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Silk Scarves and Dance

Updated on August 21, 2015

Silk Scarves appeal to woman around the world for many reasons. They lend an air of sophistication and grace while livening up a regular outfit. Silk scarves also play roles in dance. They are incorporated into the costumes and act as props in various traditional, interpretative and other forms of dance and body movement.

The first dance performances using silk scarves we think of are traditional Middle East belly dance.  The origins, it is believed, date back to ancient fertility rites in celebration of the ancient Goddess. The art form became more fashionable during the period from 1700 to 1900. The actual dance is a coordinated movement of isolated but related body parts e.g. chest, hips, stomach and shoulders. Incorporated into the dance and/or costume is a hip-scarf adorned with tinkling coins. As well, a silk scarf acts as a veil or becomes a prop in the various movements used throughout the dance.

Middle Eastern dancers are not the only ones who utilize silk scarves in traditional dance routines. Filipino dance also incorporates silk scarves. In this form of specialized movement, silk scarves play a role in expressing a range of emotions. Using two scarves, one in each hand, the scarves move and sway to express such things as anger control of emotion, disgust and self-sufficiency.

In a variety of dance-sport, gymnasts typically draw upon a variety of props. These include balls, hoops, ribbons, wands and women’s silk scarves. The incorporation of flowing silk scarves into the routines enhance interest and abets display of skills. Children and adults taking movement and dance classes use silk scarves as a tool to express their emotions and awaken their emotions. Cheerleaders are also another sport-dance group who draw on silk scarves on occasion to augment their shows.

While a plain scarf may suffice for some of the more banal and basic exercises, certain forms of artistic expression require something more. For those times when beauty and elegance are in demand, a hand-painted silk scarf flows ideally for the occasion. The hand-dyed, soft, 100% pure silk material floats lightly through the air, twisting and flowing to accentuate the bodily display. The dramatic, individual hand-painted patterns add to the effect as a whole. The availability of a wide variety of themes allows dancer to select one that corresponds to their intent.

Overall, the vibrant colors utilized in the design of sinuous, handmade silk scarves makes them ideal for all manner of dancing presentations. This is true whether the performer wears them or employs them as a prop. Bold colors or softer hues, vibrant tones or subtle shades, silk scarves bring to any dance performance vivacity and allure.

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your this wonderful hub and scarves.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Marisa Wright 7 years ago from Sydney

      Actually the use of the veil in Middle Eastern Dance is not traditional, it began in American cabaret style and was introduced back into Egypt for tourist shows.

      Silk is definitely the best material for a belly dance veil - most beginners start with the less expensive synthetic chiffon but we all aspire to pure silk!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California