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  1. #21
    Member onela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsps View Post
    I'm such a bad shimmier and have limited class time so I have to try to visualize how to get a stronger shimmy by watching dancer clips.
    I haven't contributed to the thread I started too much so I just wanted to quote this as I feel the same way- I am wanting to improve my shimmies generally, but I am also terrified to get too carried away with my practice at home and drill them incorrectly and then have to re-learn them anyway :/

  2. #22
    V.I.P. Tarik Sultan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsps View Post
    Is the main focus in straight leg on the muscles in the back of the leg (hamstrings) and the glutes???

    I'm such a bad shimmier and have limited class time so I have to try to visualize how to get a stronger shimmy by watching dancer clips.

    In the past I've made sure to pull my toes up and bend my knees so I can isolate the proper muscles.
    Its generated by the hamstrings. The glutes are relaxed and natural. Using your hamstrings, shift the legs back and forth alternately. What you should see is a wabble in the hips. Do it slowly and over time gradually build up your speed.

  3. #23
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Here's my contribution to the discussion, for what it's worth.

    1. I agree with Tarik in that what we seem to generally call a "straight-leg shimmy" is a contraction of the hamstrings. If you sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you and your hands under your knee, and then you bend your knee, you will notice that the muscular contraction is from the shortening of the muscles behind the knee. Let gravity allow the knee to flop back down to the ground and you have your "straight-leg, hamstring driven" shimmy.

    When you stand up and do the above, you will notice (for the most part) the belly button moving from side to side rather than the hips moving up and down.

    2. You can also keep the knees in a small bend and still manage a hamstring contraction. It may be a little counter-intuitive at first, admittedly. This shimmy will give a belly button bounce up and down as well as side to side.

    I have a much easier time layering vertical movements with a hamstring-driven shimmy if I keep my knees a little more bent than normal. This allows space for the hip to move upwards.


    Onela -- if you want to practice your shimmies, get a metronome. Set the metronome to a slow speed and practice your shimmy for 5 minutes or so. Over the next few days, practice at that speed and a slightly faster speed. GRADUALLY increase the speed of the metronome, but do it gradually.

  4. #24
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissVega View Post
    Yah I think I video would clear a lot of things up lol. Do you mean freeze as in stop moving all together, or freeze as in vibrating shimmy?
    I mean a vibrating shimmy.

  5. #25
    Member gypsy's Avatar
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    So, I'm hearing weight is centered, but slightly more on balls of feet than heel, and shimmy comes from hamstrings.
    Is there anything to do to strengthen hamsting control? My calves get sore when I practice this shimmy.

  6. #26
    V.I.P. Tarik Sultan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy View Post
    So, I'm hearing weight is centered, but slightly more on balls of feet than heel, and shimmy comes from hamstrings.
    Is there anything to do to strengthen hamsting control? My calves get sore when I practice this shimmy.
    Your calves shouldn't hurt. I'd suggest stretching out first and after. But everything should be relaxed. Start out slow. Find the top speed at which you can do the movement while retaining propper form in a relaxed manner. It might be very slow at first. Be aware of any tension in your body as you do this. Breath deeply and as you exhale, try to release the tension by just relaxing and letting go of any tension in the muscles. Remember though that this is a process. By using the muscles correctly you will naturally strengthen them as as they get stronger, yor coordination will increase and you'll gradually begin to increase speed.

  7. #27
    Junior Member Zanbaka's Avatar
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    Hi Onela,

    Many people may think this movement is controversial because they may have learned a whacky version where knee joints are hyper-extended into a (locked) position and force is directed in a backward direction. I think we can all agree that it makes sense to never put force on your knees in a direction that they weren’t meant to bend.

    It’s valuable to have options and more movement vocabulary in your arsenal, so think of this shimmy as one more tool to express your music when you dance. It definitely has a different look and texture than glute or oblique emphatic shimmies.

    Here’s my take on the movement… I Begin in Basic Dance Posture and then alternate knees in opposition from a bent to soft position. Feel how the quadriceps and other muscles surrounding the knee immediately tone up to help support the joint in both the soft and bent position. This firming of the muscles around the knee also aids in controlling the movement. With the Leg Shimmy, you have a Contradictory Movement.

    You want to stay slightly relaxed in the knee joint, but also support the joint from above and below with surrounding muscles of the legs and also contain the range of motion. Think of keeping the hip sockets relaxed with ease of movement. The movement is
    not so much about the range of motion in the hips.

    A little goes a long way with the leg movement. Try to keep the range between soft knee and bent knee small. Remember your Basic Dance Posture and especially keep even weight between the toes and the heels with feet flat on the floor.

    Hope that helps!

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