STYLE AND CULTURE
STYLE FILES: NAOMI SHIMADA
By Style Feed Staff, 27 May 2018
When did you start dancing?
I’ve danced most of my life, starting with ballet aged three. I got the bug, dancing most days – ballet, jazz, flamenco, anything.
Why do you dance?
It makes me feel complete. We’re glued to our phones. I think about how disconnected we are, head and body, and how few opportunities we have to connect to ourselves.
What styles of dance do you do?
Commercial – music videos, hip hop, R&B – and dancehall, and I’ve signed up to learn bachata. It’s a different kind of Latin dance.
Where do you dance?
All over London. I like to try different things. I’ve been learning about dance and movement psychotherapy. It’s used to process emotions about things you can’t move through by speaking about them. You learn how important movement is. It’s how you move through life, literally, and how you get rid of anxiety. We’re the most anxious generation ever. It would help everyone to move more, to survive what life throws at us.
Favourite songs to dance to?
Humblesmith's Focus, Sean Paul's Get Busy and Rakata by Wisin & Yandel.
Has dancing changed your relationship with your body?
You dance in front of mirrors, so you’re forced to look at your body. I realised I never see bodies like mine moving. I’ve learned to love my body through dance, seeing its strength and softness and all the amazing things it can do.
Any tips for new dancers?
Start in your room. The best part of dancing is dancing like no one’s watching you, so dance where no one is watching you. Don’t necessarily go to a big dance school, go to a welcoming local place. Practise at the club.
What do you wear to dance?
Recently I’ve been dancing in shorts. Body shapes like mine are often covered up, but by me doing it, I’m telling other girls they can do it. I’m yet to find a sports bra strong enough to support me so I wear two bras, which is annoying and hard to get on and off.
Nike Air Max 95. The bounce makes you feel like you can take over the world. As a woman, I think about what shoes to wear in case I have to run away from someone. That’s a reality for us. The trend for wearing activewear in life makes us, as women, ready for anything.