So many of my friends say to me they’d love to dance but can’t. Or they don’t want to look stupid. Or they won’t have a partner because their husband or boyfriend won’t give it a chance. They’re worried of looking stupid. Of course, because most of us don’t want that. But if they really want to dance, I believe modern jive or ceroc is the answer. Because it really does live up to its name in saying that it’s a dance for everyone.
How easy is modern jive?
With very little specific footwork, and a basic 1,2,3,4 count, if you can walk then you can do modern jive. Ceroc claims it can get people dancing in the freestyle part of a class night after a beginners class and beginners review class. And that’s true. It might not be pretty, but it’s rare to see any beginners not being able to make it through a couple of songs with the 3 moves they’ve learnt on their first night.
Yes, not everyone will find it easy to learn. Because everyone is different and has different ways and speed of learning. But even if you’re a slow learner, you’ll remember at least 1 move a week, building up a repertoire of moves quite quickly. For followers it’s more about grasping that you don’t lead and need to follow the lead you’re given, so it’s about knowing where to move when the leader indicates, and being in control of your steps.
Modern jive is a lot more than just moves.
- There’s the music – type, speed, phrasing.
- A partner – dance is a partnership listening and reacting to the person you’re dancing with, not just a lead and follow exercise
- Style – some people have it naturally, others need to practice, others don’t care
What makes modern jive easier than other dance styles:
1, There’s no footwork
Well, to start with you just need to be able to step back on one beat, transferring your weight and stepping back in again on another beat. As you progress there can be some moves where you need to step onto one foot rather than the other, but generally it’s just stepping.
2, It can be danced to any music style
It means you hear a good variety of music (unlike getting bored of salsa music), lots of contemporary tracks as well as more quirky ones. If you know the music you’re dancing to it makes the learning to dance seem easier.
3, There’s no complicated music beat
Unless you progress into blues or freestyles with more challenging music, generally music suitable for modern jive has a simple 1,2,3,4 beat. That means there’s no complicated rhythms to worry about. It’s as simple as stepping 1 foot after the other (without stomping or marching).
4, It’s approachable and friendly
Beginners get 2 classes a night at most venues, and with taxi dancers there’s more chance that what you learn will sink in. Classes also rotate so you get to meet lots of people. If it feels fun, you’ll probably be more interested in learning
5, There’s no syllabus
There are set beginner moves, and classic intermediate moves, but no-one is judging you on what you’re learning and what level you have reached. So the only pressure to get it right comes from yourself. That means it’s more relaxed and you can learn at your own pace. Beginners are recommended to do beginners classes for 6-8 weeks dependent on the class, but if you want to or feel you need to stay in beginners for longer, then it’s worth doing.
(Silc does have a type of syllabus and it’s my understanding you can do medals at ceroc, but I’ve never known anyone do any to ask them about EDIT: Some ceroc websites have a mention of medal tests but I’ve heard others have struggled to get an answer about whether they exist or not).
6, Its aim is to get beginners to dance
While some people come to modern jive from other dance styles, the majority are new to partner dancing. That means all the classes are based at this level, not for people who’re proficient dancers. So if you’re a beginner, it’s a case of watching, listening and copying. Moves are broken down and built back up again to make them as simple as possible for new dancers.
7, Modern jive is modern jive
Ok, so there’s Ceroc, but essentially ceroc is just modern jive with a brand name. The moves are similar, the music is similar, the beat is similar. Not like in salsa where there’s Cuban, On1 and On2 and you have to work out what people dance before starting dancing. Or west coast swing where there’s 4 basic moves but 6 count and 8 count moves, plus walks and triple steps.
Hopefully if you’re totally new to dancing and are trying to find the easiest partner dance, then this encourages you to give modern jive a try.
How did you find modern jive when you were starting out? What would you tell beginners about it?