Social Dancing Etiquette

What are the Java Jive Rules and Regulations?

As we have grown as a club, we want to let you know what our expectations of all dancers are so that we can make our dances a safe space for everyone. These things are mostly common sense, but we figured that if we put them out in writing, they're clear to everyone. So, without further ado, here are our rules:

1. Respect others’ physical boundaries.

a. Make sure your partner is comfortable with all the moves you do.
b. Ask before holding your partner in close embrace.
c. Practice puritanical palm placement.

2. Respect others’ emotional boundaries.

a. Refrain from asking overly personal questions.
b. Refrain from dancing too many consecutive dances with the same partner.

3. If someone declines a dance, respect his or her decision.

The great thing about social dancing is that you can ask anyone to dance, regardless of whether you are a lead, follower, beginner, or regular dancer! But if someone says no, it could be a variety of reasons - they are tired, don’t like the song, or simply do not want to dance with you. All are perfectly okay. Likewise, you should not feel pressured to say yes to every dance - do what makes you happy and comfortable.

4. No aerials or lifts. Dips are only allowed if you can do them safely.

If you notice or experience inappropriate conduct, please report it to a board member. If you violate these rules, you risk banishment.

All board members have authority at the Java Jives and Lessons. If anyone tells you to do/not do something, listen to them. We know you just come to dance and enjoy yourselves, but we want to ensure that everyone is having a good time. As a club, we feel that these rules will facilitate that best. If you have any questions or concerns, please 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!