Tips for Learning to Dance

In our Modern Jive class (and in fact in any modern jive class) the teachers will always give you tips on how to get the best from the class and tips for improving your dancing. Even if you are a beginner dancer, with no knowledge of dancing, on coming to a modern jive class you can be dancing in a matter of weeks or months.

However it doesn’t happen overnight and there is no magic bullet. You have to

  • Listen to the teachers
  • Do what they say
  • Practice as much as you can in the practice session – with different people
  • Dance with other dancers – beginner and experienced

Jive Nation Toronto modern jive dance classes are built around having a fun and social time, as well as learning to dance so there will always be plenty of time to socialize and make friends. We are one of the most friendly dance groups around. If you are learning to dance, as with anything new, practice is key. Use at least 20 minutes of the practice time in each class to dance the moves you learned that evening. You actually have an hour of practice each week. If you leave right after the lesson you will miss out on an important part of the class.  If you stay and practice and dance with others you will see your progress and you will be able to dance with just about anybody.

Beginner Routine – Jive Nation Toronto


Ladies (followers) be patient with the leads as they learn. They have a lot more to process and at first it can seem overwhelming. You can help by enjoying yourself, by refraining from anticipating or leading the moves yourself, instead wait for him to lead the move. I promise he will learn much faster that way.

While I remember followers be sure to ask for a dance. Don’t simply stick to the person you came along with, dance with other people (including the teachers) and experience the different dancing styles. We are very fortunate to have a great balance of ladies and gentlemen and it’s a testament to how much you all help each other.  Make the most of it!

Here’s a video of Matt and Nicky doing freestyle.


Note how Matt leads in such a way that the Nicky, the follower – follows. Matt gives just enough tension so that even if Nicky had her eyes closed it would still be possible for him to lead Nicky and for her to follow that lead. The key thing to remember – and what we will teach you in the weeks to come -is – leads you must offer the right amount of tension in your lead for the follower, and followers you must learn to follow a lead and try not to anticipate that lead. Pretend you don’t know what move he’s going to do. In the video Nicky doesn’t know what move Matt is going to do next, however she knows how to follow his lead and she waits for it. She doesn’t move unless he moves her.
Takes time to learn if you are a beginner however if you listen to the teacher, practice what you learn in the freestyle, dance with others, and practice some more, with patience… you will get it it and you will be dancing quite competently. Modern Jive, the way we will teach you really is quite easy for beginners to learn.
Start with three moves, learn them then add a new one until you have 5 or 6 you know really well. You will be amazed at how you do.
Happy Dancing!