Shim Sham Notes


Many years ago, when we were still in Austin, on the observation of the passing of Frankie Manning, we, as a community decide to learn the Shim-Sham and dance it in honor of him.

Frankie Manning doing his thing

I can’t say I got a hang of it then. I can’t say I got the hang of it in the years since, either. When done right, it looks like this:

Fortunately, our local dance studio, You Should Be Dancing, held a workshop this past weekend. The wonderful Stephanie Shapiro taught us the dance with great humor, kindness, patience and skill. She has a solid method for this dance and really helped us master chunks that we can stitch together. She was even patient as I scribbled notes in-between dance segments. I’ve written them down below as I move forward in truly learning this dance.

Additional resource:

#j Important Facts

  • Most moves are in groups of 3

First Move: “The Shim-Sham Step” (AKA “Pulls”)

Keep your weight back on your resting foot and extend your other leg forward and “pull” the ball of that foot back.

R-pull, L-pull, R-pull, R-pull L-pull, R-pull, L-pull, L-pull R-pull, L-pull, R-pull, R-pull

Connective Tissue: Break Step

Between major moves there’s a break step which looks like:

  1. Step right, tap left toe behind
  2. Step left, tap right toe behind
  3. Right Back
  4. Left Back
  5. Right forward
  6. Left forward

Second Move: Cross-Overs

  1. Do a weight shift to right (“ya push it”), no weight transfer to right
  2. Repeat (“and ya push it”), weight transfer to right
  3. Sailor kick of left leg over right (“and ya, cross over”)
  4. (1-3)Reverse to left
  5. Break out version: 1-3but then cross back right-over-left (“and ya, cross over and ya, cross over."; or, “push, kick, cross, step”); pause a beat with weight forward on left foot; then, ka-DUMP (right-left, ka-DUMP, back to neutral, start with Right foot back)"..tackie Annie!”

ENDS ON 8!!!!! Only time!

Third Move: Tackie Annie

  1. Right back (and back to line)
  2. Left back (and back to line)
  3. Right back (and back to line)
  4. Left back, but it’s a light touch
  5. ka-DUMP back to neutral with left first and right second
  • Do 3 times and go into the break step
  • On the 4th the ka-DUMP should put your weight heavy on right so you can do the break step

Break Step (as above)

Fourth Move: Half Breaks!

  1. FALL FORWARD forward and land on right
  2. FALL BACK on left extending right out forward (like a pendulum)
  3. Withdraw right back under hips with a scuff
  4. ka-DUMP back to neutral

3,4 above can be swapped with a kick, right ball, change

Do 1-4 2x ==> 1 set of the half break

Break Step

Do the Fourth Move!

End of the Verse

We’re going to repeat all the above, but any time there’s a break step, we just FREEZE.

End of the Shim Sham Dance Body

Post Body

Boogie Backs

  • Clap and Jump (basically) 4 back
  • OR Clap + Kick, ball, change back

Boogie Forward

  • Brush forward+right
  • Brush forward+left
  • Brush forward+right
  • Brush forward+left

Boogie Back

As before

Shortie George!

The BB’s end on 7, thus a kick-ball-change to the LEFT which is the first of the SGs