How to hip shimmy and walk at the same time

How to hip shimmy and walk at the same time

Are you having trouble hip shimmy and walk at the same time? You’re not the only one. 🙂 I remember how happy I was when I eventually had my hip shimmy going but as soon as I tried to take a step, it was all gone. After years of belly dancing and teaching belly dancing, I came to a conclusion that the problems with walking hip shimmy are caused by trying to walk without preparation and progressive drills. Taking a step is a very complex process and understanding this process will help you to learn how to shimmy and walk at the same time.

Before you go any further, please make sure your shimmy is rhythmical and steady. If it’s not, you won’t be able to shimmy and walk at the same time. You can find more information and a video drill in How to hip shimmy – technique and drills.

How to hip shimmy and walk at the same time

First, let’s make clear what step is. Many of my students confuse taking a step with moving from point A to point B. You can move in a certain direction during the step but you can also take steps in place not moving anywhere. So, what is the step then?

A step is a complete transfer of body weight on one foot.

You take a step when your body weight shifts completely from one foot to the other one. Now, stand up and take a few steps in place. What is happening with your centre of weight?

When you take a step, your body weight shifts towards one side and also up and down a little (otherwise you would walk like old-fashioned robots did 🙂 ). The weight transfer happens continuously without you having to think about it.

In order to hip shimmy and walk at the same time, you can’t suddenly take a normal size step. You need to practice the transference of the weight gradually while keeping your shimmy rhythmical and steady.

How to practice hip shimmy and raising and lowering the centre of weight

First practice raising and lowering the centre of weight. Starting from basic flat-footed position, raising happens by lifting your heels of the floor, lowering by bending your knees.

  • Start your metronome or put a belly dance rhythm music on (Maksoum).
  • Get your shimmy going in the basic flat footed posture.
  • Very slowly lift both heels of the floor without losing the shimmy. Make sure your knees are bent slightly even when your heels are off the floor.
  • If you lost your shimmy, you lifted your heels too high too fast. Start again. Consider setting the metronome to slower tempo.
  • With each practice try to lift your heels a little higher till eventually you can shimmy on the balls of your feet.

Use the same technique to lower your centre of weight by bending your knees and then straightening again.


How to practice hip shimmy and shifting the centre of weight side to side

Now that you can raise and lower your centre of weight, you need to practice weight shifts from side to side (from foot to foot). This might take longer than the previous exercises.

I created a sequence of progressive drills to get you from basic hip shimmy to walking hip shimmy. They are arranged in a logical order and you shouldn’t progress to the next one before you can do the previous one with ease. There’s no point rushing.

Remember, it takes at least 8 minutes for our muscles to memorize a new pattern. With a little patience to start with, you will save yourself years of frustration.

Walking hip shimmy – progressive drills

Hip shimmy and walk drills


Hip shimmy and walk at the same time requires a correct technique and regular practice. Go through the exercises above in order and you should be able to build your walking shimmy quite quickly. Your friends will be amazed at your abilities. 😉


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