The jive is a lively and energetic dance that is known for its fast tempo and quick footwork. One of the key elements of the jive is the bounce action, which is the up-and-down movement of the body that gives the dance its distinctive rhythm. Developing your bounce action is crucial to dancing a proper Jive.
Here are some top tips from the Easter Bunny to help you improve your bounce action in the jive.
#1: Practice your footwork
The jive is a footwork-intensive dance that requires quick and precise movements. To improve your bounce action, you need to practice your footwork regularly. To dance a Jive chasse to the left, start by standing on your right foot with the knee slightly flexed and the heel lightly touching the floor. Place the left foot to the side using the inside edge of the ball of foot. Transfer the weight onto the ball of the foot before closing the right foot to left using ball heel footwork. Then place the left foot to the side again on the inside edge of the ball of foot before placing the heel on the floor.
When practising other basic steps, remember to place the foot on the floor by first using the ball of foot before placing the heel on the floor. It's important the back heel is placed on the floor (e.g. when dancing back on a rock step) to allow the knees to work. Keep reading below to lean how to use the knees!
#2: Use your knees
The bounce action in the jive comes from the knees. To improve your bounce, you need to learn how to use your knees effectively. Start by keeping your knees slightly flexed and then practice straightening them quickly. Practice this movement slowly at first and gradually increase your speed. Then practice lifting your knees off the floor an bringing them to your chest. Keep the toes pointing to the floor and quickly push your foot to the floor. Just like a bouncy ball, you want to focus on pushing your legs downwards to create the speed instead of lifting, however the knee still needs to lift to give yourself space to push downwards. As you become more comfortable with this movement, you can then start timing your knees to the music.
#3: Listen to the music
To improve your bounce action, you need to listen carefully to the music and follow its rhythm. Pay attention to the tempo and especially the timing of the Jive. In music, bounce rhythms or swing rhythms use syncopation by giving more time to the first beat and delaying the second beat. This will help you stay in sync with the music and really enhance that feeling of bounce in your performance.
#4: Develop your core
The bounce action in the jive requires a lot of energy and strength from your core muscles whilst maintaining a soft and relaxed look in the upper body. To improve your bounce, you need to work on developing your core strength through exercises such as planks, crunches, and leg lifts. A strong core will help you maintain your posture and control your body movements during the dance which will allow for greater control in the upper body and allow you to focus on keeping the shoulders down, without tension, and the arms relaxed.
With these four points above, you can make the Easter Buny jealous and be the champion of bounce! By practicing these techniques regularly, you can improve your bounce action and become a better jive dancer.
Remember to have fun and enjoy the music, as the jive is ultimately about having a good time and expressing yourself through dance.