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Thread: Shimmies

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    Hey everyone, new here

    I've been studying Raks Sharqi since June. I think I am doing pretty well considering my class is only once a week, but I still have a hard time with shimmies. I know I need to stretch alot. My teacher told me I'm way too tight, and def need to loosen up. I also seem to have a hard time not lifting my heels off the floor, but I think that might be due to me being to tight. I seem to shimmy good for a lil bit, then kind of jam up and lose my vibration.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on how to improve shimmies besides stretching?

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    The problem usually isn't lack of flexibility but lack of muscle control. To shimmy you need to be working in the old brain - but to learn to shimmy ou need to use your new brain. The trick is to be able to swap over.

    I'm not sure what type of shimmy you are learning - there are dozens - but all start the same way - slowly. Spend time working at half speed - perfectly. Repeat lots. Move up to full time - then double time. This might take weeks.

    Next go for endurance. Shimmy for a minute. Then two etc.

    Don't allow yourself to get into spastic jerking around or timeless shaking. If that happens, stop and start slow again and build it back up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Afrit View Post
    The problem usually isn't lack of flexibility but lack of muscle control. To shimmy you need to be working in the old brain - but to learn to shimmy ou need to use your new brain. The trick is to be able to swap over.

    I'm not sure what type of shimmy you are learning - there are dozens - but all start the same way - slowly. Spend time working at half speed - perfectly. Repeat lots. Move up to full time - then double time. This might take weeks.

    Next go for endurance. Shimmy for a minute. Then two etc.

    Don't allow yourself to get into spastic jerking around or timeless shaking. If that happens, stop and start slow again and build it back up.

    Hey Afrit,

    Thanks for your advice I'm not familiar with other shimmies, as this is the only one I've been taught in class. The one I am learning is, feet together (as much as possible, mine spread out a little) and knees bent, moving them back and forth. I am having a hard time not keeping my heels planted and just using my knees. When I go to move my knees, my heels automatically come off the floor. I also notice my hips don't really move that much as I am doing it. Today I am working on keeping my heels on the floor as much as possible.

    In class the teacher goes pretty fast, but I will practice slowly at home.

    Is there anything else I can do to improve muscle control besides practice? Certain excercises maybe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkSugar View Post
    The one I am learning is, feet together (as much as possible, mine spread out a little) and knees bent, moving them back and forth. I am having a hard time not keeping my heels planted and just using my knees. When I go to move my knees, my heels automatically come off the floor. I also notice my hips don't really move that much as I am doing it. Today I am working on keeping my heels on the floor as much as possible
    If the knees are going back and forward - as opposed to bending and straightening - then you are most likely using one based on the Egyptian "straight-legged" shimmy. With this shimmy your hips don't move much - one of the reasons I don't like it that much - and it is quite hard for beginners.

    Try sitting on the floor, legs out in front of you, and lift one knee lightly up then push into the floor. Alternate. Your heels should stay in teh same spot.

    However, if you are lifting your heels off I suspect you are doing quite a different movement. If this is the movement you are meant to be doing - ie bending and straightening your legs (to lift your hips up and up), start with both legs quite bent. Now push your right heel down while straightening your right leg. Now, as you relax your right leg, push your left heel down while straightening your left leg.

    The kicker? After you get the second shimmy by bending and straightening your legs, you get to generate the movement in your waist instead. But that's for another day - a bit down the track

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    If the knees are going back and forward - as opposed to bending and straightening - then you are most likely using one based on the Egyptian "straight-legged" shimmy. With this shimmy your hips don't move much - one of the reasons I don't like it that much - and it is quite hard for beginners.

    Try sitting on the floor, legs out in front of you, and lift one knee lightly up then push into the floor. Alternate. Your heels should stay in teh same spot.

    However, if you are lifting your heels off I suspect you are doing quite a different movement. If this is the movement you are meant to be doing - ie bending and straightening your legs (to lift your hips up and up), start with both legs quite bent. Now push your right heel down while straightening your right leg. Now, as you relax your right leg, push your left heel down while straightening your left leg.

    The kicker? After you get the second shimmy by bending and straightening your legs, you get to generate the movement in your waist instead. But that's for another day - a bit down the track
    Hi Kashmir,

    Wow you really know your stuff Thank you for the advice. I am definitely going to try what you suggested. I am studying Raqs Sharqi. I don't know if that helps you determine the shimmy I am doing lol. With this shimmy, I am told that you keep your knees slightly bent the whole time, and it's a back and forth motion(sorry I am having hard time describing this) but your heels cannot come off the floor, which is what I am having a hard time with. I tend to keep lifting them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkSugar View Post
    Hi Kashmir,

    Wow you really know your stuff Thank you for the advice. I am definitely going to try what you suggested. I am studying Raqs Sharqi. I don't know if that helps you determine the shimmy I am doing lol. With this shimmy, I am told that you keep your knees slightly bent the whole time, and it's a back and forth motion(sorry I am having hard time describing this) but your heels cannot come off the floor, which is what I am having a hard time with. I tend to keep lifting them.
    Thanks - just hang in there. Sounds like it is the Modern Egyptian (although I'm afraid you'll learn many more shimmies in raqs sharqi yet)

    Have you asked your teacher if s/he can spot your problem?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Thanks - just hang in there. Sounds like it is the Modern Egyptian (although I'm afraid you'll learn many more shimmies in raqs sharqi yet)

    Have you asked your teacher if s/he can spot your problem?
    I did ask her a few times and she thinks it has alot to do with my hamstrings and my achilles tendons being too tight. I have a hard time bending my knees without my heels coming off the floor, so she recommended lots of stretching. I can get a good flow going for awhile sometimes but then I can't keep the rhythm going for too long. I also tend to lift my heels up as my knees are going back and forth. I find it difficult to just move my knees without lifting my heels. It feels kind of awkward. I notice if my feet are apart and my legs are straight I can shimmy better, but that's not the way we shimmy in class.

    I've been running around all day today, so I still have yet to stretch. I haven't tried what you suggested yet in your other reply, but I am definitely going to give it whirl lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Thanks - just hang in there. Sounds like it is the Modern Egyptian (although I'm afraid you'll learn many more shimmies in raqs sharqi yet)

    Have you asked your teacher if s/he can spot your problem?
    I actually just tried pushing my right heel down while straightening my right leg and vice versa. I think I am getting what you're saying. I seem to be moving alot better by just trying that little practice you told me

    I tried the floor excercise you told me about, and my heels did stay in the same place. I am going to keep practicing this! I'm very excited, thank you so much for the advice!!!
    Last edited by PinkSugar; 11-17-2009 at 11:07 PM.

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    Hey, Pink! I'm a beginner, too -- what I'm exploring to help me with a shimmy like this is shifting my weight just a little bit back, onto my heels and out of my toes. It helps me feel the floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dhuma View Post
    Hey, Pink! I'm a beginner, too -- what I'm exploring to help me with a shimmy like this is shifting my weight just a little bit back, onto my heels and out of my toes. It helps me feel the floor.
    Hey Dhuma!

    I will definitely keep that in mind! Thanks How long have you been taking classes?

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