Difference Between Jive and Swing (With Table)

The round dance is a cued ballroom and a choreographed dance. In this, dancers move in a circular manner around the dance floor. The pattern in which they move is the counterclockwise pattern. The fashion of round dance is an example of social dances it includes hustle, mambo, jive, salsa, swing, tang, and many more.  

Among them, jive and swing dance are quite popular for their steps which are performed in dance competitions all over the world. The steps of both dances are linked with each other. But still, there is a distinction between them. 

Jive vs Swing  

The main difference between jive and swing is that jive is bouncy, up-and-down, and peppy in place. On the other hand, the swing is easy and lazy going. In jive, step changes without leaving room for interpretation of music. But swing dance has smooth synchronization in which breaks and music interpretation are allowed. 

Jive is an inhibited variation of the dance to jitterbug. In the international Latin dance, it is among five of them. In the United Kingdom, for swing, this term became a generic term. In the dance competition of international style ballroom, it is danced to western music but grouped with Latin dances.  

Swing dance is a social dance form that originated in the 1940s. It includes extreme athletic moves in the performance version. In the US, it is dance to swing music. There is distinct regional variation in the dance steps including, forms like the South shag’s, the east jitterbug, Lindy, the west coast swing, and in Texas, the whip and the push. 

Comparison Table Between Jive and Swing 

Parameters of ComparisonJiveSwing
Birth yearThe 1930sThe 1920s
Steps travelLessMore
Tempo35-45 measures per minute 25-35 measures per minute

What is Jive? 

Jive was introduced in the early 1930s in the United States (African Americans). The name of this dance comes from the vernacular slang of African-Americans. This slang was from the dictionary publication by Cab Calloway and popularized in the 1930s. In the 1930s and 1940s, the players of swing music consider jive as an expression denoting foolish or glib talk.   

Jive is a boppy, happy, energetic dance, with several bending, knee lifting, and rocking of the hips. Jive Incorporates plenty of flicks and kicks, twirling of the woman, but compared to other dances it does not move around the floor. Jive dancers keep their knees close together and their feet are well-controlled under the body.   

Jive shares many figures, music styles, and tempo with East Coast swing. Jive consists of a rock step and two triple steps. It consists of a rock step and two triple steps. The rock step is counted as “1,2” while “3 and 4” and “5 and 6” are counted as two triple steps. It is more energetic, with the pumping portrayed by the legs. 

Based on the style, jive can be danced on various upbeat music like swing, rock and roll, and boogie-woogie. The most important thing to keep in mind for the beginner is that to be familiar with the music’s rhythm. The beat is provided by the drum, so it is better to listen to the drumline.  

What is Swing? 

Swing dance is one of the styles of social dance in which a dancer often spins, flips, and lifts his or her partner. Swing dance is one of the favorite dances for social dancers of all ages. It is much easier to spot swing dance because this type of dance is full of fun, and dancers have the biggest smiles.  

Swing dance has lots of flipping, throwing, and swinging of dancers. Due to its non-progressive style, it is performed on one spot and is popular for a crowded dance floor. Swing is a fast-paced, quick dance. Swing dance requires practice, but after learning the steps thoroughly dancers never want to stop swinging.  

There is no swing music, but there is music that swings. Just like the swing dance varies, its music does the same. Swing music may include styles like hip-hop blues, jazz, funk, ragtime, and pop. The famous music of the time heavily influenced the swing dance styles.  

The swing dance has a variety of partner dances including jitterbug, Caroline shag, East Coast Swing, Lindy hop, jive, West Coast swing, and boogie-woogie. In this kind of dance, dancers are allowed to add their expression and style. Swing is full of energetic and lots of fun dance styles. 

Main Differences Between Jive and Swing  

  1. Jive is bouncy, up-and-down, and peppy in place. On the other hand, the swing is lazy and easygoing. In this, dancers swing apart and together.  
  2. The timing of the chasse is different because in Jive, “1” is taken quicker beat compared to swing. In swing, the beat is split more evenly and dance “1 and, 2” with each taking ½ beat as “1” and the “and”.
  3. The time rhythm of jive music is 4/4 with the beats count mainly six of two triple steps and rock step. But swing dance is a beat count of six or eight.  
  4. In jive, steps changes without leaving room for interpretation of music. On the flip side, swing dance has smooth synchronization in which breaks and music interpretation are allowed.  
  5. In jive, dancers travel less due to more dance under the body compared to swing. In jive, chasse with step/step, side (1 ah, 2). In swing, chasse with close/side, side (1 and, 2). 


It can be concluded that jive and swing dance is a part of the round dance. They both are quite popular for their steps throughout the world. They both are based on the same elements like a rock step as well as chasse in the basic figure. When it comes to style, character, music, etc. they are completely different from each other.  

Jive is popular for its heightened bounce and kicks, whereas swing dance has a close harmonic connection with street dances. Jive dance requires great stamina and breath-taking. Due to the quickness of the music, the rhythm and the number of steps to take are also quick. But swing dance is a mixture of acrobatic moves like dropping, dipping, and lifting. 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3671601/
  2. http://sutlib2.sut.ac.th/sut_contents/H120065.pdf
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