Introducing the Sham Shim (simplified shim sham for kids)

For my work Christmas party for kids this year, I came up with the idea to teach kids some jazz line dancing after having learned the Shim Sham. 

I would simplify it, though, so kids would have fun and not get frustrated. Then I put it in terms they could understand rather than the jazz dance step names to make things. Here’s what I came up with.

SHIM SHAM STEP MY STEP (* if different)
1 Shim sham Squish bug
2 Full break Front back stomp *
3 Push it crossovers Push it crossovers
4 Tacky Annies Crouch and skate taps
5 Half breaks Opposites *
6 Freeze Freeze or Pose
7 Boogie back Clapping hip checks
8 Boogie forward Strut
9 Shorty George Sneak forward *
10 Free dancing Itches, point to things on ceiling

I don’t have the means to get you a video of what each move involves, but hopefully these brief descriptions will help.

  1. Frame the shim sham step as squishing bugs with your feet. For kids not able to remember the uneven sequence (like R, L, R, R), they can just alternate feet.
  2. Simplify the full break with a stomp forward, back and forward to end up in the same place. Start with left foot (L) going forward (F), you have – LF, RF, LB, RB, LB, RB, LF, RF (2 steps forward, 4 back, 2 forward). Sets up to fall back on left to start push it crossovers.
  3. Same as in regular shim sham dance.
  4. Instead of 2 half breaks, I get them to do a step called opposites, which is pretty descriptive of the movement required so no need to change name. Do hands forward, back, right, left (cause other things are right first, then left second like shim sham and push it crossovers).
  5. Frame the Tacky Annies as a crouch landing, like a ninja landing in a crouch, for when two feet are on the ground side by side. Then the backward leg motion can be thought of as a skating motion with a tap, or just a skate push if you don’t want to tap. It’s not hard, but there’s no regular motion I can think of like it to call it by a regular name.
  6. Freeze is freeze or pose, for those who understand what pose means. They choose their pose.
  7. Boogie back is framed as a clap hip check, but it’s the same move. It’s not how you hip check in hockey but if you’re gonna throw your hip around, a hip check is what it’s gonna be.
  8. Boogie forward is framed as a strut.
  9. For the Shorty George, I’ll just get the kids to pretend like they’re sneaking forward. They know how to stoop down and walk forward like they’re trying to stay out of sight.
  10. Finally, for the music sequences where people just swing dance, I’ll teach them moves like itches, or step around and point at things in the ceiling, or maybe just grab someone in closed position and “tea pot dance”.

Now, I just need to learn this over my shim sham, then forget about it and learn my shim sham over it again afterward so that I don’t do the sham shim when I’m among my swing dancing friends doing the shim sham!

I’ve got 45 minutes to get this down in each of 2 sessions with the kids. We’ll see how it goes, but someone managed to teach some kids parts of the TAP shim sham that’s a LOT harder than what I got, and they did in about 3 minutes, supposedly. I got some buffer. 🙂


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