welcome to shimmy
Come for Dance,
Stay for Community
We are so much more than a dance school!
Shimmy USA has two locations to serve the West Michigan community. In Uptown district inside of Ambrosia Theater, we have 2000sq ft of bright, lush space with 30ft of mirrors, floor to ceiling gold and silver sconce panels, changing room, richly colored wood floors and a lovely boutique with all the goods you will need for dance.
Our North studio is in Rockford where we have 500 sq ft of sprung wood flooring with wall to wall mirrors on the lower level of Sarah Mayne's home.
You will quickly meet our outstanding staff and fellow RakStar students before kicking off your shoes and getting ready to embrace and enjoy yourself! You will step into a world that will transform you completely - just ask any of the students in class with you!
EveryBODY is a dance body and there are no bodies too large or small, short or tall. If you have a body, this dance was made for you. Our instructors are understanding of any physical limitations you may have and are adept at modifying any movement. This artform is low impact and the movements come very naturally to the body, once we learn to release and let go.
If you are here and reading this, now is your time! Just give it a go, you won't regret it! We can't wait to meet you.
At Shimmy, we understand that sometimes your life won't accommodate a fixed schedule and Drop-In's are the best way to go! We offer weekly Drop-Ins that rotate and change to keep it fresh and fun for you. You can use these as it fits into your schedule, both virtually & in-person. Perfect for your FIRST CLASS or a pro!
$20 Single Class
$200 10-Class Pack
Shimmy Instructors all agree that Private Lessons are the fastest and BEST way to grow as a dance artist. Everyone loves the opportunity to explore this new artform with 100% dedicated and focused attention. Privates are for 1 or 2 people maximum. These may be applied in-person or virtually.
$100 1HR Private Lesson
$50 30 Min Private Lesson
Shimmy Instructors all agree that an 8-week session is the BEST way to grow as a dance artist. Everyone loves the opportunity to explore the new dance moves taught in this class, while also mastering the classic moves. Our amazing instructors make sure everyone gets individual attention while keeping the class collaborative. Designed for maximum growth potential and education, we combine the essential core technique with the emotional component found in Arab style dance to build a harmonious and expressive dancer.
New to BellyDance?
What are the different styles of belly dance (Raks Sharqi) taught at Shimmy?
Egyptian Oriental (Raqs Sharqi)
Folklore (per region/town)
American-style Fusion (use of modern implements like fans, veil, wings, swords, etc.)
What's happening at Shimmy USA?
Art, Education, Fitness, Fun, Dance, Workouts & Community!
We are an International Dance Arts Academy with a mission to connect cultures through music and movement. We are facilitate growth and attract individuals who are looking for a way to connect with themselves, their bodies, minds and creativity -- all while getting fit and happy! We have cultivated a non-competitive, non-intimidating environment. We have many master instructors teaching their area of expertise.
What class should I take FIRST?
You have TWO options, the choice is up to you!
1) DROP-IN's - You may buy 1 SINGLE DROP-IN or a 10-PACK of DROP-IN'S - these apply ONLY to drop-in classes.
2) 8-WEEK SESSION - Sign up for eight 60-minute classes that happens consecutively for 8 weeks in a row, missed classes can be made up within that 8-week timeframe.
What are the different LEVELS at Shimmy?
What should I wear to Class?
We dance barefoot, with dance slippers or wear indoor only dance shoes. We recommend yoga pants, stretch leggings or jazz pants, comfortable and form fitting. For tops we recommend form fitting tanks with support, snug t-shirts and layering so as you warm up, you can remove layers. A hip scarf or sash is recommended but not required. They will accent your movements. Any triangular fabric or shawl you have will do perfectly!
Do I have to show my belly?
Your body, your choice. It is not necessary to show your belly to learn this art form.
What if I've never danced before?
Raqs Sharqi (aka belly dance), Hawaiian, Chinese Dance, Tahitian & Bollywood use a movement vocabulary unique unto themselves. We have first time dancers in their 50’s step onto our dance floor and are performing within the same year! No previous dance training is necessary to enjoy these art forms.
Am I too fat or too skinny for this?
Women come in all shapes and sizes and so do dancers. We have a safe and supportive environment free from competition and criticism. Anyone can do this and you will be among a community others, just like yourself! Don't be afraid -- GO FOR IT! I promise it isn't intimidating.
Is this something that I can watch before I buy a class?
Our students have shared with us that it is distracting to them and often feel uncomfortable being “watched” while learning. There will be no spectators during classes, men or women. We have a comfortable lounge outside the studio where friends and family are welcome to wait, everyone inside of the dance studio are participating. We have a number of Events you may attend to see what our dancing looks like.
Should I BellyDance while pregnant?
Yes you can, and I did it through both my pregnancies. Oriental dance is an excellent muscle toner and is not a high impact exercise. We recommend beginning your dance journey within the first few trimester of pregnancy for ease and comfort, as mobility changes in the third trimester. Always consult your doctor/midwife if you have concerns. Also, we have found that practicing raqs sharqi after birth is one of the best ways to tone your core and back muscles after labor and delivery.
Performing -- What if I DO or DON’T want to Perform on stage?
There are performance opportunities for our students (generally 3x annually). Most of our students attend classes are seeking fun, fitness and the love for World Dance music and movements. You will never be required to perform. There equal opportunities for non-performing students to take all the same advanced classes offered to those who do perform.
