Social Dancing Etiquette

What are the Java Jive Rules and Regulations?

As we grow as a club, we want to clarify our expectations of all dancers so that our dances can continue to be a safe space for everyone. Here are the guidelines we think will best facilitate a fun and comfortable dance environment:

1. Dancing with a partner.

a. Do not attempt moves that make your partner feel unsafe or uncomfortable. If your partner is not comfortable dancing in close embrace or doing a dip, respect their decision.
b. Refrain from asking overly personal questions.
c. For safety reasons, aerials are not allowed on the dance floor.
d. If your partner is making you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, let them know!

2. Safety on the dance floor.

a. Floor craft is an important aspect of social dancing; make sure that you are aware of the space and people around you when you are dancing so that others do not get hurt.
b. If you bump into someone, check to see whether they are okay and apologize.

3. Accepting and declining dances.

a. You can ask anyone to dance, regardless of whether you are a lead, follower, beginner, or advanced dancer.
b. Avoid consecutive dances with the same partner unless they are okay with it—dancing with different people is what makes swing dancing a social dance, anyway!
c. It is perfectly okay to decline a dance!
d. If someone says no to you, it could be because they are tired, do not like the song, or simply do not want to dance with you. All are valid reasons.

If you notice or experience inappropriate conduct, please report it to a board member. Violating these rules risks banishment. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.


What is the Shim Sham?

Originally a tap dance routine performed during the 1930s, the Shim Sham became popular in the swing community after Frankie Manning adapted it for swing dancers. It is now often danced at social dances, usually to “Tain't What You Do (It's the Way That Cha Do It)” by Jimmie Lunceford. Since the choreography for the Shim Sham consists of ten eight-count phrases, dancers usually pair up with a random partner to dance until the end of the song, while the DJ occasionally yells out directions such as “Freeze,” “Slow Motion,” or “Dance” to spice things up.

What are Jams?

When dancers form a Jam Circle, different couples take turns going into the center of the circle to show off their moves. However, Jams are also commonly used to commemorate special occasions, such as birthdays (there are birthday jams, visitor jams, and farewell jams, just to name a few)! The dancers in the outside circle take turns ‘stealing’ the special person (or people) in the center throughout the song. Check out the video on the left for an example of a birthday jam, and the one on the right for a great demo of jamming and stealing!