Moves are broken down into constituents.
There are four different types and you can inspect any one from the pull-down menus below. Click the "i" for more information.
No constituent selected.
Constituents of Jive Moves
"Jive Constituents" is a system to list the key "essence" of each move,
without giving all the detail, normally required to be able to learn a move.
lies somewhere between "pet names" and "detailed descriptions".
Pet names, such as a twizzle-stick, Nigel's move, gate or basket flip-flop are short
and memorable but convey insufficient idea of what the move entails. Many
organisations use very different names for the same moves.
can be useful to someone learning a move or recapping some finer
point eg direction the dancers are facing, which way they turn, by how much
and the hand-holds. However anyone wanting to be reminded about
the "essence of the move", particularly whether it was one they
already knew, would find it tiresome to read through all the detail.
Jivemove's solution is to provide a "generic ingredients list"
for each move. Let us call these
"constituents". Consider what
you might take if you had a snuffly nose....."Contac" possibly. Such a memorable brand name tell you nothing.
How it is manufactured would be too much detail, but a generic names such as
"pseudo-ephedrine hydrochloride" can aid you comparing with another brand, even if
it is a bit of a mouthful..
When you remember a jive move, what comes to mind? Possibly there was
an "arm-jivey" bit, followed by a basket-like hold....ah yes, we rotated
together in that for a
while.....and then there was some sort of unwrap. These all
Jivemoves has detailed a set of generic jive constituents that
should be immediately recognisable (with perhaps a few exceptions and dialect
variations). Rather than develop some new set of names, it builds on much of
the terminology that has caught on over the years. Before detailing these, it
must be understood that constituents come in 4 categories:
These represent the essence of a
sequence of steps and hand-holds. These are essential to
many classic moves which have names (eg first move, pretzel, lady spin), but
such moves often contain a number of movements. For example, the essence of a first move
is really pulling the lady forwards into the man's right hand side, turning her
out 180 clockwise
and back again. The turn or spin and return after this are common to many other
moves.. A "movement" is the unique characteristic, in this
case - a pivoting of the lady half a turn CW and back. Hence First Move
is a move name, but Jivemoves also uses it to describe the main constituent
of the First Move,
which is then followed by two further constituents, "turn" and "return".
A movement (eg turn) to considered to include the preparation phase.
represents static bodily "entanglement" (eg teapot,
Flamenco, bow-tie). How one gets into and out a position, however, and what one does when
in it, does not change the essence of the feeling. For example - a basket can
understood as the lady being on the right of the man with her arms crossed in front.
Whether she is swayed back and forth, walks or the partnership rotate together does not change this from
being a basket. In general the turns and returns to get into positions
are often suppressed in order not to clutter up the description.
These are expressive additions (eg hallelujah, hand-click, wiggle) that do not alter positions or footwork much. It
adds to the move to make it more interesting.
These alter moves or positions (eg false:, left-handed:, mans:, mirror:). They take something we know and describe a
noticeable difference (eg half: tunnel, false:
pretzel, left-handed: catapult, mirror: basket). Many modifies will already
be understood, eg left-handed:, others can be worked out eg mirror: and pull: can
be readily learned. "resume:" indicates that the move before the
embellishment just performed continues from where it was interrupted.
Some jive terms have had to be limited to become unambiguous movements:
- "Spin" now
refers only to a clockwise spin, effected using the lady's right hand,
followed by a loss of connection (ie letting go!). A spin using the
lady's left hand requires the "pull"
modifier - see below.
- "Wurlitzer" is an anti-clockwise spin (ie
no connection) using compression in the lady's left hand to initiate it. It is the
opposite of a lady-spin, call it a mirror:lady-spin if you wish, but is the
fundamental ingredient in a Wurlitzer move, however the introduction may not
require the double-handed pressure before the preparation. If the lady's
right hand is used, then the "pull"
modifier is required - see below.
Some jive terms have not been used as movement names as they are too specific:
"Lady-spin" are both clockwise compression spins from the lady's
right arm and are just termed "spin".
Some jive moves have been split as they are used for both movement and position:
- A "catapult" is the movement of whooshing the lady back via the man's right
hand side and bouncing her back under tension via his left hand side, not
necessarily ending in the spin. However the
"catapult-position" is a useful term for when it is used without this
- The constituent term
is reserved for the motion of rocking her backwards and forwards whilst
is the new name for the position of the lady in a sway (by the man's right
hand side). Note that the movement "basket" is considered a position
and requires the movement "sway" to be explicitly included where
necessary, which is not always.
Some movements contain a little less than one would expect:
- A "catapult" is only
the rebounding of a dancer from being behind a partner to being thrust at high
velocity via (normally) the left hand side. One should not assume how
the dancer got to be behind or whether they perform a 1.5 revolution clockwise
spin at the end. Indeed that latter needs to be specifically stated as
it does not always occur.
- The term "windmill"
is no longer two half-windmills, it is used to refer to just one of the
Some new terms have been introduced:
- The modifier "pull"
is used to describe a turn or spin initiated by pulling the lady around using
the "wrong hand" as the feel is completely different. "Pull:
is considered better than saying for instance "left-handed: spin"
as what is important is this feel and not the hand used.
- The "return" should
really have a prefix of "pull:" however it is so common, that this is assumed,
Hence where the lady's left hand is used to start a compressive anti-clockwise
turn (feels most peculiar) the modifier "push"
is applied, ie
push:return. Confusing? - yes, but less so than writing
- The movement "exit"
is used to describe the reversal from a basket position or sway position into
the starting open-hold position. This is in contrast to
reversal is undertaken with the man's hand(s) kept low, ie she is unwound.
"Exit" is somewhat optional in that it is only included where it is beneficial
eg an arm-locks that unwraps into a basket does not really benefit from this
exit being specifically mentioned and indeed it just makes the description
When viewing a list of constituents, it might look complicated. First
ignore the modifiers in lower case and "feel the capitals". Remember that
although this is tough, it may be easier than wading through all those
SIDE-TO-SIDE, mirror: SIDE-TO-SIDE, BASKET, EXIT
This consists of two side-to-side movements followed by a basket (without a
sway). One of the side-to-sides is performed as a mirror image.
short: YOYO, cross-handed: WURLITZER
A yoyo movement is started but rather than pulling her arm back to the
shoulder, both hands are prepared for an anti-clockwise spin.
There are some moves that are not easy to describe using constituents.
At the end of the day it is important to record what it feels like rather than
what it is. If it feels like a first move, but not quite, then "nearly:FIRST-MOVE"
is used. If it feels like starting a catapult but completely changes, then
"false:CATAPULT" is used.
Constituents of a move, where available, can be viewed by checking the box
to the right of the "quick select menu" when in database mode. The constituents are first listed in a line a above; click
on these for a definition of each one, and the detailed descriptions of each
move are also broken up by constituent. In gallery mode, the constituents,
if switched on, will be appended to the appropriate jive count and form the
colour of the text until the start of the next constituent.
Don't like them? That's ok, just uncheck the box to the right of
the "quick select menu" and you will never see them again. However, they
do no harm and you might find they provide some structure to the long list of
descriptions by count. They are not perfect and work better on some moves
Lists of the different constituent types can be viewed from the pull down
lists at the top of this page.