Belly Dance Props – Fans

In a number of posts I will investigate a variety of belly dance props. Props are a wonderful way to add something special to your dancing, designed to dazzled and awe your audience. Aside from that they will force you to try out new ways of enhancing your dance. Different props have different effects and might require a different sort of dancing, a faster or slower rhythm or different costumes. In these posts I will expore where the to be described props originate from, how they are used and where they are used most commonly.

This entry is about fans. 

The Fan is a very unique prop that originates from the fusion belly dance movements in the US and it’s the first one I wanted to have a closer look at because there seem to be so many different, interesting things to do with them. Apparently using a fan in your dance can add Asian, Spanish or Fantasy influences to your choreography and can be used to flirt with your audience or simply mystify them with creative, clever ways of poses and ways of showing (or not showing!) them. Sounds gorgeous!

A fan for any type of dance!

Fans can give your dance an unique feel. So I have to make sure I’m familiar with the atmosphere I want to create with my outfit and choreography and add the fan I think fits best. There are a lot of stereotypes but I’ve also found some very interesting combinations like Asian style dancing with feather fans or tribal veil fan dance. And since nobody ever knows what kind of awesome combinations one might come up with through experimentation it’ll be important to keep experimenting.

Imagining you're like the wind
Imagine you're like the wind

Feather Fans: this type of fan seems to be for a more Burlesque type of dance. These are fans seem to give your outfit and dance a gracious, elusive and mysterious look. They seem specifically designed to seduce the audience. I would assume that for instance Deeta von Teese is a fan-fan too. At least she’s using them in her shows, right? As a burlesque dancer she understands the power of seduction and adds feather fans to her prop repertoire. Personally, I love the sensuality she’s mastered and displays. For granted, regular feather fans used in belly dance aren’t anywhere near as huge as the ones she uses but I think her photo’s are enough to get the idea of what they can be used for.

Fire Fans: these seem to be for a more tribal style of dancing but I suppose that as a beginner you should probably use fans in more toned down colors first, to make it less hazardous and a bit more accessible.. Dangerous but still impressive enough to make it a goal though! I found this video for several gorgeous techniques on how to use them. Can you imagine yourself in a lovely tribal outfit, swaying these around? I certainly can!

Looks dangerous!

Veil fans: according to info I found, these fans have been appearing in bellydance shows for the last 10 years. They are used to portray the elements (air, water, fire, earth) in more eastern themed choreographies like Chinese or Japanese style but of course you don’t have to stick strictly to this usage. Although I do like adding some symbolism to things, they are just gorgeous to look at without a deeper meaning to them, too.  If you want to know more, I’ve found a fantastic piece MissBellydance has written about what makes veil fans so special to use. She explains the origination and what they are most commonly used to depict but she also writes the following to which I couldn’t agree to to more:

Last but not least they just look good on stage. If you use your imagination to see your favourite colours floating in the sky you can also see you and your dance pals forming patterns on stage with veil fans floating and fluttering their beautiful colours. It’s truly something to behold.

In short; I think fans are awesome and from what I think it’s safe to conclude I can’t wait to start working with them.. In a couple of weeks I’m going to have a look into buying some props at Tanz-Boutique Tabou and I think I might just have to set some cash aside for a pair of these lovelies. 😉


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