Layered Shimmies: The Multi-Tasking Bellydancer

Each individual belly dance move is beautiful when performed all by itself, but it’s the hallmark of a skillful bellydancer to be able to perform two or more movements at the same time.  Some of the most impressive of these simultaneous, or layered, movements are the layered shimmies.  A shimmy is a vibrating movement that is exciting and impressive in its own right.  Beginning bellydancers feel a sense of accomplishment in perfecting shimmy movements that make the fringe and coins in their costumes vibrate in time to the music.  But once the basic shimmies are mastered, the next challenge can be layering shimmies with rolling hip moves, ribcage isolations, staccato hip patterns, snake arms, etc.

To be able to layer movements and perform them simultaneously (sometime synchronizing the shimmy to the rhythm and another move to the melody) is challenging and takes a lot of practice and dedication.  However, the eye-popping results are worth it, guaranteed to impress friends, audiences, and other bellydancers alike.

Mastering layered shimmies has benefits that can be more important than impressing people, or even giving yourself a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment. The exercise value is phenomenal, and the sum is worth more than the individual parts.  For example, performing a diagonal ribcage circle (‘clock circle’) will give you an excellent abdominal workout.  A basic hip shimmy or knee vibration shimmy will exercise your lower body and give you the benefits of vibrating exercise.  However, layer these movements together and you’ll get all that and more, in part because you have to control your core muscles very deeply to keep this movement combination under control.  So, in the same amount of time that it takes to do one movement, you’re doing two but multiplying the exercise benefits.

Learning to layer your moves allows you to multi-task, saving time while intensifying your workout.  If you enjoy pushing your boundaries, you’ll also find that the challenge is a lot of fun.  Bellydancing is great for your mind, body, and spirit whether you make it complex or keep it simple.  But if you want to get the most bang for your buck, accept the challenge and try being a multi-tasking bellydancer.



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