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  1. #31
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunyah View Post
    I see a definite difference between the shoulder shimmy and the chest shimmy. They look different and they are generated with different areas of the body. What is so difficult about calling one a shoulder shimmy and one a chest shimmy?
    The difficulty comes in the fact that in a chest shimmy, both the chest and the shoulders move. In a so-called shoulder shimmy, both the chest and the shoulders move. So it's a very odd way to distinguish between one another, hence why it creates so much confusion (and then there's even more confusion when people start to claim that during a chest shimmy the shoulders don't move and during a shoulder shimmy the chest doesn't move).

    Which one is which? Even the people who think there is such a big difference can't agree, and I have still yet to see the difference pointed out in video. For example in the video someone posted of Nagwa Fouad's chest shimmy, it was claimed that her shoulders were "barely moving" therefore it was a chest shimmy. However when I checked the video, I saw her shoulders moving in a way that, by the descriptions given here, would fall under the "shoulder shimmy" category.

    If the distinction is meant to simplify, I don't think it's doing a great job of it because it seems to cause a lot of confusion and there is a lot of disagreement about what's what.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dunyah View Post
    But if there is no difference to you, you can still call them both a chest shimmy if you like, we don't have standardized names for things in our dance.
    And that's exactly what I call it. To me a chest shimmy is a chest shimmy regardless of the subtle intricacies in the technique used to achieve it.

  2. #32
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    The difficulty comes in the fact that in a chest shimmy, both the chest and the shoulders move. In a so-called shoulder shimmy, both the chest and the shoulders move.
    <snip>
    If the distinction is meant to simplify, I don't think it's doing a great job of it because it seems to cause a lot of confusion and there is a lot of disagreement about what's what.
    In a pure shoulder shimmy the chest movement is due to the flesh going along for the ride. In a chest shimmy the chest/torso is moving in space. In practice many dancers use part of one part of another depending on effect.

    I make the distinction due to the number of people who teach a "shoulder" shimmy by getting people to twist their backs - with their shoulders rigidly in place. This can be a hard habit to break, so it helps to be able to say "Here we call that a 'chest shimmy'. I want you to shimmy isolating your shoulders, like this".

    Worse I have seen two attempts to "teach" "shoulder shimmies" by punching the air - bicep method? In this both shoulder and chest move - as do the hands. One of the ugliest moves I've ever seen.

  3. #33
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    In a pure shoulder shimmy the chest movement is due to the flesh going along for the ride. In a chest shimmy the chest/torso is moving in space. In practice many dancers use part of one part of another depending on effect.
    I know what you mean but if I want to get really nitpicky, I can say the chest flesh really technically is just going along for the ride in both movements, because boobs don't just jiggle on their own! And whether you are focusing on the shoulders or the chest as the "driver" of the movement, really in both cases the movement is being powered primarily by various muscles of the upper back.

    But whatever word helps get the imagery across... that's the most important part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    I make the distinction due to the number of people who teach a "shoulder" shimmy by getting people to twist their backs - with their shoulders rigidly in place. This can be a hard habit to break, so it helps to be able to say "Here we call that a 'chest shimmy'. I want you to shimmy isolating your shoulders, like this".
    Interesting. I've never seen it taught that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Worse I have seen two attempts to "teach" "shoulder shimmies" by punching the air - bicep method? In this both shoulder and chest move - as do the hands. One of the ugliest moves I've ever seen.
    That's hilarious! (also never seen it taught that way)

  4. #34
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    That's the way I was "taught" (and can I just say OW!) to do shoulder shimmies.

    I watched a lot of golden age videos and broke down how they were doing the moves (I've done this with a lot of the moves I teach, btw) and there was a torso-twist thing going on, but the energy seemed to be in the shoulder region. So when I teach it, I begin by teaching a "torso twist" then when we speed it up, for students to focus their energy in the shoulder region, which I then call a "shoulder shimmy" ('which should really be called a chest shimmy because the shoulders are just coming along for the ride') and it also has a speed limit because boobs go ow if we race with this move.

    I don't teach the "punch your shoulders" method, although the general idea does come into play as a "shoulder accent" later on in the course.

