Shimmy Drill Ideas

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    Hi everyone – this is my first post here, I've been trying to wean myself off the Facebook group, haha.I'm really excited to have just concluded my 1st six-week ATS® Level 1 session here in Indianapolis (the first of its kind! apart from some ITS in the area, I am the only tribal teacher, and the only sister studio in the whole city). I took into account student input, and this week I'm just hosting a workshop, and then next week we're moving on to another 6-week session (an hour of Level 1 followed by an hour of 1.5). I decided to make this week's hour-and-a-half workshop focus specifically on shimmies.I plan to cover half-time and full-time shimmies, really broken down and drilled. I'd also like to include some fun Level 2 moves, such as turkish shimmy, arabic shimmy, shoulder shimmy with hip drop combo, and ghawazee shimmy combo. This is to keep things mixed up, and also to intrigue my current students with a glimpse of what's coming up should they choose to advance to Level 2 when the time is right. I'm also going to have some students who have never done ATS® before, so I don't want them to walk away thinking "geez, we only learned two moves!" Because in my Level 1 class I focused very intensely on the technique behind executing each movement, we didn't do much with formations or lead changes (that's what we'll cover in 1.5), so between that and the completely-new-to-ATS-folks, I am not going to be able to do a lot of lead changes in the shimmy workshop.I'd love some ideas as to drills and exercises to use in the workshop, if anyone has some they'd like to share. I took a fantastic shimmy workshop with Jen of Twisted Gypsy this past December, and I will likely incorporate some of the ideas she used, such as walking forward in pairs with whatever shimmy we're currently drilling, using Baladi Unplugged to really get the half-time shimmy precise, and so on. I will probably warm us up with some hip lift and hip drop drills, and if there's time I may start working toward the reverse shimmy (because I LOVE that move! and at least one advanced  dancer in the community who doesn't do ATS has RSVPed for my workshop, and I want to teach at least one thing that will be a challenge!).Other things like music suggestions are more than welcome. Thanks in advance!



    I'd also like to include some fun Level 2 moves, such as turkish shimmy, arabic shimmy, shoulder shimmy with hip drop combo, and ghawazee shimmy combo.

    Why not create a long combo with these movements (along with the 3/4 shimmy)?Repeat the combo over and over to a longer mid-tempo song.



    Congrats on your first 6-week cycle!For a L1 class, I would use the shimmy and it's variations in different ways.  Traveling - out of a chorus and also in a circle.  The circle can be in small groups or with the whole class.  Shimmying from a chorus is different from shimmying in a circle - upper body orientation varies on where you're facing.  Also, within the group - using shimmies (including Arabic Shimmy & Turkish Shimmy) to move the presenting group forward and back or pivoting around.I tend to order my music in order of tempo, so that I can get varying speeds from different sources than just Baladi Unplugged.  It's one thing to shimmy at a medium tempo and get sassy with it, but to work up to a fast tempo gets more difficult.  It's a nice challenge to keep the bounce and sass even in the fast.For a L2/L3 class, I might put in alternating shimmy levels, which are playful variations.  You can do half-time, full-time, double-time, shoulder shimmies - going down and up or going down with one and up with another. Also for L3+, the ASWAT & TSWAT shimmies always need practice, the shimmies tend to go out the window when the foot position changes.  Actually, just Arabic Shimmy and Turkish Shimmy are challenging enough.  In my Saturday L3 class, which is 1.5hrs, I had the students (Jesse was there!) working on fades and circling with ASWAT, Arabic Hiptwist w/Flourish, and TS1/4 turns and really needed to stress the shimmy aspect.  I had them work in quartets, then again using them coming out of a chorus.  While the focus was on fading and knowing where you are in your formation/circle, some of the underlying theme was checking on shimmies in AS & TS.For new and experienced dancers, the shimmy can be one of the hardest moves to get and look comfortable doing.  It was for me!  :}



    Another thing Sandi said on Saturday was to practice JUST the footwork for TSWAT and ASWAT with the shimmy – no arms or arabic-ing. I think that's a great idea, too.I also like to pick a fast, high-energy song and shimmy the whole song while leading the class. I do just the shimmy, and walk it forward, back, turning in both directions, and alternating arms shoulder-height or overhead. My plan is to get new students to be so tired by the end of the song that they can't THINK about shimmying anymore, and hopefully their body just takes over. Plus, I think the shimmy comes naturally to whatever music naturally makes each of us to dance, so choosing a fun song helps with that. I do this drill to this song: Unfortunately, as far as I know, it isn't available for download anywhere, just on this CD: Egyptian Drummer off the Sound of Arabia CD



    Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I'm going to incorporate some of them, and I've got my workshop most of the way planned now, with music pairings too for each drill.Jesse, I love your idea of creating a combo with all the moves. I played around a bit, and decided to go with half-time shimmy, then turkish shimmy, then ghawazee with arabic shimmy between the two halves of the combo, then shoulder shimmy hip drop combo, then back to half-time shimmy. Each move will be held for 8-16 counts (combos will be executed once apiece). I think that will be a fun way to get my students thinking in terms of looking for the cue in a low-stress way (since I have at least one person coming who's not done ATS before, so I hope she'll be able to catch on and grasp the notion of looking at the "cue zone").Sandi, your suggestions are awesome! I'm going to have us shimmying in a circle for at least 2 drills. In the first, we'll stay facing inward while doing various moves in place (full-time shimmy to other moves), and in the second, I'll have us traveling in a circle. That way, they get the experience of changing their upper body orientation as you suggest. Since I may only have 1 or 2 Level 2 people dropping in, I'll probably not do level changes this time around, but I will keep that in mind for the next time I run a shimmy workshop. And in my in-home classes that are now hovering in early Level 3, I've noticed exactly what you described - that with ASWAT and TSWAT, the shimmy doesn't always come through as clearly as it ought. I may borrow some of the drills you recommend (having them work on the moves in formations, and then returning again and again to checking in on the shimmy).Jennifer, I appreciate your ideas about getting the students so tired that they can't over-think things. I've got a song at the very end of the class dedicated to freestyle dancing; I'll be leading whichever moves I feel like doing, but I'll tell them they can pick their favorite shimmies if they want to do those instead (there are already other drills I've planned wherein I'll be leading the whole time). I've heard that song you linked to before... I think a former troupemate has a copy of it, which maybe she'll share with me for future use. My "fun" song to end class with (before the cool-down, anyway) is "Vino Lubeira Mea" by Eastenders off the Putumayo Gypsy Groove CD. 🙂

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