How to shimmy

Yara

New member
Hello
When i do shimmies i always move my knees straight not straight straight not straight ... it makes my hips do shimmies.

My teacher says that i have to do shimmies only with my hips and not my knees not coming from my knees.
How can i do this ?

Thank you

Yara
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Boy, that's hard to explain without demonstrating but it is worth while going to the trouble to learn a hip shimmy done at the hip and not the knees. Hard to shimmy walk if you depend on knees for the shimmy.

A shimmy is a very tight movement that comes from inside the body rather than at the edges of each hips. Imagine holding a pencil at the center and wiggling it so that both ends move rapidly. You couldn't get that rapid movement of the ends by holding the pencil at each end and moving the ends. You shimmy your hips from the center of your abdomen.

Hope this makes sense. If not, I'll try again or maybe someone else will jump in with clearer terms.

I'll bet three quarters of the dancers out there practice shimmies while driving in a car so try this: sit in a chair. Now attempt a hip shimmy by shifting your weight back and forth on your butt bones without moving your upper body from side to side. It's a very small shift. When you feel like you're getting it, take your feet off the ground and try again.
 

Daimona

Moderator
There are so many different types of shimmies, so I wouldn't know where to start except from searching for older threads in this forum for help.
Found this thread: How many shimmies are there where Kashmir so kindly explain from which muscles different shimmies are generated.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
There are so many different types of shimmies, so I wouldn't know where to start except from searching for older threads in this forum for help.
Found this thread: How many shimmies are there where Kashmir so kindly explain from which muscles different shimmies are generated.
Truth. It took me years to master shimmies, and the darn things still give me problems at unexpected times. Heck, they give me problems at EXPECTED times too! It sounds like your teacher wants you to use the obliques to drive your shimmy - which is my preferred technique "most" of the time. Your knees will still "go along for the ride" and flex in and out, but the driving power isn't from there. Oh, and make sure you're not completely straightening your knees at any time with your shimmy, regardless of what's driving it. You'll lose the shimmy for sure, and it *can* cause knee injury (if you're completely straightening the knees).
 

Yara

New member
Thank you for your response,
What do you mean by shifting your weight back and force ? Like go ahead go behind, ?but isnt supposed to be on the other axe way side ?

Also, if i do little move of the knees my hips moves a little in term of going up, but if i moves more my knees, bend them more my hips side goes a lot more high, i don't know which one is good ?

Thank you !

Yara
 

Yara

New member
Oh thank you,
Nobody told me that i shouldn't make my knees too straight .
She wants for example that if i do shimmies, when i move in the space and i am like a frog (sorry hahaha i don't know the names of anatomy words) like sitting on a chair with knees opens a lot, at this time my shimmies should be working . I don't know if it is clear what i have wrotten .
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I'm sorry. I meant side to side. Of course, there is a style I learned as an African shimmy that requires shifting forward and back but let's not worry about that right now.

In addition to sitting down to practice, you can hold onto a barre or the back of a chair and practice doing shimmies while standing on one leg. Can't use your knees that way!

Shimmies came so easily to me that I never had to think twice about how I did them until I had to teach them. Rollups- now those were a challenge. I'm not sure I ever perfected them. ;)

Yara, it helps to stay loose while you practice shimmies. When you concentrate with all your might, your muscles stiffen up all over your body and clamp down on your ability to move your hips.


Thank you for your response,
What do you mean by shifting your weight back and force ? Like go ahead go behind, ?but isnt supposed to be on the other axe way side ?

Also, if i do little move of the knees my hips moves a little in term of going up, but if i moves more my knees, bend them more my hips side goes a lot more high, i don't know which one is good ?

Thank you !

Yara
 
Just to be clear, though, there is NOTHING wrong with using your knees to create a shimmy. It's a perfectly valid technique. In fact, in my experience, it's the one that most of my teachers have favoured.

It's just that there are other ways to create a shimmy, and each one has a slightly different quality.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Heck, I just learned something new in class last nite regarding shimmies. I won't bore everyone with a bunch of details that probably wouldn't make sense anyway, but it has to do with doing a "regular 4/4" shimmy while walking. Something that has eluded me for years, I always want to do a 3/4 of one type or another to walk with. I now at least *understand* what this teacher is trying to tell me, and can kinda-sorta do it now.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Nothing wrong with knowing how to do a knee-driven shimmy. The problem comes if knee-driven style is the only shimmy a dancer is capable of. I suspect many teachers favor it because it is the easiest shimmy to teach. I didn't teach it because the shimmies that extend from one's core are more versatile and leave one's legs free to travel.

Just to be clear, though, there is NOTHING wrong with using your knees to create a shimmy. It's a perfectly valid technique. In fact, in my experience, it's the one that most of my teachers have favoured.

It's just that there are other ways to create a shimmy, and each one has a slightly different quality.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Nothing wrong with knowing how to do a knee-driven shimmy. The problem comes if knee-driven style is the only shimmy a dancer is capable of. I suspect many teachers favor it because it is the easiest shimmy to teach. I didn't teach it because the shimmies that extend from one's core are more versatile and leave one's legs free to travel.
For *ME*, the knee driven shimmy is the hardest to do. Yea, its easy enough to teach, but to this day I have problems tightening up and losing it. Its only recently that I've discovered the oblique driven shimmy that not only do I not lose it, it is far more versatile as Shanazel points out. I wish someone had taught it to me years ago - or at least mentioned it - as I would have learned to walk with a 4/4 shimmy at least 10 years ago!

With all that said, I find I can vary the quality by varying the "drive". Full obliques looks (*very* subtly) different from full knee, and one can drive with both at the same time to varying degrees. 50/50, 60/40, 40/60, 75/25, 25/75, whatever! A recent discovery for me that I'm still playing with!

Oh, and this post isn't to infer that an oblique shimmy is the only core driven shimmy - I've used Persian for years, esp. for traveling when I didn't want a 3/4. Persian looks a bit different though...
 
Last edited:

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
And far more complex than anyone would ever imagine! We had a fairly experienced ballerina drop in our class a couple of weeks ago. She was amazed at how hard our dance is!
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
One of my students was a retired professional ballerina who now teaches dance classes at the rec center. She once told me that belly dance was the hardest thing she'd ever done- and she's no one dance style girl, either.
 
One of my students was a retired professional ballerina who now teaches dance classes at the rec center. She once told me that belly dance was the hardest thing she'd ever done- and she's no one dance style girl, either.
I can understand why that would be, because ballet is all about tightening your muscles to initiate a movement. I remember when I moved from ballet to jazz ballet, it was a revelation to discover that I could initiate movement by relaxing some muscles. It's hard to explain, sort of "relaxing with control". It's where earthy, juicy movements come from. Jazz ballet has it, belly dance takes it to the next degree.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I interpreted it as, "Okay. You can do a knee shimmy. Now quit using it as the standard technique in order to concentrate on learning a new one."
 

Yara

New member
Thanks for all the response !'it is interesting !

My teacher don't like that we do knees shimmies because she says that we can't travel or do other stuff in the same time while having vibrations.

I will try oblique shimmies.
 

Daimona

Moderator
When I first mastered it, I've never had problems travelling with thigh and "knee-driven" shimmies.
But it is never wrong to learn and master several types of shimmies.
 
Top