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How to Belly Dance with Props - Candles, Veil, Sword, Fan Veil, Cane, Isis Wings, Zill & More

Updated on August 10, 2016

How to Belly Dance with Props

I'm amazed at the variety of props available for belly dancers. Props enhance the belly dance performance, can create a stunning visual impact for the audience and add variety to the show. Traditional props can include the veil, finger cymbals and cane. Newer props include Isis wings and fan veils. All are stunning and are so much fun to use!

On this page I have recorded my method of learning to use a new belly dance prop as well as some inspirational clips of various dancers using the props.

A bit about me. I am a belly dancer from Melbourne, Australia. You can contact me here I love classical and modern belly dance and finding new ways to express myself through the dance.

I hope you find this information and collection of video clips useful, entertaining and inspiring.

How to Learn New Belly Dancing Props

Over they years, I have performed belly dance using many different props. Here is the method I use to put together a performance piece.

1. Choose a prop for your belly dance.

2. Go to some belly dancing shows or watch YouTube clips of dancers using the prop.

3. Get some instruction on it's use through classes, dvd's or online tuition.

4. Improvise to various piece of music using the prop. Experiment to see what looks and feels good.

5. By now you will probably have an idea of the feeling you want to portray with your dance. Chose a piece of music that reflects this.

6. Listen to the music over and over again, paying attention to the melody, phrasing and beat. Write down the various elements of the music blocks in order, for example: 0-15 seconds: Flute melody introduction, 16-30 seconds: Malfulf drumming for a count of 8.

7. Listen to each block of the music and put together moves that suit that part of the music. You may want to choreograph the entire song, or improvise some parts and have choreography for the other sections. As you are doing this, don't be afraid to repeat sequences as the music repeats. This is part of the beauty of belly dance.

8. Video yourself doing the routine and watch it back or ask your teacher or other dancers for feedback.

9. Rehearse the routine, including rehearsing recovering from any prop errors. For example; in your rehearsal your veil slips out of your hand, keep going as if you were performing and find a way to fix it without being noticeable. Rehearsing the recovery reduces performance anxiety as you know you can handle any 'what if's'.

10. Know how your environment may affect your prop and plan for any changes in your choreography that may need to be made, e.g. it's a windy day and you are dancing outside with your veil or there are party balloons above where you plan to twirl your cane.

11. When you perform the routine, allow yourself to be in the moment and have fun!

For inspiration, I have included my favorite videos of each type of prop. After the videos there are suggestions on where to buy some of the props. So if you have ever wondered how to learn to belly dance with a new prop, I hope this helps.

Silk Veil

Belly Dancing with Veils

Learn to belly dance with Veils. I highly recommend Sadie's and Aziza'a instructional DVDs, they are excellent and good value for money.

Zill

How to Belly Dance With Zills

Zills

Learning to play zills (finger cymbals or sagat) takes a lot of practice, but it is well worth it. Adding zill playing to a bellydance performance really adds a really lively atmosphere to a dancing show.

When buying zills, there are many different sizes, colors and sounds. I prefer the zills from Saroyan Professionals. On their website you can look at the close up pattern and listen to the sound file for each zill. These zills are more expensive, but worth it for the excellent sound and quality.

If you want to dance and play zills, walk with them while you're learning to play the basics, it makes adding basic movement easier late on. If you would like to practice at home I would strongly recommend Michelle Joyce's Killer Ziller DVD. This DVD is amazing. There are some really useful ideas and it clearly describes how to play learn to play zills.

There is also the CD - Zill Speak - How to Play Finger Cymbals from A(lmee) to Z(ills) by Elizabeth Artemis Mourat. It covers covers history, rhythms and various sounds. I also highly recommend Jamila Salimours CD. Below is a link to buy these items to get you started

This DVD will improve your zilling 100% - Learn Zills quick with this great dvd

Killer Ziller: Belly Dance Finger Cymbals
Killer Ziller: Belly Dance Finger Cymbals

Finger cymbals are an excellent way to add excitement and professionalism to your performance. Unfortunately, many dancers get stuck in just one cymbal pattern and feel uncomfortable going beyond the basics. In this DVD we will learn how to effectively take command of the cymbals by switching rapidly between several patterns. The unique structure lets you work at your own level and advance when you feel ready.

 

Isis Wings / Wings of Isis

Where to Buy Beautiful Wings of Isis for Belly dance - Buy Isis Wings for Belly Dance from Egypt

Some Isis wings are made in Egypt, others China. I have both sorts and both are good. The Chinese ones tend to be smaller and more sheer. The Egyptian ones generally have a bigger wingspan and some are more metalic.

