top of page

10 Songs You Can Jive To

The jive is a high energy, fun, and infectious dance that originated in the United States with African-American social dances in the early 1930s. The jive is the only Latin dance with roots based on swing dancing and an origin in the US, which also makes its music stand out against the Cuban rumba and cha cha and the Brazilian samba. While its patterns are similar to swing, the jive has a much faster rhythm and is typically danced to a speed of 44 measures (176 beats) per minute. Jive is the fastest of all Latin dances.

Jive has a 4/4 time signature, which is common among all the ballroom and Latin dances with the exception of waltz. While jive music could be counted as "1, 2, 3, 4", "1, 2, 3, 4", not all jive patterns will have exactly four or eight counts, and the basic jive step is actually six counts: "1, 2, 3-and-4, 5-and-6" (in timing notation, an "and" represents half a beat, and a step on an "and" count is very quick). When counting jive music, the drum line will provide the beat, and should be listened to instead of the overall melody.

Jive is a happy, energetic, and uninhibited dance, making it perfect for parties and social occasions, from a wedding reception to a cruise to a country club social event. Many popular songs, including rock-and-roll and pop, are perfect for dancing jive socially. If jive music is too fast, the same patterns can be adapted to a slower version of the jive called single-time swing, which can be danced to the same music as the jive.

When selecting a song to dance jive, finding music in a 4/4 time signature shouldn't be a challenge, as this is the most common time signature for songs. Traditional jive music will often be upbeat swing, contemporary, or even rock-and-roll music, although many musical genres are well-suited to the jive as long as they match the energy of the dancing. As one example, the artist DJ Ice has remixed the popular song "Ex's and Oh's" as both a jive and foxtrot. First, here's the song intended to be danced as a jive.

And here's the same song, but intended to be danced as a foxtrot. If you play both versions of the song, you'll probably notice how different they sound. If you want to learn more about what makes a song appropriate to dance the jive, our professional dance instructors can best teach you in person during your private lessons or group classes.

In the meantime, we've listed 10 of our favorite songs for dancing the jive below! All of these songs already have the correct time signature and speed to dance the jive. We've assembled songs from different genres to show the versatility of the jive. If you have any more questions about the jive and what songs it can be danced to, please contact us at - we're happy to help!

10 Songs You Can Jive To

"Runaround Sue" - Dion

"Dance With Me Tonight" - Olly Murs

"Runaway Baby" - Bruno Mars

"Little Bitty Pretty One" - Thurston Harris

"Stitches" - Johny M

"Feel It Still" - Portugal the Man

"Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift

"Candyman" - Christina Aguilera

"Rock Around the Clock" - Billy Haley and His Comets

"Jump, Jive, an' Wail" - Brian Setzer Orchestra

Want more jive? DJ Ice Dancesport Music is known for remixing popular songs for ballroom and Latin dance. We have included his playlist for jive below. All of these songs should be relatively easy to count and have consistent timing, as they were designed especially for jive. (Click the icon in the top right corner of this video to open the full playlist.)

Click here to learn more about the jive, and how you can learn this dance at Areté Dance Center!

If you have any questions, contact us at or (408) 824-0074. Enjoy your dancing!

35,889 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page