  5. #35
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    But I keep seeing people claiming that there is a chest/breast shimmy, and a shoulder shimmy that is somehow completely different. But I've yet to see someone demonstrate the difference to me, or point me to a specific video where a dancer is doing one, and then another video where a dancer is doing the other.
    The difference lies in which muscles you use to power the shimmy. If you power it from the muscles that are around the height of the bra strap, you'll get noticeably more breast movement than if you power it with the muscles higher up across the top of the upper back.

    Either way, the breasts do move. But the bra-strap-level shimmies generate a lot more movement than the ones using muscles higher up at the shoulder line.

    I think both are fine. It just depends on the music and the dancer's personal preferences.

    I have been in a workshop where an Egyptian teacher (can't remember if it was Aida Nour or Dina) was teaching the use of the larger chest shimmy in her choreography. She saw someone in the class doing the smaller upper-back shimmy across teh shoulder line and corrected her. So, the difference is discernible to a practiced eye.
    Last edited by shiradotnet; 07-13-2013 at 03:26 PM.

  6. #36
    V.I.P. Tarik Sultan's Avatar
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    All this fuss about nothing. Sorry, that's just the way I see it. For one thing, Egyptians don't split hairs the way we do. Its all the same move. But understand that with every move there are variations and there is usually several ways that it can be generated. How much swing you get depends firstly on how big your "kids" are, what the music is doing and how you choose to interprit it. If you want it really tight and rapid because you're picking up something in the music, your going to generate the move one way, if the music calls for something bigger and earthier, you're going to execute it another way. This is ture even with men. we got the big swing and then we've got the tight chickadee in the bird bath, (you ever see little bitds in a bird bath...). It all depends what you are trying to emphasize.

    The controversey comes from people who feel the need to aplogise for the sensuality in the dance. Look people, it is what it is. There is an element of sensuality in the dance AND???? Why do we need to apologise for it? Just like cooking we can controle whetaher or not we turn up the heat, or turn it down, but there is always some heat, (other wise you end up with a pot of raw flesh and who the hell wants that???)

    People who will want to knock us about this need a reality check. ballarinas can run around cocking up their legs all over the damn place, while a guy runs his hands over their entire body, then stand their crotch knee deep in crotch and that's fabulous art. Ballroom dancers can prance out there damn near nakid, with their entire ass flapping in the breeze, "what wonderfull technique". Pop dancers..... are just 'hoes dry humpin on everything and everyone, modern dancers will run out there either completely nakid or with their tits hanging out for the whole damn world to see. I heard of this one performance, that got funding mind you called Yams up my grandma's ass, where she took a yam and well.... but for them, no matter how bizar, "what was the message you think she was trying to communicate". But god forbid we let a tit swing a little too far to the left or the right and the whole damn world is comming to an end!

    I think its high time we just name bullshit for what it is. Just call it out! We've come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. There is still work to be done to get over prejudices where artforms by ethnic peoples are concerned and the subtle and not so subtle prejudices, stereotypes and racism that generated them in the first place. When gyms are offering stripersize classes I can't believe that we are really feeling uptight about what we do. Honey, the dancing you see on prime time T.V. in a music video is FAR more risque than even Dina at her most provocative.
    Puleeze! Tit is rediculous!
    Last edited by Tarik Sultan; 07-13-2013 at 04:55 PM.

  7. #37
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Egyptians may not make distinctions but those of us in different styles do. To quote Dunya:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunyah View Post
    In American Cabaret style, the shoulder shimmy is preferred. In Egyptian style the shimmy moves a bit lower and includes the chest area. I've seen clips of Nagua Fouad and Fifi Abdo doing the breast shimmy, but don't have the links at my finger tips.
    This isn't racism, subtle or blatant. It's a stylistic difference that some of us see and others don't. The ones who don't see the difference don't think it exists or matters. It matters to me. I show my students the difference between shoulder shimmies and breast shimmies and so far I haven't had anyone confuse the two simply because the breasts also move during a shoulder shimmy.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 07-13-2013 at 11:29 PM.

