General Pointers

Hand Grip

The man holds his starting hand, palm facing, towards his stomach.  The lady always begins using her RH; draping her fingers loosely over the top of the offer hand with her wrist dropped. 



One of the most important things in jive.  “The arms are the means of communication with your lady”.  Too much tension and the move is hard to do.  Too little tension and the arms become floppy and will not carry the messages to or from your partner.  Both lead to a poor response during dancing.

Step Size

Use small steps, this is because is takes more time to bounce back in from a large step than it does from a small step. Keep all footsteps small.

Be Gentle

Be firm but gentle.  Ladies need to be guided around not pushed.

Don’t Stir Ladies

When turning your lady you do not need to stir her. Keep your hand close to the top of the lady’s head and let her turn using your fingers. (Keep a loose grip)

What Height Do I Hold My Hand At?

It doesn’t matter how tall or short the lady is, you should always hold your hand at the lady’s waist height to begin a move and the same when spinning the lady (i.e. Wurlitzer, Lady Spin)


Spin on the balls of you feet.  Keep your spare foot very close to the floor, in case things go wrong.  Keep your head up, look straight ahead until last second, and keep both arms close in to the body, around your waist height as you spin, this is known as spotting.

Remembering Moves

Notebooks are very handy when you want to remember what you learnt in a lesson.  Make brief notes on how you did a move. Use your own language when writing, as this makes it easier to read again.

Man Lead/ Lady Follows

REMEMBER - MEN LEAD AND LADIES FOLLOW.  If you are practicing at home with a lady and you feel that she is doing the leading for you, it’s, “shut eye time”!  Tell her to shut her eyes as you lead her (Only ever use beginners moves for this). This will make your lead more readable and she won’t need to lead herself.

Man’s Responsibility

Men always move out of the lady’s way.  Ladies step straight forward and straight back.

Guys Keep The Beat!!

Practice counting the beat to music.  If you can’t hear the beat, get your partner to count it for you as you dance. 




Always make sure that you use any signals that have been taught with a move.  Ladies rely on signals.

Linking Moves

As you are dancing, check which hand your last move finishes on, this will determine which move you do next, e.g. “Does this move end on the LH?” – YES- then I need a LH move for my next move or “Does this move end on the RH?” – YES- then I need a RH move for my next move.

What’s My Next Move?

Try to think ahead by at least one or two moves.  If your mind blanks, use thinking or default moves to mark time.

Default/ Thinking Moves/ Sneaky Hand Changes

Default Moves - Learn a set of three to four beginners’ moves and make sure that you know this routine by heart. Use this set of moves as a stand-by when your mind goes blank.

Thinking Moves – Use moves, such as the Side to Side, First Move and Bouncing In & Out when you need to think. These moves give you time to decide what other newer moves you want to do.

Sneaky Hand Changes – If you’re on the wrong hand for your next planned move, bounce in towards your lady and slide the hand, you want to use, into her RH. Smile at her to hide the change!

Ladies Stand Tall

When you are dancing try to stand tall and think graceful.  You look slimmer this way! Use your spare arm to decorate the move. 

Introducing A New Move

Introduce a new move to your repertoire, by doing it as soon as you begin a dance.  Do some default moves, and then do the new move again. Practice makes perfect.


Please make sure you have warmed up before you dance.  Dance at least 2-3 dances only using simple moves (NO DROPS), so that your muscles become warm enough to stretch when you perform harder moves later in the evening

Wear sensible shoes to dancing.  Heals not too high, soles slippy.  Everyday trainers are no good for dancing and can cause injury.  Please do not remove shoes to dance, as this is dangerous

RELAX THOSE ARMS! Stiff arms are difficult to move around.  This is especially a problem for ladies, as this can cause injury. 

Good dancers always bring a change of clothing if they sweat a lot when they are dancing.  Sweaty skin is slippy and difficult to hold on to.  It also feels YUKKY!

Bring deodorant wipes to dancing as the smell of sweaty bodies is very off putting!

“SAFETY FIRST AT ALL TIMES!” Always take care the first time you attempt a new move.

To look good on the dance floor, you must make your partner look good on the dance floor!

Dance for the partner you are with at that moment.  Don’t be selfish; share the dance experience with each other.  It is much more fun that way!!

D A N C E    F L O O R    E T I Q U E T T E    & O T H E R    T I P S

Always walk around the outside of the dance floor when carrying drinks

Please do not walk through the middle of the dance floor when other people are dancing, as this can cause accidents

Try to always dance with someone if you are asked.  If you must refuse them, try to let them down tactfully.  It could be you being refused one day.  We do after all practice a policy of “Everyone dances with Everyone

Please don’t abandon your partner in the middle of the dance, as it’s rude and can really hurt feelings

Try to always apologise if you knock someone accidentally

A move previously perfected with a regular partner often goes wrong when trying it with a new partner.  Don’t get too despondent.  Practice makes perfect.  MAYBE YOUR LEAD IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH.

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© Dance Verve Modern Jive 2013