Famous Jazz Dancers | Big band music - Best Jazz

Famous Jazz Dancers

June 16, 2012



Black Bottom
Varsity Drag
Collegiate Shag
Lindy Hop

The Shimmy – “A shimmy is a dance move in which the body is held still, except for the shoulders, which are alternated back and forth. When the right shoulder goes back, the left one comes forward. It may help to hold the arms out slightly bent at the elbow, and when the shoulders are moved, keep the hands in the same position.”

So says the article at Wikipedia. It confused me at first to hear that the body (including the torso) is to remain still in the “Shimmy.” I thought that the more shaking of the upper body, the better the Shimmy. Was I was wrong? Maybe I was half right. Is it even possible to move the shoulders “back and forth” without the upper body moving? It seems like you’d have to pivot somewhere south of the shoulders, namely at the waist and hips, if only slightly, in order to move the shoulders back and forth. Put differently, back and forth movement of the shoulders will inevitably cause the spine to turn, or vice-versa. Rotation of the spine involves rotation of the entire upper body. I’m periodically standing up and trying these moves as I write this and can’t seem to work out how to move the shoulders in this manner without much of the rest of the body moving as well, including my hips and legs. If I sit down, however, I can move the shoulders back and forth without involving the hips, but please tell me how it’s possible to keep the torso still while you’re doing this. Also, I cannot presently do the shoulder movements rapidly. Speed seems to be an important factor in doing a shimmy well.

1926-Original Black Bottom Dance-composed 1919-m. Perry Bradford, w. Gus Horsely-1 Ziegfeld Girl Ann Pennington photographed by Alfred Cheney Johnston. Date unknown. She wears an outfit very similar to that worn by the first dancer in the video below.


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