Lades and gentlemen, we’ve got a special treat for you tonight…
I do have a lot of wonderful upbeat jives I keep finding on this list, and well, I’m missing my dancing, so it’s giving me a chance to think through hip action, foot action, turns and balance. And partnering. Jive is a lot of fun, but as the last dance of a competitive Latin American dancing round, it often gets short shrift while practicing. It is common to start at the top of the list and practice the first few with fresh legs and brains, so by the time you get to jive, you’re likely cranky, sweaty, and grumpy with your dance partner for some perceived error on their part. (Or is that just me?) Jive takes a lot of hard work, and much of the time, people do the jive with more focus on performing that they still have the stamina to do so than taking into account the fun that the dance is.
From looking at the pros, you expect it to be all fun and effortless, and like any form of art, it just isn’t. Nope. Lol. Fun and effortless? You wish. And with all my exercise-induced tomato-faced sweaty effort at the end of a long evening’s practice, I want to make it look good, but I seldom feel like working on it.
Jive is also a dance of contradictions. Jive is a fast, swing-based dance that originated in the 1960s-ish, with grounded, earthy hip action, and light feet. Have you got any idea how hard it is to be grounded and earthy while also being light? The more you try to be light, the more you inevitably get told to use the floor.
This is definitely a skill I’m still learning.
For many years of my Ballroom and Latin practice, I’ve also had a psychological block that I’m just not good at Jive. And well, as long as you believe something like that, you will be right. (Unfortunately, the reverse is not necessarily true, but unlearning one habit is a start). Recently, I’ve been making an effort to not overthink, to just do. Jiving, like writing, has gotten better for me as I’ve stopped it being a head-only practice, and just enjoyed it.
And, unlike writing, people do literally judge me for my jive, on the competition dance-floor. So, you know, that should make writing even easier, right?
Well, I’m getting there. Still somewhat overthinking the writing-equivalent of the double underarm turn, and playing with the oxymoron of being lightly grounded.