Swing Discussion Boards > Anyone know how to dance Rock'n'Roll

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Asiatias, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Asiatias

    Asiatias New Member

    World DanceSport Magazine issue 1 Featured Rock'n'Roll Acrobatic dance. It is derived from Jive? Does anyone know about it?

    Anyone know how to dance Rock'n'Roll?
  2. sprifty

    sprifty New Member

    I danced rock and roll when I was studying at the University of Leeds two years ago. The basic step is pretty much - prep, kick. The judging is based on how cool your tricks/lifts are. Most of these tricks are similar to the tricks and lifts that come from 1950s swing. I'm not sure what the exact origins are and whether or not it has anything to do with american 1950s swing, but I do know that it was incredibly popular with the dancesport teams in the UK.
  3. DavidB

    DavidB Member

    I also did it at university in the UK, and carried on for several years afterwards. Generally the standard in the UK is very low compared to Europe.

    It definitely has its roots in Lindy/Jitterbug. My guess is that it developed in parallel to Jive, but I would emphasise the word 'guess'.

    The basic step is 'kick step, kick step, kick-ball-change'. The kicks are quite high - between knee and waist height. The basic moves are similar to simple 6-count jive moves. However it is not a social dance, and everyone does choreographed routines. You would do 2 routines - a 1 minute footwork routine (ie no lifts) and a 2 minute acrobatics routine (8 acro moves plus an optional finishing lift.) The music was about 200bpm.

    When they say acrobatic, they mean it - double front somersaults and double back somersaults are very common in Europe. It is basically pairs gymnastics done to fast music.

    As an example:

  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I grew up dancing R and R, Jitterbug and Bop ( alongside my B/room ) in the 40s/50s.
    And..it IS a social dance. I still occasionally teach classes ,and its not taught as you described ( sounds like a b/room version ? ) .
    There are regular socials held in my area with large attendance . ( I also DJ for the genre )
  6. Dave

    Dave New Member

    If it's not obvious, DavidB is specifically talking about acrobatic Rock'n'Roll. It may share roots with the social dance, but there is absolutely no way you could regard modern acrobatic R'n'R as a social dance.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    A 1959 dance book describes "ROCK-AND-ROLL" as "performed without undue tension, the body and legs being flexible, so that there may be a physical rhythmic expression of co-ordination with the beats of music." "...a dance which leaves much scope for personal expression and interpretation in style, movement, rhythm, and even in the manner in which the figures are constructed." The basic rhythm is Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick. The Slow steps "will be taken first on to the ball of the foot, the heel then lowering".

    This is a description of Lindy/Jitterbug/Eastern Swing/East Coast Swing as it morphed from the Swing Era into the Rock n Roll Era here in the US.
    What those words mean to any particular person or group now a days is pretty variable .
  8. DavidB

    DavidB Member

    The original poster in this thread (before it was merged into an existing thread) asked about "Rock'n'Roll Acrobatic". The article he referred to is at http://www.idsf.net/documents/wdsm_1_08.pdf (page 11). My reply was only about this style, as I guessed I'm one of the few people on this forum who has done it.

    It is not the only style of Rock'n'Roll dancing. It does not claim to be authentic. It is not that popular in the UK. But it is what the OP was talking about.
  9. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member


    I think most of you have got it wrong here. . . . .I think the poster (who is from the UK) is asking about 'Rockabilly' or 'Glasgow Jive'. It's the improvised (and original) version of Ballroom Jive. Kev Kavangh is the last of the 'old school'

    It's 4 beat rather than 6 or 8 beat like Swing.


    And don't believe that the video is a good example! It's just all there is. I've seen way better dancers.

    It's very different from Modern Jive. . . .

    Overtime its mutated into something that was originally very footwork orientated into a fast acrobatic version.

    In Scotland there are few of the 'old style' Jive dancers about, (they are about 10 years older than me), because Scotland has a tradition of step dance similar to Ireland, the Jive moves were characterised by extremely fast footwork derived from Highland dance.
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

  11. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    I agree. . . . . . I think I made that point.

