Modern jive (sometimes called French jive) is a relatively new phenomenon that has only been going since 1980, mainly in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It has many of the qualities of the jitterbug brought from the States during the war but without the foot steps! It is easy to learn and can be used for much of the modern music that is about today as well as rock'n'roll and swing etc.
The many organisations that promote it have basically the same formula: total beginners lesson, followed by short free-style (anyone dances with anyone), followed by intermediate class, followed by longer free style. You don't take lessons to learn modern jive, they are an integral part of the evening and everybody dances with everybody - you need not bring a partner - and a beginner will not find their first time too daunting. It is not a precise dance like the ballroom jive or most other swing dance but can be used as a framework for one's own interpretation.
Although there are some slightly different emphases, most of the organisations offer a very similar experience and they include Ceroc, Leroc, Lejive, Mojive etc. Don't be confused by someone asking you if you do "Ceroc" and look at you strangely when you answer that you do Jive too. Its like them hearing that a Hoover is a vacuum cleaner for the first time! Our US C&W cousins may well recognise this phenomenon as "4-beat swing".
The marvellous thing about jive is that one can dance it to lots of music, old to new, Swing, Rock'n'roll, Country & Western electronic, top of the pops etc, lots of which is played at parties, discos and nightclubs! The important thing is that there are 4 beats in the bar (ie not a waltz!), there is a strong beat, about 120 to 180 beats per minute (although this does not bar one taking up the challenge of dancing faster or dancing too slowly - but some moves may not look cool).
There are many good organisations in many towns. Rather than list the ones I happen to know, just go to www.uk-jive.co.uk or www.modernjive.com for a comprehensive list to find out what's on in your area.
No! This site is designed to supplement the teaching at venues.
The evenings are not just dancing, or just teaching, they are both (excluding some "freestyle" nights which are just for dancing). You do not need to go with a partner as the ethos is to dance with lots of people and the classes rotate partners anyway. It is much quicker to learn than other dance styles as little is said about the feet. It is very exhilarating and your fitness will improve in leaps and bounds.
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If you want to know how jive differs from swing, click here.