Teachers, what do you teach to Beginners

elle21

New member
If, however, you want to have nice clean and sharp shimmies, 3/4 shimmies, drops, whatever -- do yourself a favor and buy a metronome. A cheap one is like $4.99 and it's WELL worth it. Get out the metronome, wind it up, and set it for a low speed. Like, a boring death crawl speed, okay? Seriously. Practice the movement for maybe 1-3 minutes -- whatever you need. Does it look sloppy? Stay at that speed and continue practicing through the week/month. Once you get it where it looks nice and clean -- then and only then should you click the metronome up a notch (just one!) and practice at that speed.
Aziyade, you're a legend, such a simple idea that it's ingenious!

I've been trying to sort out the sloppy mess that is my shimmy. I initially learnt to shimmy the "just shake everything really fast" method and have since been struggling to unlearn and learn the correct/controlled way. So I took your advice and (being the cheap cybergeek that I am) downloaded a metronome programme off the internet. Only this one has an "accelerator" built in so you can speed it up however many bpm you want after however many bars you want. So for example after 4 bars of 4 beats, tempo will increase. Been having a go "shimmying" real slow and speeding it up every day. I wouldn't say I have a full speed shimmy yet but I can see it coming and I've got CONTROL, yay!!!!

So wanted to say thank you for the inspirational idea! Shimmy queen in the making!:D
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
OOOH! OOOH! Aziyade is a genius, da bomb and all sorts of stuff. My husband is a musician, so of course we have a metronome. It will accompany me to my next dance class where I struggle to get my students to SLOOOOOOW DOOOOOOWN. Lord, you'd think they all were ADD the way they get going sometimes.
 

Mouse

New member
What a fantastic thread! I'm definitely going to practice a few of Aziyade suggestions/tips. I'm working on improving my technique atm and I think the metronome idea will really help - thanks!

Lisa
 

Aziyade

New member
Awwwwww .... you all are so sweet :) Please, if any of this works for you, please feel free to share it with others or your students.

I love to talk about this dance almost as much as I love doing it! (If that wasn't obvious from these overly loooooooong posts.) :)
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I've been having quite a time getting some of my beginners to learn hip lifts and drops by using the proper muscles instead of generating movement with their knees. Last night, I had everyone grab hold of the barre and lift one foot off the ground. Then I had them lift and drop the hip on the side of the raised foot. There were some AH-HA! moments and when we returned to both feet on the ground, everyone did quite resepctable lifts and drops. I don't know why I didn't think of this years ago. At last that stupid barre served a purpose beyond blocking everyone's view. Fortunately, the new mirrors are sans barre.
 

lilya

New member
Ten years and a few days later...

Student here - I just wanted to say thank you for this incredibly helpful thread!

I think I may have started off relatively well in my first classes a few years back... then I feel like something happened over one of my longer breaks (my first musculoskeletal injury, aww... large contributor to an overall ~70 pounds of body mass gain in about a year) that had my body override several habits which may have otherwise had a chance to be built properly, starting with a new, slightly off-centered posture just to favour the legs as main driving force at the ready... Of course my core didn't feel much like dealing with the new "coordinates" of the body. :) Now I'm lurking in this subforum with an extra, "troubleshooting" eye, starting as close to the beginning as I can...
 
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Shanazel

Super Moderator
I'm grateful to you and the other newcomers for resurrecting some of these old threads. So much good advice and so many memories of good people.
 

lilya

New member
Thank you, Shanazel, I had hesitated a bit (in fact I actually slept on it, having read through the first - last? - 6 pages of threads in the subforum yesterday). I ended up bookmarking a lot of threads and printing out several posts (complete with authors' names) that I felt would be essential to my "rehabilitation". :) I am considering making them into a poster to put by my practice mirror...
 

lilya

New member
Thank you, Shanazel! In my case it's most likely rooted in a default self-preservation mode... It's also starting to sink in that my body is not in its first youth anymore and I should really be kind to it - it's almost a blank slate, since I grew up with a permanent medical excuse from physical education class and reached my 30s still convinced that I was "uncoordinated" movement-wise. I remember the moment when the concept of weight-shifting finally clicked for me... :) I can't be grateful enough for all the absolutely excellent answers and "a-ha!" moments I found here. (I try not to beat my brain up too much for not finding the forum years ago, but this is really, really hard to forgive!)
 
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