    I wish there were video's available of the few 'Glasgow Jive' dancers about - but there aren't.

    It's pretty much the same as the sample video - but with superb technique, especially with the footwork.

    Up until the 1980's all Scottish regiments had Scottish Dancing as basic fitness training.

    Think of a society where all the 'macho' men had to do ballet as part of military training. . . .

    It's fascinating that what was once a dance demonstrating male skill, agility and strength is now entirely female focused.

  12. Dave

    Dave New Member

    Which poster?

    Part of the confusion here is that post #82 was originally the first post in a new thread. And that post is very obviously talking about Acrobatic Rock'n'Roll; hence DavidB's response.

    But then the thread was merged, and so a lot of people are now talking about different styles of Rock'n'Roll that were discussed earlier.
  13. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    heres an analogy...I was dancing latin hustle in a club many moons ago , when I came off the floor, this guy approached me and said " I wish you could teach my players to move their feet like that "... he turned out to be a very high profile college Basketball coach .( No.. I never got asked ) .
  14. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Highland dance - which is generally taught to pre-pubscent girls, is an excellent primer for WCS. It has all technicallity of Ballet, but with an upright,centered frame that that really looks good in WCS.

    For some reason ballet dancers then to twist their upper torso at the end of the slot (explanations please) while Highland dance trained people stay square on.

    It's a pity Highland Dance is no longer taught as a military activity (its origin as dance was as a form of combat fitness training)

  15. Veronic

    Veronic New Member


    hi everyone!
    does anybody know if there is an acrobatic rock'n roll school in London?
    I used to train in Italy, but since one month I had to move to london and i cant find any place where i could continue training.
    please if you know something let me know!
    thank u so much!
  16. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

  17. DavidB

    DavidB Member

    Your best bet would be one of the University dance clubs. The only club I know for sure that is still active is Cambridge University.

    In London, Imperial College used to have a fairly active Rock'n'Roll class as part of the dance club, although their website suggests that it is no longer run. http://www.union.ic.ac.uk/rcc/dance/index.html

    University College, or University Of London Union may also have something.

    However if you trained seriously in Italy you will be very disappointed in the standard in the UK. You might end up teaching someone (probably an ex-gymnast) from scratch.

    As other people have mentioned, there are very active social jive / lindy / rock'n'roll / WCS scenes in London. (There is a big event tonight in Woking, with Kyle & Sarah from the US performing). Usually aerials are banned for safety reasons at most venues.

    If you are still interested in aerials, then there are still some options. There are some competitions in these other styles, and some divisions do allow aerials. Unfortunately there are no regular classes.

    The other option is exhibition dancing (where you get 4 minutes or so to do whatever you want). There aren't any full time teachers in London, but there are often visiting teachers that can help. This is the route I ended up taking.
  18. steverocker

    steverocker New Member

    acrobatic rock'n'roll London/Cambridge

    So far as I know the only acrobatic rock'n'roll club in UK is the Cambridge University RnR Team. I am coaching this club and intending to establish my own club "2Rock" in London, hopefully this year.

    You can register at facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=183247015598 and I will let you know when it will be ready to begin.

  19. Robin12

    Robin12 New Member

    On the social dancing side...

    When we play dances, we sort of sneak in rock tunes that are easy to dance to, then start making it slowly trickier. Some examples would be "Old Time Rock And Roll" (WC swing), "Louie Louie" (Cha Cha), "Rock Around the Clock" (EC swing), and "All My Loving" (quickstep). Then as the dancers get used to the the different sound, it slowly gets more rock-like.

    It helps to have a drummer that knows how to bend the beat to be more dancable.
  20. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Acrobatic Rock'n'Roll is derived from the aerials part of Lindy Hop, and is not a social dance.

    Rock'n'Roll can also mean just swing dancing, usually rockabilly/modern jive style, i.e the simplified versions of swing.

    The basic step in Acrobatic Rock'n'Roll is called a nine-step basic. And the kicks are high, as others have mentioned.


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