A shimmy is normally a fast controlled movement. It should be in time with the music (usually double time). With Oriental technique it is very isolated. Shimmies are often layered over other moves.

A Vibration or Vibration Shimmy unlike a normal shimmy is created by muscle tension. That is the muscle is tensed until it shivers without conscious control. This is used to produce an extremely fine movement.

Reverberation is when the flesh is relaxed and shakes as a result on another movement. The driving movement may be a shimmy (for instance the Champagne Shimmy shows as belly reverberation). Or it can be something quite different such as a walk (my "Denise Walk" is a scissor walk with a hip drop to the front and buttock reverb).

Hip Shimmies

Hip Rock Shimmy

(sometimes called a "Knee Shimmy"):

Based on the hip rock. The hips go straight up & down (no twisting, no sideways movement). Backs of legs and buttocks stay very relaxed.

The knees bend and straighten. (However, the shimmy is not driven primarily by the legs.) The amount to bend depends on the effect you are after. More you bend the folkier it looks.

This one is useful for getting your timing right as it is easier to concentrate on a knee than a hipbone.

"Modern Egyptian" Hip Shimmy:

Driven from small alternating movements of the knee backwards - to almost straight, but never locked.

Creates a small, fine shimmy

Washing Machine (sa`iidi) Shimmy:

Uses the twist as its basic move. Hipbones stay horizontal.

Three Quarter Shimmy

This is a class of shimmies where the movement takes 3 of the 4 beats. The 4th beat is often used to step.

The hip movement can either be on the standing leg (modern Egyptian style) or on the free leg (folkloric style).

They can be done both on flat foot or on demi.

Some common variations are:

Champagne aka Ngawa Shimmy

This shows on the belly as wave after wave travels up the body.

With legs together and weight slightly forward, bend the knees and "straighten" together (ie more straight - knees never lock)

Shoulder Shimmy

This involves the shoulders and possibly the very top of the torso.

One shoulder comes forward, the other goes back.

Hands stay fixed in space - ie they don't "pull" the shoulders forward.

Rib/Chest/Bust Shimmy

In this the whole of the top of the torso twists back and forward.

This is a much less refined movement than the shoulder shimmy and should only be used in folkloric or parody.

As with the shoulder shimmy, the hands stay fixed in space.

This movement can be damaging to larger busted women.


This is a movement of the diaphragm. Some people learn to do this by panting - but long term it is best not to use the breath to drive it and hold the lungs mostly full of air.

It can be driven either in and out or very subtly up & down. In the latter case be careful to keep the shoulders still.

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