Jumping in to the Jive! – Ultra Ballroom

Jumping in to the Jive!

In the last blog we talked about achieving that perfect frame that we see in so many of the classic ballroom dances. It’s a whole different look and feel for many of the other dances in the latin style, particularly with the Jive.

When you take part in the Ultra Ballroom experience you are offered two different styles of dance to choose to perform at the event. One of our most popular dances has always been the jive. It’s energetic fun, fast and it’s always a crowd pleaser!

In the blog “A History of ballroom dance” we talked about its roots. It can be traced back to America in the early 30s and was probably brought over to Britain by the GIs. It’s a lively dance with kicks, flicks and turns and very often exciting lifts.

The posture for the jive couldn’t be more different than the ballroom hold, couples in this dance can be dancing side by side, in tandem, shadowing or in various hand and arm holds – it’s full of variety!

In order to achieve the light brightness of the jive you will need to master its unique posture…

Where your weight is, is vital, first of all, you should be up on the balls of your feet with your knees relaxed. The top part of your body from your hips is leaning forward with your pelvis backwards so from the side your body is forming a zig-zag shape. The reason you need to be like this is so that the flicks and kicks are much easier to execute because you aren’t sitting back on your heel. Keep forward all the time and the quick movements will be so much easier.


If you are not in hold then often the arms are held out to the side with the elbows slightly contracted to the side of the body, here it is vital to keep the arms slightly forward to encourage the rest of the body to maintain the jive posture.

There are lots of ways of working with your partner in jive, a simple hand hold “cupping” where on partner places their lowered cup had into the partners lifted cup hand, this can be done standing next to each other with one hand or facing with two. A loose ballroom hold is often used for the basic rock step; it’s not rigid and should be relaxed and comfortable.

One of the most important parts of the jive is how the partners work together, there must be a leader and a follower, the leader will use their handhold to move their partner to turn, twist or move across the floor. The connection between the two are vital and timing is everything. The movements reflect every beat of the music.

We have found at our events that the jive has inspired people to coordinate the music, costume and themes. Songs such as Candyman by Christina Aguilera always inspire a military look, Rocking Robin by the Jackson 5 gives a red colour theme feel and jailhouse rock … needs no explanation. Enjoy the pictures from our amazing Ultra Events and keeeeeepjiving!!!

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