Shimmy Magic

Perhaps one of the most fun movements in bellydancing is the shimmy. For bellydancers, it feels just great to be able to shake and vibrate with this life-affirming move (for the health benefit of shimmies, see my blogs “All Shook Up” and “Good Vibrations – Shimmy On”). Audiences love shimmies too, and I’ve always marveled at their awe and enjoyment at seeing a belly dancer do a beautifully executed shimmy. I’ve marveled because there are many other moves in bellydance that require more skill to do, but audiences react with such excitement to the exuberance of even the most basic of shimmies.

There are many types of shimmies in bellydance, but for most bellydancers the easiest to do are the basic hip shimmies. These are the most commonly performed and despite their relative simplicity, they’re dynamic movements. The basic hip shimmy can be done either as an isolated forward & back (horizontal twisting) motion of the hips, or an up & down (vertical) motion of the hips. Each individual dancer will find that either the horizontal hip shimmy or the vertical hip shimmy is easier to do. I always tell my beginning students that it doesn’t matter which one they prefer. Both shimmies look virtually identical, so what’s important is that the student tries both and then practices the one that feels the most natural for her body type and is the easiest to do. More experienced bellydancers may want to master both shimmies so they can perform advanced layering techniques and sustained shimmy sequences. Of course, if any of the other belly dance shimmies are preferred by a dancer (shoulder shimmies, knee vibration shimmies, etc.) that’s OK too.

You’ll find that whether you’re shimmying by yourself or receiving an enthusiastic response from an appreciative audience, shimmies are some of the most magical of all belly dance moves.

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