What are the health benefits of BellyDance?
Oriental dance has both physical and emotional health benefits. The physical benefits include strengthened posture and muscle toning, improved balance and dexterity. Dancing burns calories and can lead to weight loss. On an emotional level, women come to dance class because they WANT to be there. Raqs Sharqi is a fantastic stress reliever and combats depression. Many women find dancing their way through winters helps them with Seasonal Affect Disorder. However, what we hear most commonly is that belly dancing greatly improves your overall self esteem! Raqs Sharqi feels good, is tremendously fun while engaging in a HEALTHY way to improve your overall being. I encourage you to read the many testimonials on our website about how dancing changed their lives. There are also many articles on the benefits of belly dance on Shiras Website.
Where are the Studios?
Studio locations, parking info, bus routes & biking info can be found on CONTACT page. We often have multiple locations for classes, so be sure to check the location when you sign up for class!
Do I have to be a Member to take classes?
Nope, Memberships are upgrade! Consider it like the ‘Frequent Flyer Miles’ of Club Raqs Sharqi. If you decide you’re as hooked as we are, then you will probably join up with the RaqStar Discount Membership or VIP UNLIMITED Members, because they get some SWEET PERKS! Check out the -- oh -- and you can "sample" those by trying the Unlimited Package.
Am I too old for BellyDance?
Dancers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Our youngest dancer is 13 years old and our oldest is 80+, average age range of from 30-55. You are welcomed and encouraged to explore your movement capabilities at any age!
Who are the Instructors?
You can rest assured that you will be in the hands of the BEST instructors available! Our staff is comprised of genuine, professional, warm & friendly women who have been expertly trained in their field. Visit Meet the Team page to read about each of our wonderful staff members.
Where can I find a Glossary of "Belly Dance" Terms?
There is one home we all go to for information, and that is Shira! Personally, I am glad to know her and have shared the stage at many events (the kitty cat performance in Peoria, IL. was my fav). Shira has a website for ALL THINGS MIDEASTERN. Here is a Link to her Glossary, and please explore!
VIP Unlimited RakStars
$130 per month
This is the ULTIMATE Membership, giving you 100% access, 100% of the time, for 12-months straight! Imagine how much you could learn in that amount of time? All of our Enrollments, Drop-In's and Class Packages are UNLIMITED with you monthly membership fee, which will last for 12 months total. You will have access to registration FIRST for classes and the much-loved 3x annually RakStar Member parties.
RaqStar Discount Membership
RaqStar Discount Membership is best for the active dancer who attends 1-2 classes weekly. This Membership gives you 20% off of all classes & workshops for 12 months, including of 3x annual RaqStar member parties! With this entry level membership, you can progress on to the SPP classes and begin performing, once you have moved into Intermediate classes.
$200 per month
Want to give both Memberships a try before you make the commitment? Try us out on a month-to-month basis with no contracts or obligations, cancel at anytime! You can receive all the same benefits of the VIP Unlimited, including the RaqStar Discounts. This option is perfect for excelling your dance training forward in a short amount of time.
It's not always easy knowing where to start, but we've got you covered!
If you want to try us out before committing to an entire session, simply purchase a single drop-in! It's a one-time class for $20 and if you decide to take the 8-week session, we credit your class towards a session.
If you are transferring from another studio or have previous experience, we always recommend to start at the Level 1 so we can all get to know each other. Schools have a wide variety of dance vocabulary and this gives us a chance to see each other. Sarah is more than happy to do a brief assessment if you are coming from a more experienced level.
Whatever the case may be, we can get you started on the right path!
Defined as a dancer who is within 0-2 years of studying Raqs Sharqi (Belly Dance). This dancer is immersing herself in the rich, intricate world of Oriental dance by learning fundamental movements while being introduced to posture, layering, hand/arm technique, shimmies and eventually traveling. She is collecting basic level accessories like hip scarves, practice pants, skirts, etc. and familiarizing herself with Arab music. She is receiving guided instruction with corrections and modifications. Advanced Beginner classes are for the Beginner who is somewhere in between these two descriptions.
Defined as a dancer who has 2-5 years of consistent Raqs Sharqi (Belly Dance). She is now moving on to more complex layering with traveling, choreography, student performance (blocking within a group), has collected some costuming appropriate for student performance, is being introduced to implements (veil, stick/cane, zils, folklore) and can demonstrate correct movement of the basic dance vocabulary. She begins to incorporate Performance Art, including facial expressions and acting, and begins to develop her personal dance voice. Advanced Beginners will begin to learn some of these disciplines as well.
Defined as a dancer who regularly performs, Instructs, Choreographs her own material, travels both regionally and internationally for training/education, has a collection of costumes and is proficient in a range of styles of this dance. She can confidently dance with numerous props studies with multiple Instructors. She can act as well as dance and is developing the skills needed to work towards becoming a Professional. She is a dance artist who has a voice and a story to tell. She is a high ambassador to Arab art.
I’ve been searching for an exercise class that was fun, ever changing, but with a very flexible schedule. The classes were not only varied, they were FUN and with multiple wonderful teachers.
I joined the VIP Unlimited Membership and I was very happy to be able to not have to count my days.
With all of those positives, the thing that I love best is the atmosphere!
It’s relaxing, fun -- also very supportive, with teachers and students alike offering words of encouragement.