The shimmy would have to be the most well known belly dance move. It is the move, which astounds audiences and has jaws dropping in admiration. But what is a shimmy? A shimmy is the general term used to describe the intentional vibration (or wobble) of any part of the body. The main shimmies are shoulder shimmy, tummy flutter, hip shimmy and full body shimmy (also known as the Jack Hammer). Within each of these are many, many variations, depending on the body part isolated, stance, and music played.
But how do you do it? The easiest way to break it down is by starting with hip flicks. Stand with feet directly under the hip joints. Bend the knees, tummy in, tail under (see article on The Belly Dance Stance). Raising the ribs away from the hips, start to push each hip up, keeping the heel on the ground. Keep up a regular rhythm, and go faster and faster. Now this is the tricky bit – there is a difference in a fast hip flick and a shimmy. To go from one to the other requires ‘letting go’. To simplify; when doing a hip flick muscles in the bottom tense and release, in a shimmy they need to be loose in order the have the maximum vibration. In other words we need our lovely wobbly bits to, well, wobble!
It wasn’t until I started learning how to belly dance when I was 19 that I finally realised why I had been given luscious curves. I knew it was genetic, my Nanna has the same small waist and rounded hips, but that didn’t make me feel better when trying on pairs of pants! However, when I am dancing, especially the shimmy, I’m not thinking “I wish my bottom was smaller”, but rather I’m thinking “Wow! I love to shimmy! Feel those wobbles go!!” So I wish you to also experience the freedom of letting everything go. Have a shimmy and yell: “I am woman, watch me wobble!!”