The UK Swing Scene – Modern Jive

The popularity of the swing movement in the US in the 30s opened the door for many other styles of music throughout the world. The UK was no exception to this. One of the most popular movements to come from this in the UK was Modern Jive. This style of music is still popular today, and inspired an entirely new genre of music.

Style of Dance

This style incorporates fancy foot work with fast paced music. The style can be said to be a blend of classic swing and rock. It is typically a male led dance, similar to the 2 step. The style can be rigid, and is difficult to learn, but most people have a great time learning.

Dance Classes

Regardless of where you happen to be in the UK, Modern Jive dance classes can be found almost everywhere. This style of dance combines several styles in to a new, more modern form of swing that focuses on foot work. The style was first popularized in the 80s in the UK, but the swinging scene in the UK really started to embrace the movement in the 90s.


For those who have excelled in classes, competitions are a good way to have fun and supplement your income. These competitions can be found all over the world, but are most popular in European countries.

Vacations and Holidays

Another idea for those in to the scene is to participate in a weekender. These are dance focused vacations that typically take place over a weekend. Different organizations throughout the country will host very large scale weekenders, sometimes drawing in thousands of dancers.

The Real Swing Era

With the popularity of jazz growing in clubs through the 20s, a new style popped up later in the decade. This new style of jazz featured edgier arrangements that pulled the brass and wind instruments in to the forefront of the music. This style also commonly used orchestrated music, leading to the name ‘big band swing’. It wasn’t uncommon for swing groups to have 15 or more members on different instruments.

Continued Success

Even with WWII, swing music remained popular well in to the 50s. The Depression did hurt the nightclub scene, and many musicians went on strike, but as soon as the strike was over the music hit the streets again in full force. The swing movement made way for several types of music. Artists like Frank Sinatra kept a swing feel in their music in to the rock era. Country music artists like Bob Willis incorporated swing in to country, creating the Western swing movement. Moving forward, gypsy swing and rockabilly hit the scene, both using swinger music as the base for the new styles.

Swing Today

Even today swing music remains at the forefront of pop culture. Groups like the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddies have made a way in to the mainstream with big band swing sounds. The newer styles of swing include a punk or ska, and even some rock mixed in with large instrumentation. The 90s created a resurgence and the neo-swing era was born. Swing music started to be used in mainstream media, including popular movies and commercials. By the end of the decade neo-swing had made it’s way in to the Billboard charts.