Unlike in the west coast swing starter step, the dancers in this jitterbug video are not in closed position (his hand on her back). The rhythm of the feet however is the same.

1b. Triple Step Basic Step in jitterbug

The video shows the same basic move as on the previous page but with a significant variation. Instead of taking just one step to each side, the couple is taking three steps (called triple steps) to each side. Conveniently "triple step" has three syllables which corresponds neatly to 3 physical steps:

Tri - Ple - Step (3 syllables, 3 steps)

So, when you want to change the basic step to a fancier snappier basic step, replace

Step - Step - Backstep (from previous page)

with

Tri - Ple Step, Tri-Ple Step Backstep (in the above video)

and our diagram becomes

Stepping through Jitterbug's Six Even Counts using Triple Steps

Counts
------>

one
two
three
four
five
six

Men Do
------>

Tri-ple-step (left-right-left)Tri-ple-step (right-left-right)back (left)forward (right)

Women Do
------>

Tri-ple-step (right-left-right)Tri-ple-step (left-right-left) back (right)forward (left)

To save the time of paging back, here's the diagram from the previous page showing the use of single steps instead of triple steps:

Stepping through Jitterbug's Six Even Counts (single steps, not triple steps)
(From previous page for comparison purposes)

Counts
------>

one
two
three
four
five
six

Men Do
------>

Left-Right-back (left)forward (right)

Women Do
------>

right-left- back (right)forward (left)

What is the same in the above 2 diagrams is that the 5th & 6th counts are identical -- both are "back-forward" steps or "back-steps" or "rock steps", whatever one wants to call them. It is generally true that everything in Jitterbug happens on the first 4 counts, and then after that there's the backstep. The difference here occurs in the first 4 counts wherein the triple step pattern involves 6 steps (3 to each side, 3 steps per 2 counts) and the single step requires only 2 steps (1 to each side, 1 step per 2 counts). If this difference is vague, the next video shows the single step basic sequence and the triple step basic sequence one after the other.

Why do a triple step where only 1 would do? Two main reasons:

  • 1) some songs are slow and to do 3 steps in the same amount of time as 1 step adds some speed. It is generally true that triple steps are done to songs with slower tempos; and

  • 2) if you want to travel around the floor, more ground may be covered with three steps than with one. If you want to jump ahead, a video of the traveling triple step can be seen on page 1g.

The next page shows a close-up of the feet doing both the single step basic (meaning one 1 step for the 1st 2 counts, and 1 step for the 2nd 2 counts) and the triple step basic (meaning 3 steps for the 1st 2 counts, and 3 steps for the 2nd 2 counts) and illustrates the option of combining both single step jitterbug with triple step jitterbug within the same song, whenever you like.

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