Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shimmies: A Sourcebook: "Turkish Twists" (Part 4)

The "Turkish" hip twist is a horizontal movement, with the hips swiveling front and back.  The navel moves with the hips.  There is no up and down movement in the hips.  In my dance experience, there are two very different moods that accompany this particular movement in the hips.  In a more "Turkish" style or gypsy style dance (as always be aware that these labels are always a bit arbitrary) the movement is smaller and faster.  In a more folkloric or Egyptian style version.  the feet may be wider with the movement resting more on one side.  

The video above shows a twisting movement broken down by "Coco Berlin" on YouTube.  At 1:58 minutes, she demonstrates the version that moves the weight from one leg to the other, creating the illusion of moving the shimmy or twist from one side to the other side.

The video available below from Delilah of Seattle's Visionary Dance Productions is one of the first videos I used when I was learning to dance.  Her videos are classics for learning!  This particular series is one of the first of its kind from Delilah's Belly Dance Workshop Series.
Next in this series, I'll break down what is often called the "Egyptian Walk."
The series: Shimmies: A Source Book.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shimmies: A Sourcebook (Part 3): Three Quarter Shimmy

In class, we did this as a version of the walking shimmy.  The important part of this movement, whether walking or doing the movement in place, is shifting the weight smoothly from one leg to the other.  Reach out with the hip (envision your hip flexors as hands reaching).  Keep "mula-bandha" lifted and the breath relaxed.

 Finally, as with all of the hip shimmies, the lengthening through the torso is generated by a continuous drawing up and down.    "Mula-bandha" lifts as the tail bone extends (rather than clenches) toward the ground.  The solar plexus lifts as the shoulder blades extend down.  The heels ground down (if the foot is flat) as the arches of the feet lift up.

The above video from Geobeats Women's Fitness series is clear and a good visual aid.  There are many videos available on the subject.

Next . . .the "walking shimmy."
See the series under the label: "Shimmies: A Sourcebook"

Shimmies: A Sourcebook (Part 2): Egyptian Shimmy

The above video of Randa Kamal is from Youtube:

I love this Bhuz feed: "Can someone define Egyptian Shimmy, please?"  The answers on this thread define "Egyptian" shimmies as "leg driven," the knee pushing back, relatively recent in Egyptian style dance, and one taught by the belly dance guru/teacher from Egypt, Raqia Hassan.

In class, we discussed the importance of staying as relaxed as possible through the quads while doing this shimmy. The weight is one the whole foot; there is a tendency to sink back into the heels, which, as in yoga, makes mobility in the hamstrings less fluid.  The legs are alternating, the lower belly/pelvis is lifted (mulabandha helps if you do yoga), and the rib cage also lifts, which helps in fluidly isolating the upper and lower body.  The shoulders and neck are relaxed.  This shimmy is often done almost as a "resting shimmy,"and the dancer's upper body and arms are steady and free to express the music, balance a shamadan, play cymbals, etc.  The video of Randa Kamal (above) is helpful because her body is very visible.  This woman is so graceful and relaxed, the viewer almost misses how strong she is.

Here is a Youtube clip of two legends of Egyptian dance: Raqia Hassan and Mahmoud Reda:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Shimmy Sourcebook: Introduction

In recent classes, we've gone over a variety of shimmies.  The names for these shimmies are always changing, but for purpose of explanation, we've looked at "Egyptian shimmies," "Three-Quarter Shimmies," the "Egyptian Walk," the "Turkish Twist," and vibrations (or Friezes). (Remember, there are always more.) There are so many examples to choose from, but I have tried to find examples of these.  (As you can see from the photo, everybody shimmies will you.)