Shim Sham

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Shim Sham or Sham is actually part of a tap dance sequence. It is said to have been invented by Leonard Reed , who called it Goofus , or by Willie Bryant . Today (June 2005) is Shim Sham a kind series dance ( line dance ) attached to the origins of Swing recalls. It belongs to the repertoire of many Lindy Hop dancers and is danced there at many events as a final dance or at the climax of a celebration.

In the late 1920s and 1930s, at the end of a performance, all the musicians , singers, and dancers came on stage and danced Shim Sham together. Everyone did as best he or she could. The tap dancers, however, danced very imaginative variations.

So there is no “one” valid Shim Sham choreography, but many different ones. When you see a group of people dancing Shim Sham, especially when the participants come from different places, you notice many similar steps with some deviating and even quite a few improvised. One variant is well known and can be easily learned by anyone who only dances from time to time. Two others - one developed by Frankie Manning and another by Dean Collins - are more complicated and take some practice for them.

Shim Sham is a dance with 10 step sequences that last four bars. So actually only the first part of a song is used. Everyone switches to normal swing at the end of the choreographed part. Shim Sham can be danced to almost any song at a medium tempo. The band often shouts joking commands like “Freeze!” (Everyone stops dancing) or “Dance!” (Everyone moves again). Others are “Itch!” (Everyone scratches themselves) or “Slow Motion!” (Dance on in slow motion), there are no limits to the imagination.

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