Belly Dance Isis Wings - China & Hong Kong - Buy Isis Wings for Belly Dance

As I mentioned earlier, I have both Egyptian and Chinese made Isis wings. The Chinese ones tend to be smaller and thinner material, but I still find them fine for performance. The are also cheaper, so I have been able to afford many colors!! I found these to ship cheaply & quickly. The wings did not come with sticks, but it was easy to get some a wooden rod cut the exact length for me at a local hardware store. Below is a selection of beautiful wings.

Cane

Where to Buy Cane for Belly Dancing - Buy Cane for Belly Dancing

There are sequined canes and plain canes. Sequined canes are heavier, but the sequins really sparkle and catch the light. Both sorts are beautiful for dancing

Double Veil

Fire

Learn to Belly Dance with Fire

Light up your show!!!

Bellydance Fan Veils

Where to buy Belly Dance Fan Veils - Beautiful Belly Dance Fan Veils

Stunning colors and beautiful for dancing. I bought 2 sets of fans, one for practice the other for performance. I have been happy with the quality.

Sword

Shamadan

How to Belly Dance with a Shamadan - Learn Sword and Shamadan Balancing

Belly Dance & Balance the Art of Sword & Shamadan
Belly Dance & Balance the Art of Sword & Shamadan

Learn Sword and Shamadan Balancing with this great instructional DVD. Learn the tips and trick to get you going and keep you safe. Also features a simple but elegant routine. Very good DVD.

Princess Farhana is known for her grace, fluidity and precision, dancing while balancing swords and the traditional Egyptian Shamadan, or Candelabrum.

 

Skirt

Veil Poi

Candle Tray

Split Veil

Tambourine

Tea Tray

Candle

Maleya Luff

Water jug

Just for a Laugh - Belly dancing Chicken

What is your favorite belly dance prop?

See results

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review

By Dancers For Dancers Vol 5: Belly Dance Performances
By Dancers For Dancers Vol 5: Belly Dance Performances

By Dancers for Dancers Volume 5 showcases award-winning, professional dancers in an elegant stage performance setting. All of the featured performers are working professionals whose passion for this art form comes shining through.

 

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review - Get performance confidence with Michelle Joyce's DVD's

Secrets of the Stage Volume One: A Performance Course for Belly Dancers by Michelle Joyce
Secrets of the Stage Volume One: A Performance Course for Belly Dancers by Michelle Joyce

"...information that every performer and instructor should have."

Topics Covered:

- relaxation and calmness

- you and your music (includes an improvisation exercise)

- focus and energy projection

 

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review

Secrets of the Stage Volume 2: A Performance Course for Belly Dancers by Michelle Joyce
Secrets of the Stage Volume 2: A Performance Course for Belly Dancers by Michelle Joyce

"...information that every performer and instructor should have."

Topics Covered:

* TIPS AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

* RESTAURANT VS STAGE DANCING

* PROFESSIONALISM

* ASK THE AUDIENCE

 

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review

Secrets of the Stage Volume 3: A Performance Course for Belly Dancers by Michelle Joyce
Secrets of the Stage Volume 3: A Performance Course for Belly Dancers by Michelle Joyce

"...information that every performer and instructor should have."

Topics Covered:

* DANCING TO LIVE MUSIC

* CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION

* YOUR PROFESSIONAL IMAGE

* SURVIVAL ARABIC FOR DANCERS

 

Have I left out any props? Got ideas inspiration from this? Give me your feedback!

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    • KaylahLena profile image
      Author

      KaylahLena 3 years ago

      @poemsthatdance: Thank you so much for your insightful comments :-) I totally agree that the skirt is a prop, really when I think about i costumes are a type of prop too...with each costume you learn how to best enhance your dance with it: e.g. how the beads move best with shimmies, etc :-)

    • poemsthatdance profile image

      Maria Grujicic 3 years ago from Darwin, Australia

      I love using props in dance as it enhances the moves obviously and is enjoyable. It takes a lot of practice to make it look smooth and easy on the eye. I love talking dance so I'm so glad I found your lens! I'm glad you mentioned the skirt in one of your videos because I also consider this a prop. Costuming is very important and I think is very much embedded within the props themselves.

    • KaylahLena profile image
      Author

      KaylahLena 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Glad it helped you :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thnx 4 d collections....it really help me...

    • KaylahLena profile image
      Author

      KaylahLena 5 years ago

      @enjoyecigs: Yes bellydance is a fantastic work out !!!

    • profile image

      enjoyecigs 5 years ago

      it's a great workout, too! great lens :)

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      Great lens :) You really can dance this dance.

    • KaylahLena profile image
      Author

      KaylahLena 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you Rachael! Happy to share :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great collection of videos.