beats (1, 3, 5, 7) The moved foot is returned to its starting position on the even beats. (2, 4, 6, 8).

"Step" footwork specifies that the leader takes a step back with the right foot on the half beat or "and" count and "closes", stepping backwards with the left foot on the numbered count. "closing" implies that the feet end up close together. On the next count the leader steps forward with their right foot on the "and" count and closes with their left on the numbered count. The follower mirrors this by stepping back on their left and "closing" with their right and then stepping forward with their left and closing with their right.

Rock footwork was originally offered as a "beginner" footwork in Australia. More recently it has been dropped. The reason for it being dropped is pedagogical. The problem appeared to be that the transition from beginner to intermediate dancer (so-called) meant one had to "unlearn" one and then "re-learn" another rhythm and weight change components of the dance. Unfortunately, the "rock" footwork is actually more suited to fast music (leaning towards "advanced" dancers) as it reduces the number of weight changes required during any rhythm unit. Thus, the preference for "step" footwork has reduced the "terminal velocity" modern jive can be danced at - because it forces a weight change every beat.


Modern Jive is generally danced to music with four beats to the bar (Quadruple or Common time), from latest chart hits to big band music and everything between, in a wide variety of tempos from slow to very fast. Some teachers or franchises may concentrate on particular musical styles, such as swing.[6][7][8] Music is typically between 108 and 160 bpm. Experienced jivers occasionally dance to music outside those broad constraints.[9]


In the UK and Australia, there are a number of "weekenders" (short dance-focused holidays, typically running from Friday - Monday) running annually.[10]

Ceroc run the majority of the large-scale (1000+ dancers) weekenders; independent organisers run the majority of the smaller-scale weekender events, such as the Jive Addiction events.


Modern Jive competitions are typically judged based on the following criteria:

  • Musicality
  • Content & execution
  • Style & Technique
  • Presentation

Depending on how the scoring is done, the judges may award marks for each of these, or may just give an overall mark or place, based on considering each of these factors.

UK competitions

There are a number of annual Modern Jive competitions in the United Kingdom. The main three UK-wide competitions are:

Additionally, there are also the Welsh (Cardiff), the Scottish and the Midlands Ceroc Championships as regional competitions.

A fourth UK-wide competition, the UK Dance Champs, in Weston-Super-Mare, was last run in 2009.

Starting in 2012 a European Modern Jive compettion will be held in Warsaw Poland, sponsored by Jive Nation Poland

See also


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