Jive Frustrations

It there is a latin dance I understand the least, it is jive.

I think everyone must have at least one dance that just doesn’t quite come together for them.  But maybe I am just hoping for some company in my frustration.

From when I started dancing at my first studio I struggled with jive.  I have a back injury that when I started dancing made the ‘top forward’ position of jive very difficult for me because I lacked the strength in my back to support my upper body being forward.  When I moved to the franchise studio and american style I did east coast swing, which is slower and different, and has different technique.  I struggled with just the basic technique in swing for quite some time before it came together for me.  Since returning to International style, I was able to adapt my swing technique to bronze jive, but I was lacking the lifting of the knees.  I started working on it….then got sick.

So it’s been about two years since I worked on jive technique.  I did a little bit of work just on the triple step basic without the lifts, but that was more adapting my swing technique.

Today, as part of putting together a new program of exercises for my individual practices going forward, I started working on the leg lift technique in the correct forward jive position.  It was a complete disaster.  We took what I had done previously lifting the same leg repeatedly and tried to get me to alternate lifting legs.  No matter what I did today, I just could not seem to get my body to do what Boss wanted me to do.

It doesn’t happen often but sometimes I just can’t translate what I see Boss doing into my own body, and no matter what he says or shows I just can’t get the right body parts to move.  We tried slow, we tried fast, we tried against a wall, we tried with a stick, we tried with him holding me in position, we tried with him moving my hips.  Nothing stuck and nothing worked.  It was completely frustrating.

I think what is really frustrating for me is that knowing that jive technique is something I really struggle to understand, I have been wanting to work more consistently on it for quite some time–but Boss always told me that my jive was ‘ok for my level’.  It always frustrates me when I hear him say that because I don’t want to be ‘ok’ for my current level, I want to be preparing for the next one, and silver and especially gold jive isn’t going to go well without basic leg lifts.  So as I struggle to try to understand and get my body moving right, I can’t help but be a little angry that I am just learning this now and not back when I was in bronze.

But I digress.  All is not lost.  I think this is going to be one of those things where I have to take all the pieces Boss gave me in my lesson and take a little bit of time here and there throughout my days to work on putting it together myself.  I think I know what I need to do, I just need to give my mind time to process it a little to put all the pieces together.  I am just not used to struggling so much and not being able to capture even a basic understanding of how my body needs to work.

Jive aside, the other exercises seem to be ok.  I am working on specific steps in waltz and tango, as well as fluid and strong arm movements and position for paso.  I should have one more lesson before Boss goes on vacation, and that should leave me in a good position to work through the exercises while he is away.

On a similar note, today I finally got to meet with the rehabilitative specialist at work to get and begin a new strength training program 3 times a week with a small running program.  I am excited to get back to regular strength training, but all I have to say is that I am really weak compared to where I was!  The program she gave me is great and she understands about dance and tailored it to help compliment the work I do in the studio.  It means next week is going to be a lot of DOMS, but it will be worth it.  Since Boss will be away, my goal is to put together the strength training with a regular practice schedule so that when he gets back I am ready to add in lessons.

We will see how that goes.  In the meantime, if you need me, I will be working on jive 🙂

One thought on “Jive Frustrations

  1. I am definitely with you there! Jive has always been my least favourite dance, though I don’t get on as well with Latin in general as I do ballroom. Good luck with your exercises, I hope all continues to go well and maybe I’ll see you out on the floor when you are back competing!

    Liked by 1 person

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