  8. #38
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarik Sultan View Post
    The controversey comes from people who feel the need to aplogise for the sensuality in the dance.
    Sometimes. Other times people will raise technique-related discussions simply because they're looking for help understanding something a teacher said in class, or something that was taught on a DVD they're working with. Or, Person #1 says something in a discussion that differs from Person #2's experience, so Person #2 jumps in to ask about it or challenge it. And some people just like to nerd out with in-depth discussions of technique. Those are all legitimate reasons to participate. I don't think it's useful to belittle people for asking questions or joining the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarik Sultan View Post
    ballarinas can run around cocking up their legs all over the damn place, while a guy runs his hands over their entire body, then stand their crotch knee deep in crotch and that's fabulous art. Ballroom dancers can prance out there damn near nakid, with their entire ass flapping in the breeze, "what wonderfull technique".
    While I agree with you that there's often a double standard with respect to how people respond to belly dance versus how they respond to other dance forms, I don't think it's helpful to use inflammatory wording to make the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarik Sultan View Post
    But god forbid we let a tit swing a little too far to the left or the right and the whole damn world is comming to an end!
    Or, maybe some people are just personally shy, or self-conscious about their bodies. Many belly dance students are simply not emotionally ready to put it all out there. It's not so much a matter of worrying about prudes in the audience, but rather a matter of worrying about how much uninhibited they are emotionally ready to be. I don't think it's helpful to mock people who are hesitant to do a more extroverted performance.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tarik Sultan View Post
    There is still work to be done to get over prejudices where artforms by ethnic peoples are concerned and the subtle and not so subtle prejudices, stereotypes and racism that generated them in the first place. When gyms are offering stripersize classes I can't believe that we are really feeling uptight about what we do.
    I agree, there is still a lot of work to be done in overturning the stereotypes that many members of the public still hold toward our art form. And even as we continue to work on that, our efforts are undermined from within by people who mix belly dance with burlesque.

  9. #39
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    And that's enough to warrant considering it a completely different movement?

    It uses essentially the same muscles, in slightly different ways. The look of the move is essentially the same (regardless of whether you're attempting to drive the movement from the "shoulders" or from the chest, there will be movement on both the chest AND the shoulders), only slightly different. So what's the point of all the differentiating?

    I get that the technique is a tad different. But when people talk about there being some "huge difference," or it being "a completely different move," I don't think that's accurate. You can do a vertical 8 with your feet flat on the floor or you can do a vertical 8 by pushing your heels off the ground. The end result is still a vertical 8. The technique may be different but the different techniques are simply creating different variations of the same move, not two completely separate moves.

    So you can do a chest shimmy by thinking about "pushing" with your shoulders (and if your back is flat against the wall it'll stay that way) or you can do a chest shimmy by twisting your upper torso (and your back will twist and not stay flat against the wall). The end result is still a chest shimmy. The difference is even less visible in this move than it is in a move like a vertical 8 in my example above, but if these hairs must be split then why not just call it different techniques to achieve different variations of a move, instead of insisting it's a completely different move?
    I don't identify them (upper body shimmies) as being two different moves. All the native styles use basically the same movement vocabulary but the technique used to produce the "same" movement often have differences. Its one of the aspects that make Turkish Turkish and Egyptian Egyptian.
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  10. #40
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Sitting here on the sofa I can move just my shoulders forward and back, or even just one shoulder, in what feels like a shrug motion but in a front/back direction rather than up/down. No spine twisting as per my standard chest shimmy whatsoever. Different movement. So yeah, speeded up I guess that's a different shimmy rather than an extreme on the spectrum of "how far up the spine is the twist and how much am I letting the girls fly free".

    I call off topic for a lot of this though Breast shimmies is different. With shoulders only they are only going to pick up a bit of motion, but for chest ones as has been said they are inevitably along for the whole ride. And then there is a spectrum from hold 'em high on controlled pectorals (or whatever the muscles are I dunno not good at that stuff), and drop your shoulders forward and shake the lot. Big difference. The first is no problem, the second I would say is not consistent with a belly dance aesthetic. Or makes you look like a stripper. Somewhere in between are a whole bunch of degrees of cheeky boob wobblage which can be absolutely fine in the right context. Trying to expunge them from belly dance would be terrible.

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