Last night I did the super fast Shim Sham for the first time in I don’t know how many years, and I didn’t die. I’m feeling pretty good about this.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the Shim Sham is a swing line dance made up of a bunch of solo jazz moves that is hugely popular in the global swing dancing community. There’s only maybe three or four songs that you do it to, and it’s just about a sure bet that no matter what swing dancing event you’re at, sooner or later, someone will play one of them, and before you know it, people will start converging on the dance floor clapping to the beat, arrange themselves in lines, and break into this choreography. It’s a little like the prom in cheesy teen movies, where everyone shows up, and suddenly they’re “spontaneously” dancing this synchronized routine. (Except it’s real, and we’re way cooler.) There are different variations, of course, and people tend to style it up in their own ways, and it’s a lot of fun.
One of the variations is to do the choreography to the song Daphne by Django Rhinehardt. The Shim Sham as it’s usually done is pretty fast, but this doubles the speed. Plus, you don’t finish the choreography until the song ends, so you’re dancing that fast for the entire song. (Ok, the song is only about two minutes long, but still.) There’s not that many people who are willing to even try it. I remember the first time I did it, and finished the song without my feet getting hopelessly muddled. I felt invincible.
But that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, back when I danced four or five nights a week, and took tap and ballet classes on the side. Last night when Mr. Zoot hollered for J to queue up the music, I had grave doubts about this. But I couldn’t back down from the challenge. And you know what, I was just fine. I had to regroup a little on one of the sets of cross-overs, and I won’t say that it was pretty, but as I finished that last Shorty George while the music galloped to the final chord, it felt darn good.
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