welcome to shimmy
Come for Dance,
Stay for Community
We are so much more than a dance school!
January 2019 we completely remodeled the Grand Rapids location! 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.
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.
New to BellyDance?
What's happening at Shimmy?
EVERYTHING is happening! 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 -- Hawaiian Hula, Raqs Sharqi (Mideast Dance), West African, Bollywood, Chinese Dance, Hula Hooping, Aerial Yoga, Yoga & MORE!
What class should I take FIRST?
You have THREE options, the choice is up to you! You can take an Intro to BellyDance class (one-time 60-min class that applies ONLY to the Intro to BellyDance class), a Drop-In (5-pack or a single class that applies to Hula Hoop, Aerial Yoga AND BellyDance Basics classes), or sign up for an 8-week session (Eight 60-minute classes that happen consecutively for 8 weeks in a row and apply only to 8-week sessions). ALL of these option are available to Beginners, the choice is yours!
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. Scarves and dance accessories can be found in the Shimmy Shop. 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?
BellyDance, 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 BellyDancers. 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. BellyDancing is an excellent muscle toner and is not a high impact exercise. We recommend beginning your BellyDance 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 BellyDancing 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 (3x annually at a minimum). 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 different styles of belly dance (Raks Sharqi) taught at Shimmy?
Egyptian Oryental (Raqs Sharqi)
Folklore (per region/town)
American-style Fusion (aka Tribal Fusion, ATS)
What are the health benefits of BellyDance?
BellyDancing 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. BellyDancing 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 BellyDancing greatly improves your overall self esteem! BellyDance 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 BellyDancing changed their lives. There are also many articles on the Benefits of BellyDance 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 BellyDance. If you decide you’re as hooked as we are, then you will probably join up with the RakStar 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?
BellyDancers 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 BellyDance Terms?
There is one home we all go to for BellyDance 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 BELLYDANCE. Here is a Link to her Glossary, and please explore!
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. These classes are a great addition to 8-week sessions as a add-on, building on skills. You can use these towards Aerial Yoga, BellyDance Basics and Hula Hooping Drop-Ins. Perfect for your FIRST CLASS or a pro!
*New Students Only
5 for $50
Member / Non
$12 / $15 Single Class
$56 / $70 5-Class Pack
Student Performance Pieces (SPP's)
It's time to put all that work on stage! Don't be nervous, join hundreds who have set foot on stage for the first time EVER at Shimmy, ages 19-83! After graduating from our Beginner Level and taking a minimum of 2 Intermediate sessions, Shimmy students are invited to enroll in 4-month performance-based classes where we design the choreography, blocking, costumes and provide a stage for the performance of that piece!
$240 for 4-month enrollment
Intro to BellyDance
A great place to start and see what we're all about! Our Intro to BellyDance class can be taken by all new students or students transferring from another school looking for an overview of our offerings. After class we can help you create a plan for your dance education. This class is not a requirement for 8-week session or Drop-In enrollment.
This class is a favorite among many of our students. 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.
Member / Non
$96 / $120
VIP Unlimited RakStars
$139 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.
RakStar Discount Membership
RakStar 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 RakStar 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 RakStar 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 out BellyDance before committing to an entire session, join our Intro to BellyDance Class! It's a one-time class for $20 and if you decide to take the 8-week session, we credit you the Intro class FREE of charge!
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.
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.
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.
JoeLynne, Allspice Troupe Member
"I made a promise to myself at my last birthday that I would push myself out of my comfort zone this year before I turned 50. Doing yoga, making better food choices etc, so when I saw an ad for belly dancing my inner little girl (who always wanted to be in dance class) said “Try it!”
After my initial few classes, I was in love!
The studio is warm and safe without judgments. Sarah and the other instructors are encouraging and supportive. Shimmy is an atmosphere of embracing your body regardless of its imperfections. Everyone is unique and wonderful in their own way.
I have a history of a ruptured disk and back surgery 12 yrs ago and a broken shoulder with 4 internal metal rods and 2 surgeries 2 yrs ago. So for me to use my body and to see what it is capable of doing has been empowering.
I chose to become a VIP Unlimited Member in 2014 because I knew that if I did the unlimited auto-membership I would be committed to attend and won’t be as apt to make excuses not to go. And I am totally worth it! It is so fun to say and own that “I am going to dance class!” 4 years later, I am an Allspice Dance Company member and still going strong! I have traveled internationally and love this community."