How do you Egyptian Walk?
The Egyptian Walk is an absolute classic move in Egyptian-style bellydance, but different teachers have different ways of doing it and teaching it.
Even in a tiny country like the UK we have different methods, but around the world, there must be countless variations of teaching and performing the move.
Indeed, most people don’t even call it the Egyptian Walk. In the US it’s called the 3/4 shimmy, some people call it a shimmy walk, others call it a hagalla step…it can get really confusing!
When I was first teaching full time, whenever I met another teacher at a workshop or festival, at some point I would grab them and ask: “how do YOU teach the Egyptian Walk?”
The reason I wanted to know, was that I’d asked many people to teach me and I’d never had a good breakdown of the move. It was as if everyone was sort of fudging the step and not really knowing how they did it.
I didn’t want to be that sort of teacher. I like to know exactly how a move works, so I can teach it successfully.
At the time I was also a regular participant on a brilliant online forum (remember those?) called Bhuz. Hundreds of teachers and students from around the English speaking world would spend hours discussing bellydance history, moves, styles, music, costuming…. you name it, if it was bellydance we would talk about it.
And one of the things we would regularly do was try to break down moves for bellydance students on the forum. In those pre-video days we were having to explain in written form (I remember endless attempts to describe how to do a jewel in words – another of those tricky moves with endless variations!)
I soon realised that what we in the UK call an Egyptian Walk is very similar to a move called the 3/4 shimmy in the US.
And out of my endless demands on UK teachers to show me how to Egyptian Walk, coupled with hours spent analysing what US dancers call the 3/4 shimmy, plus countless attempts at teaching my own students how to do the move, I finally came up with my own, best version.
It’s the way that works for me – as a teacher and performer. I’ve found it to be a clear and easy way of helping beginner and intermediate students to master the move and I find it’s also the most flexible method for elevating the move for advanced students – to layer it, twist it, do it on relevé, go sideways, backwards, add it to a grapevine and more.
I filmed a YouTube video last year demonstrating my method (see the video above) and I also taught a couple of fun combinations using loads of varieties of the move, which you can also find on my YouTube channel
I hope you enjoy them and find them useful, whether you are a student, a performer or a teacher. And if you like the combinations then please dance them and teach them with my blessing!
But most of all, keep dancing!