G099 Memories of Figure Names 26 – Shimmy (English & Japanese)

投稿者: | 2022年8月1日

Since October 2011, I have been posting articles titled “Memories of Figure Names” on Facebook group “Ballroom & Latin Dancer Memory Lane”. I decided to leave those articles on this HP for record.
2011年10月からFacebookグループ”Ballroom & Latin Dancer Memory Lane”に「フィガー名の思い出」という記事を投稿しています。 これらの記事を記録のためにこのHPに残すことにしました。


“Memories of Figure Names No.26  Shimmy”

I first learned Shimmy around 2002, when I started learning Salsa. Fascinated by the sound of the name, I immediately looked it up to find “Shimmy was a jazz dance move that was popular in the 1920s, shaking your shoulders and hips.” In fact, this move is used in Salsa, sometime in International Style of Latin American dance, and very frequently in Belly Dance.


Regarding the origin of the Shimmy, “Sonny Watson’s StreetSwing Com” explains as following. (For more detailed explanation, please visit this site.)


“The Shimmy has been claimed by many, but it was Gilda Gray (1901-1959) who could never keep her body still while she sang. When she moved her shoulders, her audiences loved it so much she kept it in her act. The Shimmy (chemise) is said to be a part of her dress (Straps) and when she shook her shoulder her chemise would always show.


The New York Times reported that: Around 1918, at John Letzka’s Saloon, a patron watching her do this yelled out while she was performing and said: “What do you call that dance,” she replied, “I’m shaking my chemise, that’s what I am doing.”



Then, what is the relation between Shimmy and Chemise? Thankfully, the “ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY explains it.

“do a suggestive dance,” 1918, perhaps via phrase shake the shimmy, which is possibly from shimmy (n.), a U.S. dialectal form of chemise (mistaken as a plural) first recorded 1837.”


Whenever the Lady improvise with Shimmy while dancing Salsa, I instantly respond with Shimmy. And in such a case, I never fail to recall the name of Gilda Gray and the words of Shimmy and Chemise.


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「フィガー名の思い出26 シミー (Shimmy)」





シミーの起源について、”Sonny Watson’s StreetSwing Com“には次のように出ています。この前後の詳しい説明もこのサイトでご覧ください。

シミーの言葉は歌手のギルダ・グレイ(Gilda Gray)に由来すると言われています。彼女は歌いながら肩を震わせるのが癖で、肩を震わせるとシミー(シミーズ)も震えました。あるとき観客が「それはなんと言う踊りかね?」と叫ぶと、「シミーズを震わせているのよ」と答えたと、当時のニューヨーク・タイムズが伝えています。



では、シミー(Shimmy)とシミーズ(Chemise)の関係はどうなっているのでしょう。有難いことに”ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY にその説明がありました。

「英語のスペル shimmy は、仏語シュミーズ(chemise)の発音を英語の複数形と間違え、アメリカの地方の人達が聞こえるままにその単数形を書いたのが始まりとの説があります。」