Everything you need to know about the Jive from Strictly’s expert

Jason Gilkison's top tips for performing a jolly good Jive

With the sparkle of Strictly Come Dancing dominating our weekends nights from here until Christmas, we decided it was time we learnt a little more about the dances this year’s celebrities will be performing.

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We caught up with Strictly’s director of choreography Jason Gilkison, who gave us the lowdown on technique, drama, atmosphere and the details the judges will be looking out for during the celebrities’ live performances… 


What is the Jive? 

An upbeat, fast dance style that originated in the United States. 

What’s the mood? 

“It is a broad spectrum because a Jive can look very modern or you could also do a Rock ‘n’ Roll take on it which is very 1950s. You might even see somebody go into flatter shoes and a big polka dot skirt or something. You have a bit of swing, a bit of jitterbug, a bit of everything in it. You’ll find this is more a cute dance than a sexy dance.”

What’s the technique? 

“That’s kind of the opposite to the Cha Cha as much as their feet are allowed to come off the floor in the Jive. They’ve got the kicks and the flicks. The lightness and the brightness has to be really really at the forefront of what they are trying to do.”

What’s the hardest part? 

“I think what all the celebrities are having trouble with, the thing that’s really the most difficult, is trying to tell a story in 90 seconds while they are doing the technique as well.”

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What will the judges be looking out for?

“Energy and light feet. As much as you want there to be energy, it’s also got to have light and shade. Jive looks really bad if it’s just pumping all the way through. You’ve got to be able to know how to play it, otherwise what you’ll find is you’ll burn out in the first 30 seconds. You’ve got to be able to pace yourself really nicely throughout the whole dance.”

What does it look like?


Strictly Come Dancing week one: song and dance list revealed

More Strictly news and interviews with all this year’s celebrity contestants… 


Robin Windsor, Alex Jones and Sir Bruce Forsyth will be at the Radio Times Festival this weekend. Tickets are available here.

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