Weekly Challenge for 5-20-13

It’s Monday! This month has gone by so fast! Tribal Revolution is just around the corner and I have so much to do! Yikes! But now it’s time for another weekly challenge!

Three-Quarter Shimmy

Okay, so this is a tough move. Beginners, you may not get introduced to this move at all until you advance a little more, but that will totally depend on your teacher. I personally think that it should be introduced early, primarily because it takes so long to master.

So what is a three-quarter shimmy? Well, first of all, we need to understand why it’s called three-quarters. Most music (oversimplification) is in 4/4 time, meaning there are four beats or notes to a measure, which is kind of like a musical sentence. It’s why dancers count in 8s (we could also count in fours, but it’s easier to count in 8s); we’re counting out two measures. So a three-quarter shimmy means that only three of those counts are “used” and there’s a rest on the fourth count. However, we don’t actually have to take a full measure to do a three-quarter shimmy. It’s a shimmy after all, and we can speed it up. We can also get really technical with the counting, but that’s beyond the scope of this particular challenge.

So let’s get to the challenge!

Beginner: This move just might give you nightmares. This was, hands down, the hardest move for me to learn, but everyone’s experience is different. Even though I can do this movement, I still sweat a little when I hear the words “three-quarter shimmy.” We’re going to start with three-quarter shimmies on the up. Pick a nice, slow song with a steady even beat. Make sure you can count out the song, then start moving the hips. On each beat, move your hips. On the right side, the movement will be up down up hold. Switch to the left, up down up hold. Don’t move during the hold, keep that hip up, in place, and still. The movement can be sharp or soft, your choice (and according to your skill). Don’t try to speed it up right now; it’s more important to keep the hips crisp (clear) and to keep that hold in there, so the movement doesn’t get muddy. Practice this for the whole song every day this week!

Intermediate: If you haven’t got the three-quarter on the up yet, don’t despair! Some teachers may not get to this movement until this level. Just go try out the previous challenge first. If you do have it, we’re going to move with it! Yay layers! The easiest by far is going to be a three-quarter shimmy on the up. So we’re going to do it on the down! Ha! The hips are going to go down up down hold. In order to walk with this, step on the first down and use those glutes for the rest of the hip movements. Same foot, same hip (step on the right, hip down on the right). But keep the hold. Three-quarter shimmies tend to get sloppy while doing them fast or while walking, so make sure that hold stays while you walk. Keep it nice and slow, but practice for a whole song every day this week.

Advanced: *wicked laugh* This week, we’re going to do some crazy layers. Try a three-quarter shimmy (up or down, your choice, but whatever is HARDER for you) while walking. Make sure your walk is not weird or awkward, that the hips are crisp and clear, and your hold is…well, holding. Then layer chest circles on top…but at half the speed of the hips. If you can do that, try chest figure 8s. Make sure that the arms still look nice (hey, for an additional challenge, is there anything you can do with your arms besides just being out in regular dance posture?), and don’t let your eyes roll back into your head. Smile (remember last week’s challenge?). And if that is easy-peasy for you (congrats!), try noodling around with other layers and timings. What crazy things can you do while three-quarter shimmying? I’d love to know! Post a comment, or even better, post a link to a video of you and the craziest layer you can come up with. One rule: it still has to look good.

Happy dancing!

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About Kamrah

Kamrah is a belly dancer in Chicago, IL. They started belly dance as an exercise routine but it turned into a passion for dance that has not lessened, even after more than a decade. They have a powerful presence on the stage, and is particularly known for their amazing shimmies. Kamrah is also known as a very versatile belly dancer, and audiences have come to expect the unexpected from them. Performances can be anything from traditional Egyptian, to tribal fusion, to fantasy cosplay (costume play) pieces.

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